September 14, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Modesto mayoral, supervisor candidates square off in South Modesto Partnerships forums

Modesto Bee

The 2020 election focus will turn to south Modesto and its surrounding neighborhoods on Thursday as candidates vying to become the city’s next mayor and the supervisor to represent the area square off in back-to-back debates.

Modesto approves spending up to $700K for worker investigations over two years

Modesto Bee

Modesto has allocated as much as $700,000 over the next two years for law firms and private investigators to look into suspected employee wrongdoing, such as supervisors harassing or discriminating against subordinates, workers sleeping on the job or engaging in time theft.

Central SJ Valley:

Robert Costa (PBS Wash Week) Returns to Discuss 2020 Election in Virtual President’s Lecture Series (Free)

Fresno State

Costa will be the featured speaker for a first-ever virtual version of the President’s Lecture Series at Fresno State, less than a month before the 2020 presidential election.  The President’s Lecture with Costa is scheduled from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. It’s free to participate, by visiting Zoom at the time of the event.

Sen. Kamala Harris to visit Fresno, tour fire station Tuesday

Fresno Bee

Calif Sen. Kamala Harris will visit Fresno on Tuesday while on the trail for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said. Harris, a historic choice as the Democratic vice presidential running mate, will visit a local fire station during her trip to town, Arias said. Other details are still being worked out.

Devin Nunes’ legal setbacks pile up, but his lawsuits go on with appeals and new filings

Fresno Bee

Calif Rep. Devin Nunes has had little success in the battery of lawsuits he filed against media organizations and critics, but his efforts are running up legal bills for the groups he considers his adversaries. Take, for instance, the Republican political consultant Liz Mair.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims to meet with President Trump during Sac visit


Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims will be part of a roundtable conversation with President Donald Trump in Sac next week. The White House says President Trump will join local and federal emergency officials Monday during a trip to McClellan Park in Sac County.

Turlock has one of highest COVID-19 case rates in the county

Turlock Journal

As the number of COVID-19 cases remain high in Stanislaus County and in Turlock specifically, the state has worked to reduce testing turnaround times.

South SJ Valley:

Supervisors set to revive Kern Recovers program with influx of cash from city of Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian

Using funds from the city of Bakersfield, Kern County Supervisors will consider reviving the Kern Recovers forgivable loan program during their Tuesday board meeting. In addition, supervisors will consider a $1 million plan to house agricultural workers who have contracted or been exposed to coronavirus in local hotels in order to prevent the disease from spreading within their communities.

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral will visit Kern County for round table discussion Monday


United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams will visit Kern County Monday for a roundtable discussion with community leaders. Adams will be meeting with Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop and Director of Public Health Matt Constantine to speak with business, education and medical community leaders, according to a press release from the county.


President Trump to visit Sac on Monday for briefing on Calif wildfires

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump will visit Sac County on Monday to be briefed on the deadly wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres across the state, the White House said on Saturday. The visit will include local and federal fire officials responsible for battling the wildfires, said Judd Deere, a White House deputy press secretary.

See also:

●     Pres. Trump to visit scorched Calif Monday for briefing on wildfires abc30

●     What you need to know about Donald Trump’s visit to Sac today Sac Bee

●     Trump to Visit Calif After Criticism Over Silence on Wildfire LA Times

●     Trump’s Calif visit to spotlight political divides over climate change, coronavirus LA Times

●     Trump will visit fire-ravaged Calif, White House says LA Times

‘Terrible role-modeling’: How Calif lawmakers flouted pandemic safety practices

LA Times

In Calif, cradle of renowned tech startups and Silicon Valley, elementary school students have had to figure out how to work remotely, but lawmakers have not. As the end-of-session frenzy gripped the state Legislature in late August, pandemic no-nos spiked: Lawmakers gathered indoors in large numbers and huddled closely, let their masks slip below their noses, smooshed together for photos and shouted “Aye!” and “No!” when voting in the Senate, potentially spraying virus-laden particles at their colleagues.

Warmer. Burning. Epidemic-challenged. Expensive. The Calif Dream has become the Calif Compromise.

Wash Post

The cityscape resembles the surface of a distant planet, populated by a masked alien culture. The air, choked with blown ash, is difficult to breathe. There is the Golden Gate Bridge, looming in the distance through a drift-smoke haze, and the Salesforce Tower, which against the blood-orange sky appears as a colossal spaceship in a doomsday film.

