October 6, 2017




Local/Regional Politics:


New assistant presiding judge selected for Kern County Superior Court


Judge Judith K. Dulcich has been unanimously selected as the next assistant presiding judge of Kern County Superior Court. 


Stroke claims life of former Stanislaus County supervisor Nick Blom

Modesto Bee

Nick Blom, who served as a Stanislaus County supervisor for 20 years, died Thursday following a stroke, his family said.

State Politics:


California becomes sanctuary state as governor signs bill

The Fresno Bee

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed sanctuary state legislation Thursday that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally — a move that gives the nation’s most populous state another tool to fight President Donald Trump.

See also:

·       California becomes ‘sanctuary state’ in rebuke of Trump immigration policy  LA Times

·       Jerry Brown signs sweeping California immigration bills into law The Mercury News

·       Gov. Brown signs bill making California a sanctuary state San Francisco Chronicle

·       California governor signs ‘sanctuary state’ bill Reuters

·       Brown signs ‘sanctuary state’ bill in California  POLITICO

·       Immigrant Laws signed by Gov. Brown / Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.  Gov. Press Office

·       California expands protections for immigrants against ICE workplace raids  Los Angeles Times

·       Sanctuary State Symbolism Fox and Hounds Daily

State auditor rips Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project

The Mercury News

On the eve of key votes in San Jose and Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels through the Delta to make it easier to move water from north to south was hit with another setback Thursday as a state audit found it was suffering from “significant cost increases and delays.”


Jerry Brown’s California Dream: The Rolling Stone Interview

Rolling Stone

The governor has created a climate-resistant, economically supercharged state – is this the blueprint for a more progressive America?

Berkeley Poll: Newsom remains the early leader in next year’s gubernatorial primary.

UC Berkeley Poll

Top issues in the governor’s race: economy/jobs, health care, crime/law enforcement, immigration/undocumented immigrants, state spending policies.

Federal Politics:


House Set to Vote on Federal Budget Plan, Presenting Key Choice for California’s Members of Congress

California Budget & Policy Center

The US House of Representatives plans to vote tomorrow, Thursday, October 5, on a 2018 budget resolution that calls for deep spending cuts to many important public services and systems that improve the lives of individuals and families across California. The House budget resolution also paves the way for fast-track approval of a package of major tax cuts that would largely benefit wealthy households and large corporations. In fact, the current tax framework favored by President Trump and Republican congressional leaders would deliver 82 percent of the tax cuts in our state to the top 1 percent of California households in 2018, according to estimates released this week.


Why Sen. Dianne Feinstein needs to run again in 2018

Sacramento Bee

Three days after a mass murderer in Las Vegas killed 58 concert goers and injured hundreds more, Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation to ban “bump stocks,” which effectively turn a semi-automatic firearm into something closely resembling an automatic weapon. Stephen Paddock reportedly had 12 weapons fitted with the device in his hotel suite.


Retiring Sen. Bob Corker, Speaking Freely, Warns GOP He Could Oppose Tax Plan


At the marathon Senate Budget Committee hearing this week, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., strolled in like a man who had just quit his job and was ready to tell the boss what he really thinks.


Remember, the state and local tax deduction enables federalism


Republicans have proposed eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) for federal income tax purposes. In their portrayal, the deduction is just another loophole in the tax code — a way for taxpayers to avoid handing to the IRS what is rightfully the IRS’s — a distortion that keeps us from having the beautiful system of a broad base and low rates that we all want.


‘Show your taxes’—Could California really make presidential contenders do it?


There’s sometimes a fine line between good governance and trolling.


California Moved Its Primary Up. What Does That Mean For 2020?


California Gov. Jerry Brown made one of the biggest moves yet in the 2020 Democratic primary last week.




As 2018 Nears, Parties Work to Reclaim Once-Loyal Voters


A challenge facing both political parties in the 2018 elections can be viewed along a two-mile stretch of road outside Detroit, where Republican voters have turned Democratic in recent years and Democratic voters have switched to the GOP.


