TOP POLITICAL STORIES
The Maddy Institute
We are looking for highly self-motivated, energetic and organized individuals who are interested in learning the dynamics of working in a legislative office while making an impact in their community.
All majors are eligible! Katie Ramirez, for example, was a Summer 2017 Maddy Scholar Intern in State Senator Andy Vidak’s Hanford District Office. She is a Health Science major with a concentration in Community Health, and planning to graduate in 2018. She has an interest in the policy issues surrounding Public Health, Education, and Veteran Affairs. Recently, Katie told us ““I’m excited to serve my hometown community by applying my knowledge and background of the Central Valley to the everyday operations of the Hanford District Office, while gaining a better understanding of the legislative process.”
Maddy Interns support legislative staff with special events, constituent services, and special projects related to the office’s general administrative duties. Help us grow the Valley’s future leaders and encourage those you know to apply!
Commercial and retail shops hoping to sell recreational marijuana will not be allowed in Fresno. After City Council’s 4-3 vote Thursday, the amendment will be back in council for a second reading and final approval mid September.
Sierra Sun Times
Lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill by Sen. Tom Berryhill of Modesto, which would give much-needed assistance to disabled veterans in California.
The Bakersfield Californian
The former mayor of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area says he will step down from the city council because he has become a distraction for the city after posting what he calls “inflammatory or insulting” remarks on Facebook.
On Friday, lawmakers make final decisions about which of the year’s most costly bills will get a full vote in both houses, with clearing of the “suspense file” in appropriations committees of both houses — lists that include 472 pieces of legislation.
East Bay Times
That’s the case with AB 1250. This legislation has a purportedly noble goal: to protect employment security for public employees. But in actuality, it constructs an elaborate system that locks out the nonprofits and medical specialists that ensure that some of our community’s most vulnerable residents receive care. The bill would require all county contractors — many of whom are nonprofit Community Benefit Organizations (CBOs) — to spend a significant portion of their modest budgets on expensive audits, burdensome paperwork and administrative overhead.
After a trip to China in June, he’s jetting to Russia next week, his office announced. Brown will speak to international government and business leaders about the need to combat climate change at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Eric Garcetti started the week toying with a 2020 presidential run on a trip to New Hampshire, but the Los Angeles mayor is still keeping his options open for a 2018 run closer to home.
A California Supreme Court decision makes it easier to raise some local taxes. But how much easier remains to be seen.
Fox & Hounds
History is not on the side of Assembly Republicans who want to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to protect the two-thirds vote for special taxes following the California Supreme Court case announced this week that may have eviscerated that taxpayer protection.
Little Hoover Commission
In this report, the Commission calls for special district reforms and recommends several measures to strengthen oversight of California’s 2,071 independent special districts.
Los Angeles Times
At a time when the Democratic base is more restive than it has been in decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ignited a firestorm earlier this week when she refused to back the impeachment of President Trump and instead called for “patience” over his presidency.
- No Reason to Believe Trump Will Change: Sen. Kamala Harris KQED
- Whalen: Kamala Harris can’t measure up to Dianne Feinstein on substance The Sacramento Bee
The Modesto Bee
From top to bottom, our country’s broken immigration system is in dire need of reform. Among the most immediate challenges is the unresolved status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA program. Though DACA is a federal program, its benefits touch every walk of public life – from our country’s global competitiveness all the way to the social fabric of neighborhoods in Stanislaus County. Congress must safeguard DACA before it is too late.
When Shirley Weber and her siblings fled this place as children in 1951 on a midnight train bound for California, their destination seemed so distant and unfamiliar to the relatives who stayed behind that they called the state a foreign land.
The proposal by Silicon Valley money man Tim Draper mirrors in some ways an unsuccessful attempt in 2014 to slice the Golden State six ways. Draper, a onetime Republican who says he voted for President Obama, sunk $5 million into signature gathering and political consulting for the campaign known as Six Californias. But while more than enough voter signatures were turned in, officials said not enough were valid to meet a threshold necessary to make the ballot. At the time, the venture capitalist blamed an “archaic, system” and government “dysfunction.”