Calif Forum: Brown passed on reforming CEQA twice and now the responsibility falls in Gov. Newsom’s lap

Sac Bee

The Calif Legislature has a handy website that allows users to find and track the thousands of bills that are introduced during its two-year sessions. If one enters “Calif Environmental Quality Act” into the website’s search function, 171 bills pop up for the session that ended a fortnight ago, implying the Legislature’s penchant for tinkering with Calif’s landmark environmental legislation that then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed 50 years ago.


Two-third of Americans distrust Trump’s COVID-19 response; say he acted too slowly to quell pandemic: POLL


A new poll released Sunday puts President Donald Trump’s approval rating for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at 35%, Roughly two-thirds of the nation think the president acted too slowly and distrust what he has said about the coronavirus, the new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

See also:

●     68% Of Americans Do Not Trust What Trump Says About Coronavirus Pandemic, Survey Says Forbes

GOP chair defends Trump messaging on masks: ‘To say that he should have known then what we know now isn’t really fair’

The Hill

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday defended President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including his contradictory remarks on masks.

Trump officials seek greater control over CDC reports on coronavirus

Wash Post

Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services have sought to change, delay and prevent the release of reports about the coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because they were viewed as undermining President Trump’s message that the pandemic is under control.

Trump Signs New Executive Order On Prescription Drug Prices


President Trump signed an executive order Sunday that he says lowers prescription drug prices “by putting America first,” but experts say the move is unlikely to have any immediate impact. The move comes nearly two months after the president signed a different executive order with the exact same name, but held it back to see if he could negotiate a better deal with drug companies.

Opinion: There is no vaccine for our deeper national sickness

Wash Post

I want a coronavirus vaccine to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and distributed for inoculation as soon as there is scientifically approved evidence of its safety and efficacy — but not one moment sooner. There is a moral imperative, but no political imperative whatsoever, to move forward as soon as possible.

Opinion: Please regulate us, beg companies that Trump keeps trying to deregulate

Wash Post

That’s what big pharmaceutical companies are implicitly begging the Trump administration to do, because of a public crisis of confidence in any forthcoming covid-19 vaccine. The plea is surprising on its face. It also rebuts the GOP’s entire understanding of regulation — specifically, that regulation is necessarily bad for businesses, consumers and economic growth.

Commentary: Tracking the Battle Over the Senate: Will the Chamber Flip or Stay With the GOP?


Democrats’ bid to retake the Senate after six years of Republican control hinges on Joe Biden carrying the party’s candidates across the line in closely contested races. President Donald Trump’s stubbornly low approval ratings, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and Biden’s lead in polls of the presidential contest are a drag on Republican candidates and an opportunity for Democrats eight weeks before the election.

Coronavirus Trackers:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Calif

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

See also:

●     Calif Department of Public Health

●     Coronavirus (COVID-19) CDC

●     Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic – WHO

●     John Hopkins University & Medicine John Hopkins University

●     Tracking coronavirus in Calif LA Times

●     Coronavirus Tracker SF Chronicle

●      Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count NY Times

●     How many coronavirus cases have been reported in each U.S. state? Politico

●     Coronavirus Daily NPR

●     Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads Financial Times

●     Coronavirus in Calif by the numbers CalMatters

Elections 2020:

Postal Service election mailers raise questions, stir confusion in Calif

Sac Bee

Sac County officials are criticizing the use of a nationwide mail-in election circular meant to inform Americans about mail-in voting as many states eye remote democracy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As Calif burns, Biden missing chance to focus on climate change

SF Chronicle

Joe Biden is passing up a chance to make fighting climate change the centerpiece of his campaign, environmentalists say, at time when wildfires have incinerated an unprecedented 3 million-plus acres in Calif, a record hurricane season is battering the Southeast and one of the worst windstorms ever to hit Iowa caused $4 billion in damage.

GOP’s route to Calif wins: Hailing a ride from gig workers?


As Election Day nears, GOP congressional hopefuls in Calif swing districts are zeroing in on a particular strategy: That means reminding voters that Democrats are in charge of Calif, and that life in Calif kinda sucks at the moment. Cue the attack ads featuring tent encampments, raging wildfires, smashed storefronts — and a state law making it harder to classify “gig economy workers” as independent contractors.