Officials Wrestle with Ways to Boost California’s Voter Turnout


Does California have a voter turnout problem?


The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider

Pew Research Center

The divisions between Republicans and Democrats on fundamental political values – on government, race, immigration, national security, environmental protection and other areas – reached record levels during Barack Obama’s presidency. In Donald Trump’s first year as president, these gaps have grown even larger.


Las Vegas shooting: Full victim list


The massacre in Las Vegas killed 58 people and wounded 489 who were crowded together into one field, but those deaths have been felt across the entire continent.

See also:

·       Las Vegas shooting victim Jessica Milam now in ICU; prayer circle planned in Sanger The Fresno Bee

·       Bakersfield woman, fleeing gunfire at Route 91 festival, impaled on gate  bakersfield.com

·       For second time in two years, his fiancee texts: ‘Active shooter.’ And so began a night of hell in Vegas LA Times

·       California residents can apply for aid for medical bills, funeral expenses after Las Vegas attacks Los Angeles Times

·       More Than Half Las Vegas Massacre Victims from California; SoCal Coroner Assists  KQED

·       Rapid-fire device used in Las Vegas shooting already illegal in California  The San Diego Union-Tribune

·       Poll: Most Californians support gun control  San Diego Tribune

·       The Rules of the Gun Control Debate  The Atlantic

·       The Latest: Trump considering ‘bump stock’ ban  The Fresno Bee

·       Scalise: ‘Little bit early’ for Congress to ban bump stocks TheHill

·       Guns, like cigarettes, are legal products that kill people. That’s not OK LA Times

·       After another mass shooting, Dianne Feinstein back on front lines of gun control fight  San Jose Mercury News

·       NRA chief slams push for gun control after Vegas shooting TheHill

·       NRA moves to head off gun control fight in Congress  POLITICO

·       Hollywood To Blame For Vegas Shooting Says NRA Chief Newsweek

·       Make Soft Targets Harder, Reduce Mass Murder Risk National Review

·       50,000 illegal guns handed in during Australian firearms amnesty CNN

·       Is it easier to buy guns than Sudafed? CNN

·       Fact Check: Is Chicago Proof That Gun Laws Don’t Work?  KQED

·       Does Gun Ownership Really Make You Safer? Research Says No  KQED.

·       On gun research, what we don’t know is literally killing us  Washington Post




Double standard prevails in California government

Visalia Times-Delta

Instead of firing the commission chairman who furthered this obvious, cronyist conflict of interest, Brown reappointed him to a new term.


Banning bump stocks a no-brainer after Las Vegas shooting. What else you got, Congress?

Sacramento Bee

A bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein would ban “bump stocks,” which can make semiautomatic rifles fire like illegal machine guns.

Our View: Does media coverage inspire new killers?

Bakersfield Californian

With every violent man-made tragedy of national significance, we’ve come to expect a short list of inevitable questions. Are our gun laws strong enough? Do we adequately understand and address the more violent manifestations of mental illness? Has the amoral brutality of television, movies and computer games diminished our humanity? Have we forsaken God and he us?


Sacramento-San Joaquin Co. rail service is needed

The Sacramento Bee

The San Joaquin passenger train service, which oversees Amtrak trains from Bakersfield to Sacramento, may add trains on the Union Pacific line through midtown Sacramento, with a Natomas stop connected to the airport via shuttle buses. Here’s a look.


Ease up on California’s bar exam to achieve more diversity among lawyers

Los Angeles Times

California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult. Or, more to the point, it’s notoriously difficult to pass, which is not quite the same thing. The questions that prospective lawyers must answer aren’t necessarily harder here than those on other states’ exams, but the grading is tougher.