Since the California Legislature returned from its summer recess, the web-surfing experience has taken on a political flavor.
How are you spending Labor Day? Dolores Huerta will be doing what she’s always done: laboring — for workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights. And this time she’ll also be barnstorming for a new documentary, “Dolores,” about her life and her work as the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union. Nearly 25 years have passed since the death of the UFW’s other and better-known co-founder, Cesar Chavez…Sometimes, it feels to her like history is tilling the same ground that it did when the union began, in 1962. This May, several Central Valley farm workers harvesting cabbage were sickened after a “drift” from a nearby field of a pesticide that had been scheduled to be banned Under Obama administration rules; that action was reversed by the Trump administration. (Two growers have been fined by Kern County for violating pesticide rules.) But Huerta still reads hope in the faces of the young…
The two congressmen from the Central Valley signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects about 216,000 young people in California from deportation.
Standing up for young people who have done no wrong and who are doing well is right, but what about healthcare, public schools and that stupid wall?
Congressmen Jeff Denham and David Valadao from the Central Valley signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects about 216,000 young people in California from deportation.
There won’t be an execution this year, and probably not next year. But the Supreme Court decision ensures the death penalty will be an issue in the 2018 race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Madera Tribune
It looks as though the state no longer will allow maintenance of levies in the Bay Delta, and let flood waters run where they may — just as it was in the good old days.
SF Chronicle Editorial Board
The influence of money in elections is a cornerstone issue for every democracy. Unfortunately, California just took a big step backward.
In California, it takes just a simple majority of voters to elect a mayor, a governor or even a member of Congress. But it requires a supermajority — two-thirds of the vote — to pass a local tax to fund specific programs, such as street repairs, parks or libraries. This disparity is due to Proposition 218, a 1996 ballot measure designed to make it harder for local governments to raise taxes.
Los Angeles Times
In California today, a police or sheriff’s department could buy a fleet of drones or a set of surveillance cameras to monitor the community its employees have sworn to protect, yet not tell anyone — not even the local government. The secrecy, law enforcement officials argue, is crucial to the effectiveness of the technology in fighting crime.
Los Angeles Times
Even with up to $10,000 in federal and state incentives, only 4% of car buyers in California chose electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles last year. That’s a huge problem in a state with rising greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles, and with a goal to more than quadruple the number of zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2025.
Retail marijuana dispensaries and other businesses related to recreational use of marijuana will be barred from setting up shop in Fresno after the City Council voted 4-3 Thursday to prohibit such establishments.
San Francisco Chronicle
Tiny green specks swim through clear seawater in dozens of white buckets. They look like algae but they’re actually 2-day-old red abalone larvae, which Tom Ebert breeds by the millions at American Abalone Farms. The portion that survive will reach a market size of 3 inches in about three years.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE/PUBLIC SAFETY
Positive change is what some of the prisoners in California State Prison Corcoran are looking for after partnering with nonprofit organization Marley Mutts Dog Rescue.
Los Angeles Times
A state Assemblywoman has shelved her bill to make “stealthing,” or tampering with a condom during sex, a form of rape under California law, saying it did not have enough support to win approval this year.
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court decided Thursday that data from millions of vehicle license plate images collected by the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s departments are not confidential investigative records that can be kept from public disclosure.
Following the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally and counter protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, politicians across the United States strongly condemned what’s been called an act of domestic terrorism.
Crews continue to battle multiple fires in and around Central Valley national parks as temperatures remain in the triple digits.
At least 300 people, and likely many more, crowded into Oakhurst Community Center Thursday night for an update on efforts to put an end to the growing Railroad Fire in Fish Camp. By Thursday night, the Railroad Fire was at 2,185 acres and 0% contained. Efforts look good on the western, southwestern and northern portions of the fire, officials said, in the Westfall, Fish Camp, and Hogan’s Mountain areas.