‘Out of Control’: Candidate Trump casts Calif as cautionary tale


The president clearly enjoys needling the nation’s most populous state. Since his inauguration, Donald Trump has taken aim at Calif for its policies on immigration and environmental protection, its left-leaning cultural institutions, its poverty rate (which, if you factor in the cost of living, is the highest in the nation), its crime rate (which isn’t), its liberal governor and its alleged tolerance of voter fraud (a charge that’s completely unfounded).

Hispanic voters say economy, health care and COVID-19 are top issues in 2020 presidential election


As the coronavirus continues its spread across the United States, strong majorities of Hispanic registered voters say the economy, health care and the COVID-19 outbreak are very important to their vote in the 2020 presidential election, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 27 to Aug. 2.

Voters’ Attitudes About Race and Gender Are Even More Divided Than in 2016


During the 2016 presidential campaign, supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton disagreed over nearly everything, including the extent to which Black adults in this country are disadvantaged because of their race and women because of their gender.

Americans’ expectations about voting in 2020 presidential election are colored by partisan differences


Many Americans are concerned about voting in November amid the coronavirus pandemic and worries over the U.S. Postal Service’s capacity to deliver ballots on time. Democrats, however, are more concerned than Republicans about the ease of voting and the broader integrity of the election.

They voted for him and now regret it. Why White women are turning away from Trump.

Wash Post

From her home in the Philadelphia suburbs, Nin Bell works for an answering service, taking calls from people trying to reach more than 10,000 funeral homes and end-of-life companies. As the coronavirus began to sweep the country earlier this year, the number of calls related to new deaths tripled.

See also:

●     Why Trump Is Winning Over Hispanics National Review

Latino groups warn that Biden’s sluggish outreach to their voters could hurt in November

Wash Post

Top Latino Democrats are voicing growing concern about Joe Biden’s campaign, warning that lackluster efforts to win the support of their community could have devastating consequences in the November election.

Major Companies Giving Paid Time Off To Vote: Facebook Joins The List


Facebook became the latest major employer Friday to give workers paid time off to vote in the November election and serve as poll workers, as the continuing global pandemic scuttles normal voting patterns, and both Democrats and Republicans fret about getting their supporters to the polls.

No, Joe Biden Isn’t Raising Taxes For 82% Of Americans. Don Jr. Just Failed Math.


On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. managed to shock both political parties with a tweet accusing Joe Biden of conspiring to raise taxes for 82 % of Americans. And this would be extremely jarring — if it were true. Instead, Don Jr. mostly he shocked Twitter with his inability to do math and attempt to fear-monger the masses over Biden’s tax plan.

Biden Pledges To Dismantle Trump’s Sweeping Immigration Changes — But Can He Do That?


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is pledging to dismantle the sweeping changes President Trump has made to the American immigration system, if he wins the White House in November. But that’s easier said than done.

Republicans Are Knocking On Doors. Democrats Aren’t. Biden’s Campaign Says That’s OK


President Trump’s campaign says it knocks on a million doors a week. Joe Biden’s campaign hasn’t knocked on any doors to talk to voters for months. In lieu of in-person meetings, Democrats are focused on conversations they can have virtually.

Commentary: Prop. 15: Ballot measure will stabilize Calif’s economy


I endorse Proposition 15 because it is critical to Calif’s long-term economic recovery strategy.  As someone who grew up in a small business household and has served on the Board of Equalization and now as State Controller, I know the impacts and implementation of this measure matter.

Opinion: Where faith divides: How do voters define justice in 2020?

Roll Call

In a recent phone conversation — a catch-up during COVID isolation — a longtime friend talked of a memory that seemed especially relevant these days. A fellow cradle Catholic, whom I met at a Catholic university, she recalled how startled she was on entering my childhood parish for my decades-ago wedding and finding herself surrounded by statues of the saints and Christ on the cross, familiar to her but so very different.

Commentary: Election 2020: Where are we?


The presidential elections of the 21st century have taught us to expect the unexpected. Still, as the current race heads into the post-Labor Day home stretch, some fundamentals have become clear.


Internet providers must take lead on closing digital divide

Calif Economic Summit

We have all seen the images and heard stories: students without Internet access sitting in parks, parking lots or fast food restaurants to use public Wi-Fi to do homework. COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders illuminated how essential it is to be connected to the internet for education, healthcare work, and even public safety.