Finally, a crackdown on predatory payday loans

Los Angeles Times

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rules for payday loans and car title loans have drawn the predictable cries of outrage from lenders, particularly small storefront operators who say the restrictions will put them out of business. And it’s an understandable complaint — after spending five years researching the market for high-cost credit, the bureau has fired a shot right at the heart of these lenders’ business model.




USDA Nominee’s Rhetoric Gives Republicans Pause


A nomination for undersecretary of Agriculture for research, education and economics doesn’t typically draw much controversy.


A strong year for orange juice in Tulare County, abroad


Tulare County has a record setting year in terms of orange production


California farm exports help agriculture, but at what cost?

Sacramento Bee

I’ve been told it’s impolite to criticize farmers with your mouth full, and I agree. Food production is one of the most important, yet under-appreciated, professions. However, not all farming is created equal.


Governor signs funding bill for Napa farmworker housing

Napa Valley Register

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s AB 317, providing Napa County with permanent, annual funding to support the three farmworker housing centers totaling 180 beds.


Racing! Frank Stronach to sell Kentucky farm with plan of moving some inventory to California

Los Angeles Times

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter where we are happy to report that the videoboard at Santa Anita has allowed the one post to emerge from the darkness. One of the first big moves made by Santa Anita boss Tim Ritvo to revitalize racing in California didn’t happen here but in Kentucky.



For stories on Las Vegas mass shooting and ”gun control,” See: “Top Stories – State Politics,” above 


Bags of cash, kidnappings, torture – that’s no way to run a California business

Sacramento Bee

With California set to legalize cannabis for recreational use in January, it might seem that running a marijuana business would be a surefire success – “money in the bank,” as the saying goes.

Sexual extortion will be considered a criminal act in California 

Los Angeles Times

Sexual extortion will be considered a criminal act in California under legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 500, by Sen. Connie Levya (D-Chino), will add coercion involving sexual acts and sexually explicit images — known as “sextortion” — to the state’s extortion laws.





Defining digital down

Brookings Institution

In 1994 U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan decried what he felt was an ongoing redefinition of acceptable behavior designed to normalize what had previously been unacceptable. He described this phenomenon as “Defining Deviancy Down.” The Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is following a similar “defining down” policy when it comes to what is acceptable in the all-important networks that connect us.


Here’s How U.S. Markets Are Reacting to the Jobs Report


The recent hurricanes threw one last punch: a hit to U.S. employment.



U.S. Jobs Dropped By 33,000 In September, Likely Due To Storms


The U.S. economy shed 33,000 jobs in September, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while unemployment fell to 4.2 percent.

See also:

·       Economy lost 33,000 jobs in September  POLITICO

·       Economy posts first job losses in seven years  TheHil

How the opioid crisis decimated the American workforce

PBS NewsHour

In northeastern Ohio, employers say they see jobseekers all the time who look like “the walking dead,” would-be workers struggling with opioid addiction. The problem is so great, reports economics correspondent Paul Solman, that it’s had a noticeable effect on the nation’s labor force.





Despite teachers’ vote, a Fresno Unified strike is a long ways off – if it happens at all 

Fresno Bee

Fresno teachers voted overwhelmingly this week to authorize a strike over their contract talks with the Fresno Unified School District. But that doesn’t mean a strike is imminent, or even a foregone conclusion.


Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis


California has spent tens of billions of extra dollars on its K-12 school system in recent years on promises that its abysmal levels of academic achievement – especially those of disadvantaged children – would be improved.

See also:

·       Why heads are still scratching over California’s standardized test scores LA Daily News

Shelters, cars and crowded rooms


Alison is only 14 but she knows what she wants to be when she grows up: A surgeon. It’s not easy to study, however, when you’re so exhausted and hungry you can barely get through 9th-grade biology. An immigrant from Colombia, Alison is one of more than 200,000 K-12 students in California considered homeless because they lack stable housing. And like most of those students, she lives with her family in a home shared with other families — in her case, two other families.