- Yosemite Railroad Fire doubles in size overnight due to wind shifts abc30
- Sierra National Forest issues Railroad Fire update Clovis Roundup
- Mandatory evacuation ordered for Big Sandy Campground Sierra Star
- Firefighters make progress on California wildfire despite heat Reuters
- Railroad Fire battalion chief killed in crash on Highway 41 in Kings County Fresno Bee
San Francisco Chronicle
Thomas Rohl adjusted the 30-pound pack strapped to his back and hopped into a nearby fire rig. He was in a remote part of Solano County, on his way to help put out a grass fire smoldering a few miles to the west. It’s backbreaking, dangerous work. But it beats prison.
- California Today: Firefighters, at Less Than $2 an Hour New York Times
- The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s Wildfires New York Times
ECONOMY / JOBS
In 1983, just after Gov. Jerry Brown’s second term ended, private unions had 1.6 million members, comprising 18 percent of the workforce. Those numbers have dropped to 1.2 million and 9 percent.
Los Angeles Times
September brings a new school year, a new season — and new sales. Before you embark on fall shopping, consult this guide on what you should buy as the days grow shorter and what you should leave on the shelf.
After 18 years flying as an airline for the price conscious, Allegiant Travel Co. wants to add real estate development to its list of corporate activities. The company is embarking on an audacious plan to build a 22-acre resort compound with a hotel, condominiums, bars, and restaurants on the Florida Gulf Coast in Port Charlotte. The real estate offshoot, called Sunseeker Resorts, will have a 75-room hotel, along with about 720 condo units, ranging from $650,000 to $1.1 million based on size. The property, when finished in late 2019 or 2020, will also include North America’s largest private-resort swimming pool.
Los Angeles Times
Before dawn six days a week, Norma Ulloa left the two-bedroom apartment she shared with four family members and boarded a bus that took her to a stifling factory on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles.
The earnings of Americans with a high school education or less have declined over the past several decades, and they have fallen far behind those with college degrees. To remedy this problem, President Trump has embraced barriers to trade and immigration, even though these would do much more harm than good to the U.S. economy. Others on the political left argue for dramatic increases in the minimum wage — up to $15 or higher — which could create large job losses.
The unemployment rate may be descending towards its natural level. But that hasn’t stopped many economists and workers from worrying about the future of the job market, and the long-term impacts of automation. Work is gradually disappearing, the argument goes. Robots will steal our jobs.
Occupational licensing, the requirement that people get a government permission slip to work, hurts millions of Americans in their efforts to make a living and support themselves. But licensing laws disproportionately harm two groups in particular: those trapped in poverty and military families. Groups as politically diverse as President Obama’s White House and the House Freedom Caucus agree on these points, and this bipartisan consensus has led to real reforms at the state level.
The U.S. agency in charge of enforcing labor law on Thursday filed a complaint against electric carmaker Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O), saying it found merit to workers’ complaints about unfair labor practices.
- Tesla Faces Complaint From U.S. Labor Board The Wall Street Journal
As the United Automobile Workers union seeks to organize Tesla’s Fremont car factory, some employees say they never received proper training to handle hazardous chemicals they blame for causing rashes, dizziness, nosebleeds and, in one case, eye damage — an accusation the company calls “completely false.”
Los Angeles Times
After a sustained assault from lawmakers, investigators and victims groups, the website Backpage.com agreed early this year to shut down its lucrative adult page, which had become a well-known sex-trafficking hub.
Despite the risk posed to students and staff, many California schools fail to include active shooter scenarios in state-required safety plans, according to a new audit.
For millions of California children attending schools in the 30 largest districts in the state, summertime is back-to-school time.
Easing overcrowding and curbing the costs of attending California’s three systems of public higher education were among the issues on the table as state legislators Thursday opened a lengthy process to update the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education.