New poll finds California voters, like Trump, favor school vouchers


California voters have twice rejected private-school voucher initiatives, but a new poll shows a majority of them favor the concept, which has been touted by the Trump administration as a way to lift struggling students’ achievement.

Is there something weird about California’s standardized test scores?


Higher Ed:


New online tool to track and encourage college aid applications statewide


California high schools and school districts will have a new tool starting this week to help them track how many students complete and submit their federal application for college financial aid and to compare those statistics around the state.


Reforming Remedial Education in Community College

Public Policy Institute of California

Reforming developmental, or remedial, education is essential to improving student outcomes in community colleges.






Air quality and a future with Yosemite wildfires

The Madera Tribune

Wildfires may be vital for the ecology of Yosemite National Park, but that doesn’t dispel concernsabout their effect on air quality – both for residents and for visitors who come to see iconic vistas.


California wins: Court says Trump administration must enforce methane rules


A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that the Trump administration must immediately begin enforcing rules restricting methane emissions, a legal win for California, which had filed suit in July.

See also:

·       Trump administration ordered to enforce methane restrictions launched under Obama  LA Times

Urban noise pollution is worst in poor and minority neighborhoods and segregated cities

San Francisco Chronicle

Most Americans think of cities as noisy places – but some parts of U.S. cities are much louder than others. Nationwide, neighborhoods with higher poverty rates and proportions of black, Hispanic and Asian residents have higher noise levels than other neighborhoods. In addition, in more racially segregated cities, living conditions are louder for everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity.




State attorney general mum on criminal probe of utilities commission 

San Diego Union Tribune

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week declined to answer questions about a criminal investigation into the state utilities commission, which was active under his predecessor.


State secrets to share? Activist group seeking whistleblowers on Public Utility Commission

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Public Watchdogs, a La Mesa-based nonprofit group that has been dogging the California Public Utilities Commission on topics from energy rates to the decommissioning of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, is seeking a new ally: the commission’s own employees.



New state law aims to warn consumers about potentially harmful stem cell treatments

The Modesto Bee

A new state law aims to warn consumers about potentially harmful stem cell treatments that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.


Harvest Hoedown helps fund Madera Community Hospital

The Madera Tribune

Supporters of the Madera Community Hospital Foundation gathered for its 33rd annual fundraising dinner dance on Saturday. Held in Hatfield Hall, the Harvest Hoedown aimed to raise money to fund medical equipment.


San Joaquin County CASA program helps children in foster care


When children are removed from their parent’s custody, it often means being passed around between foster homes, social workers, and even schools. But CASA can help.


Healthy food can be harder to find in Merced County, data shows

Merced Sun-Star

If you’re living in Merced County, chances are unhealthy food is going to be a lot easier to find than nutritional food. In some Merced and Los Banos neighborhoods, the amount of fast food restaurants outweigh the number of playgrounds and parks.


TRMC chooses dairy pharmaceutical rep to fill seat


The Tulare Regional Medical Center Board of Directors has a new member.


Federal Court: TRMC faces ‘imminent risk of closure’


An updated timeline of Tulare Regional Medical Center events, including the Sept. 28 news that the hospital failed to meet payroll for some of its employees.


California Game Changers: Birthing a Single-Payer Health Care System

Capital and Main

This autumn could prove decisive for the question of whether California may again be on track to enjoy what the rest of the industrialized world has long taken for granted — universal, government-provided health insurance, a dream that dates back to the Truman administration. Although the Affordable Care Act was spectacularly successful in lowering the state’s uninsured rate from 17.2 percent to 7.3 percent, according to the latest census data, that still represents a roughly 2.8 million-person gap in California’s health coverage. And health care advocates argue that too many with private insurance continue to fall victim to the catastrophic failure of a for-profit health care model plagued by extraordinary complexity and costly administrative inefficiency.

See also:

·       Mathews: All the best Californians want single payer health care. What’s ailing me?