Last May, the California Community College system partnered with Crisis Text Line – a free service funded by grants and donations – to give students an all-hours, anonymous counseling service for mental health emergencies.
|Trump wants to cut college work study amid calls to boost job aid to public campuses
While remembered fondly by past generations of former college cafeteria workers and campus tour guides, the $990 million-a-year program now faces much scrutiny and an uncertain future. The Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding by about half has triggered strong debate and supporters of work-study are using that attention to call for curtailing advantages private colleges enjoy in garnering the aid.
American Economic Review
Online college courses are a rapidly expanding feature of higher education, yet little research identifies their effects relative to traditional in-person classes. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that taking a course online, instead of in-person, reduces student success and progress in college. Grades are lower both for the course taken online and in future courses. Students are less likely to remain enrolled at the university. These estimates are local average treatment effects for students with access to both online and in-person options; for other students, online classes may be the only option for accessing college-level courses.
California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it.
In policy wonk circles, there is a something of a knee-jerk reaction to a Trump proposal. The President proposed it, ergo it is a bad idea. As a general principle this heuristic has some value: there are almost laughably bad policies flowing out of the White House. But be careful: there are some good ones, too. Take President Trump’s recent executive order to expand “industry-recognized” apprenticeships in the United States.
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled on Thursday his plan for spending cap-and-trade revenue, prioritizing cleaner vehicles and improving air quality.
California’s governor is traveling to Russia next week to discuss collaborating with Pacific nations on climate change at an economic forum hosted by the Russian government and featuring a talk by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Endangered California frogs are getting an immunity boost from scientists who are scooping them up from remote Sierra Nevada ponds and sending them to big city zoos for inoculation, giving them a fighting chance to beat extinction, officials said Wednesday.
Now here’s a chart that will undoubtedly get the oil bulls excited. From Vivek Dhar, mining and energy commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank, it shows the change in US crude oil inventory levels on a per day basis, comparing what’s happening this year compared to prior years.
The California Department of Public Health has fined Valley Children’s Hospital $71,962.50 in the death of a patient two years ago. The state says a delay in communicating the results of a chest X-ray and scan resulted in a delay in medical treatment and surgery, resulting in the potentially avoidable death of the young man who died from a bleeding aneurysm.
Hernandez’s new measure, SB17, aims to create greater transparency between drug manufacturers, health plans and consumers. He introduced a similar bill last year, but it was hijacked in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This week, it goes to a vote in that same committee.
The Mercury News
A bill co-authored by a Bay Area assemblyman that would block the ability of cities and counties to control the installation of microwave radiation antennas is doing more than alarming many local officials.
Capital Public Radio
An ongoing drug pricing battle between Democratic Senator Ed Hernandez and the pharmaceutical industry comes to a head Friday in the California Legislature.
Health and Human Services officials say advertising will be cut to $10 million for the 2018 open enrollment season. That’s down from $100 million for the 2017 sign-up season. Funding for consumer helpers called “navigators” will also be cut, from $62.5 million for 2017, to about $36 million for next year.
A bipartisan governor duo is urging Congress to retain the federal health care law’s unpopular individual mandate while seeking to stabilize individual insurance markets as legislators continue work on a long-term replacement law.
- Governors Offer Plan to Keep Obamacare and Fund It More The Weekly Standard
- Govs. Hickenlooper and Kasich discuss bipartisan proposal to stabilize health insurance market AEI
President Trump and this administration believe in promoting work, not dependency, and in building on the success of the bipartisan 1996 welfare-reform law, not dismantling it.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during a round-table discussion organized by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs that was heavily focused on immigration and public safety.
President Donald Trump is expected to rescind an Obama administration policy that protects from deportation nearly 800,000 immigrants who as children entered the country illegally, setting the stage for a fight with U.S. business leaders and lawmakers over tough immigration policy.
The Mercury News
losely watched legislation on immigration, health care and renewable energy are among hundreds of bills that will face a lightning round of votes in the Capitol on Friday, with fiscal committees in the Assembly and Senate deciding in rapid succession whether the measures will advance to a final vote or face a quick death.
- Texas & Sanctuary Cities — Federal Judge Blocks State Law National Review
After months of delay, the Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it had selected four vendors to build prototypes of their proposed concrete walls in the San Diego area. Up to four selected proposals for alternative building materials will be announced later.
The state Assembly gave final legislative approval Thursday to a compact between the state of California and Wilton Rancheria, which wants to build the first tribal casino in Sacramento County.
Capital Public Radio
California lawmakers could take the first steps Friday towards passing a package of bills that seek to reduce the state’s soaring housing costs, with up to a dozen different bills coming up for votes.
Fox and Hounds Daily
Any fair analysis of the package of housing bills emerging in Sacramento should start by acknowledging the victory in getting this far.
As we celebrate Labor Day 2017, the same laws of construction industry math still apply. When contractors want to build the best in the least amount of time, they have to hire the best. Even if it costs you more on the front end, you make it up in added productivity and by not having to make costly fixes on the back end.
Fox and Hounds Daily
As the California Legislature moves to act on a series of bills dubbed the “Affordable Housing Package,”NFIB announced our opposition to three key bills in the package: Senate Bill 2 (Atkins); Senate Bill 3 (Beall); and Senate Bill 35 (Weiner) on behalf of our 22,000 dues-paying small business owners.
California Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez sent more than 200,000 pieces of mail to constituents last winter. One letter invited women to self-defense classes, another highlighted a bird-watching event, and a third promoted a tree adoption day.
If you’re planning on heading out of town for Labor Day weekend, you might want to fuel up early. AAA is predicting the largest retail spike of 2017 through Labor Day weekend and into next week. Some of that is because of Hurricane Harvey, which has shut down refineries in Texas.
Capital Public Radio
California lawmakers are debating expanded safety requirements for young drivers. The state’s provisional driver’s license program now applies to people under 18. The proposal would extend it to new drivers under 21. Gov. Jerry Brown rejected another bill that sought to limit young drivers in 2013, calling it too restrictive.
Local Government Commission
Car manufacturers expect to have autonomous vehicles on the road within the next three to five years. Some experts predict that, with the rapid increase in adoption of new technology, there could be 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020, with one in four cars being self-driving by 2030. (Approximately 264 million cars were registered in the U.S. in 2015.). Research by UC Berkeley Director of Institute of Transportation Studies, Joan Walker has estimated that autonomous vehicles could increase vehicle miles traveled by 6% to 90%, depending on the percent of individually owned (versus shared) cars. More than one-half (52%) of people surveyed said they would use an autonomous vehicle, while only 20% said they would share. Survey respondents were willing to pay a $4,900 premium on average, which would be in the range of the added cost for an autonomous vehicle.
Supporters of a water bill making its way through the legislature are calling for complete backing for the proposed legislation as it nears a full vote in the Assembly.
For many years a park in West Central Fresno has been known as Victoria West Park. It is a place where kids play on a hot summer day and a place Navkiran Kaur Khalara hopes will soon have new meaning.
Ron Sundquist, a Clovis photographer and historian, was humbled by monetary gifts donated to him at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. The money was offered to replace his camera equipment and cell phone which were stolen at a local casino. A longtime Clovis resident and fixture in Old Town Clovis, Sundquist does work for the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and the Clovis Roundup newspaper. The money was collected by a fund drive set up in his name on the chamber’s web site. As of Thursday, more than $3,000 was donated.
McCoy, a Kern County native and career educator, will start Oct. 1, according to a press release from the museum. His hiring was announced at the Aug. 28 meeting of the foundation’s board of trustees, almost six months after the previous executive, Zoot Velasco, left the museum.