·Sacramento Bee

Before Ed Hernandez fought drug companies he took a lot of their money

Sacramento Bee

California state Sen. Ed Hernandez, Democrat campaigning for lieutenant governor next year as a crusader against major drug companies, hasn’t always been their adversary.

California’s deadly hepatitis A outbreak could last years, official says 

Los Angeles Times

Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.


California Tops Charts for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis

Santa Barbara Independent

Sexually transmitted diseases have taken off in the state of California, which has hit the top of the charts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for 2016. Santa Barbara County has had similarly “alarming” increases in cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis over the past five years, according to County Public Health.


California Frets Over Funding After Congress Misses Health Care Deadlines | State of Health


More than a million California children get their health insurance from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also know as “CHIP.”  Like they do with Medicaid, states split the costs for CHIP with the federal government. But Congress missed an Oct. 1 deadline to renew CHIP funding — a lapse that many blame on the drawn-out effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That fight put other health care priorities on the back burner, and anxiety is growing about when — or if — Congress will reauthorize the money to pay for them.


H.Res. 553: Providing for consideration of the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 71) establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 th


See how your Congressmember voted on a #HouseBudget that cuts Medicaid by $1.5 trillion, Medicare by $487 billion.


Reports: Trump administration to scrap ACA’s birth control mandate


The Trump administration is expected to formally remove a federal health provision, as early as Friday, that requires employers provide coverage for birth control — making good on the president’s campaign promise.





For stories on Sanctuary State” and immigration laws signed by Gov. Brown See: “Top Stories – State Politics,” above 


Landlords who threaten immigrant tenants with deportation can face civil claims in California

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to prevent landlords from threatening immigrant tenants with deportation, measures he said were part of broader efforts by his administration “to bolster resources and support for the immigrant community.”


White House plans to demand immigration cuts in exchange for DACA fix 


Aide Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration adviser, is crafting a hard-line plan that risks blowing up any deal with Democrats.


Recent foreign-born growth counters Trump’s immigration stereotypes 
Brookings Institution

Immigrant growth, thus far this decade, is occurring at a slower pace than the previous two, and is dominated by immigrants from Asia and those with college degrees. Moreover, new Asian and college-educated immigrants are especially prevalent in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.


Trump targets raids in sanctuary cities, arrests more than 500


Federal authorities have arrested nearly 500 people in California and across the country this week in a sweep of “sanctuary cities” that have opted to break ties with federal immigration enforcers.




Land Use:

Fresno rental inspections behind schedule

The Fresno Bee

During a packed Fresno City Council meeting in February, city leaders approved a plan to tackle substandard rental housing by implementing routine interior inspections.


City considering allowing microbreweries downtown

The Bakersfield Californian

Microbreweries could be coming to downtown Bakersfield. The City of Bakersfield is looking into amending its zoning laws to allow microbreweries and distilleries to set up shop downtown. With microbreweries growing in popularity — and in revenue potential — across the state, the city wants to get in on the trend and help draw more people downtown.


New Toolkit Connects City Planning and Environmental Justice


National City is the first city in California to pioneer an innovative environmental justice policy recently mandated for all municipalities throughout the state.




Without This Housing, I’d Be Dead 

Capital Public Radio

Hospitals are stepping in to help Sacramento’s homeless residents. Will it make a difference?


San Diego County rents hit record high 

San Diego Union-Tribune

Average rent in San Diego County hit a record high of $1,875 last month, continuing more than six years of rising rents in a tight housing market.




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


The city spends what on what? You can look it all up online


The City of Bakersfield has created a new online tool aimed at making it easier for the public to understand and evaluate the city’s budget.


‘Show your taxes’—Could California really make presidential contenders do it? 


There’s sometimes a fine line between good governance and trolling. One of this year’s most controversial—if not quite as consequential—state bills is a proposal by Democratic Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns before they can appear on a California ballot.


Dan Walters: New law will punish those who interfere in an audit

Merced Sun-Star (blog)

Political discourse is full of hype, obfuscation and downright lying – which is why two independent authorities play such vital roles in the state Capitol.


CalSTRS Says It Supports Nelson Peltz Nomination to P&G Board

New York Times

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) said on Thursday it would support the nomination of Nelson Peltz, chief executive of Trian Fund Management, to the board of directors at Procter & Gamble Co.


A Civic Lesson from SF on the Two-Thirds Vote for Taxes

Fox and Hounds Daily

Since Proposition 13 established a requirement for a two-thirds vote by the people for special taxes—that is, taxes earmarked for a special purpose–opponents of the idea have been critical. The major argument they make is that it is better to allow a majority vote because there is transparency in knowing how the tax money is going to be used. The problem is that earmarking taxes ties local budgets into a knot and takes away needed discretionary decision making powers from local elected officials.



A new big rig logbook is supposed to make roadways safer, but some truckers hate it

Fresno Bee

About 300 long haul truckers held a three-hour protest in front of Fresno City Hall Thursday over a new federal rule requiring electronic logging devices in trucks.

See also:

·       Local truckers put the brakes on new federal regulations abc30.com

Reacting to ‘political threats,’ California congressional Republicans write to support repeal of state gas tax increase

Los Angeles Times

Reacting to what they deemed “political threats” from a coalition of business and civic groups, 11 of the 14 Republican members of Congress from California said in a letter Thursday that they support the repeal of recent increases to the state’s gas taxes and vehicle fees.


Another key California bullet train executive is leaving 

Los Angeles Times

Jon Tapping, the agency’s director of risk management since 2012, has been charged with analyzing technical, schedule and cost issues facing the $64-billion, Los Angeles-to-San Francisco system. He reports directly to the rail authority board.


California to crack down on disabled parking-permit fraud

The Mercury News

Gaming a program for drivers with disabilities is about to get much harder under a new California law set to take effect in January, starting with one common-sense measure: using federal data to help determine which disabled parking permit-holders have died




Critical Audit Another Hit To $16 Billion California Tunnels


California’s auditor says state water managers appear to have violated state law by hiring an unqualified consultant to help plan Gov. Jerry Brown’s $16 billion project to build two massive water tunnels.

See also:

·       Delta tunnels audit faults lack of economic analysis  The Sacramento Bee

·       State auditor rips Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project The Mercury News

·       State auditor faults handling of delta tunnels planning contracts – Los Angeles Times

·       Gov. Brown visits L.A. to lobby for the $17-billion delta water project  Los Angeles Times

Urgency ordinance would halt reservoir construction

Hanford Sentinel

New and expanding water resource facilities for groundwater export or conveyance of surface water will face a 45-day moratorium in Kings County with a vote this week by the Board of Supervisors.


Fitzgerald: The hottest mess in the Delta

Stockton Record

The hottest mess in the entire California Bay-Delta is probably Herman and Helen’s Marina near Stockton: a story involving everything from a missing owner to ship parts from the Love Boat.



Central Valley ‘Hot Shots’ Headed to Puerto Rico

Valley Public Radio

A group of Central Valley ‘Hot Shot’ firefighters are getting ready to head to Puerto Rico to help that island after hurricane Maria.


Big Fresno Fair Food


So many choices, so many good smells drawing you in different directions. William Henry’s Hammertime Cafe offers traditional Italian pasta and what he calls “hammers.”


Go Nuts For Madera’s 7th Annual Pomegranate Festival At Madera Fair Grounds


The 7th annual Madera Pomegranate Festival takes place Saturday,  4th November at 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Madera District Fairgrounds.  The unique, vibrant and fun event brings in visitors from all over the world to experience the best of the Central Valley’s local pomegranate and nut products.  The event is organized by the Madera Tourism Alliance of the Madera Chamber of Commerce.  Admission and parking are free.