Few Americans are confident in tech companies to prevent misuse of their platforms in the 2020 election


Three-quarters of U.S. adults say technology companies have a responsibility to prevent the misuse of their platforms to influence the 2020 presidential election, but only around a quarter say they are very or somewhat confident in these firms to do so, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 27-Aug. 2.

Five myths about antifa

Wash Post

Short for “anti-fascist,” the label “antifa” gained notoriety in 2017 over the course of several high-profile conflicts between left-wing protesters and the far right in Berkeley, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Charlottesville; and elsewhere. But antifa has been a staple of radical politics across Europe, Latin America and beyond for decades.


Sunday, September 20, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: Countdown to the 2020 Census – Guests: Laura Hill with the Public Policy Institute of Calif., Taryn Luna with the Sac Bee, Dan Walters with CALmatters, SOS Padilla, Sarah Bohn- PPIC and John Myers, LA Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, September 20, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Census & Immigration: Distinctly Different Issues Intersect.”Guests: SOS Padilla, Sarah Bohn- PPIC and John Myers, LA Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Some Calif farmworkers haven’t had masks during wildfires. State investigating

Fresno Bee

Availability of N95 masks for farmworkers looked as hazy as the orange sky in Calif this week. The respirator masks are the most effective shield against toxic air for workers who have to remain outside as wildfires rip through the Golden State. But farmworker groups reported workers have virtually no masks, while the state and ag groups say they have distributed millions.

Foothill goat farm finds way to operate business at a distance


A goat farm from the foothills has found itself in limbo as the flames from the Creek Fire scorch the land. The goats are the heart of Basilwood Farm. Prather resident Jill Spruance runs the tight-knit family business and suddenly found danger coming closer when the Creek Fire burned.

Thousands of meals prepared at CBCC distributed to homeless in Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian

At Bakersfield’s sprawling Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, multimillion dollar technology fills entire rooms: MRIs, CT scans, PET imaging, radiation therapy, cyber knife treatments and more. But in a wing of the building not far from its front door, employees and volunteers have been cooking up treatments for more common ailments — like food insecurity, hunger and want.



Newsom signs legislation changing sex offender law in Calif

The Hill

Calif Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation changing the state’s sex offender law to allow judges to have a say on whether to list someone as a sex offender for having oral or anal sex with a minor.

Public Safety:

EDITORIAL: DA was right not to charge Fresno restaurants over COVID-19 health order violations

Fresno Bee

When Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp decided not to bring criminal charges against four local restaurants for violating state COVID-19 rules, it was not necessarily an applause-worthy decision, but an understandable and right one.


Cattle might be secret weapon in fight against wildfires, experts say. Here’s how

Fresno Bee

Evidence shows that wildfires have become more widespread and severe over the years, with the ongoing West Coast blazes bearing testament to the worrying trend. Firefighters and farmers have tricks of their own to prevent fires from sparking and to contain them enough for successful defeat. But there might be a secret weapon that hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.

After a week, the Creek Fire ranks among the biggest in Calif wildfire history

Fresno Bee

The Creek Fire, rampaging in the Sierra National Forest in eastern Fresno and Madera counties, has charred an estimated 196,667 acres as of Saturday and devastated dozens of homes and businesses in the mountain communities.

See also:

●     Creek Fire live updates: 200,000 acres burned, but evacuations ease as containment hits 10% Fresno Bee

●     ‘Fire tornado’ hit Huntington Lake, with some roots still burning at more than 1,500 degrees Fresno Bee

●     Creek Fire: 201,908 acres burned with 10% containment, latest evacuations issued for Fresno, Madera, Mariposa counties abc30

●     Creek Fire is one of the 20 largest wildfires in Calif’s history abc30

●     Firefighter planning may save hundreds of homes from Creek Fire abc30

●     Creek Fire continues to rage county Madera Tribune

●     150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada LA Times

Tulare County wildfire creeps toward Three Rivers, triggering evacuation warnings

Fresno Bee

The Tulare County community of Three Rivers was placed under an evacuation warning Sunday night as flames from the weeks-old Sequoia Complex Fire chain crept closer to the foothill town. An evacuation warning means there is a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock, are urged to leave immediately.

Update: Wildfires have burned record acreage in Calif. Here’s where the biggest fires are

Fresno Bee

It all comes down to weather. After two days of somewhat favorable conditions that allowed firefighters to gain ground on 28 major wildfires burning across the state, winds are forecast to return Sunday, posing new challenges to quench the flames.

SQF Complex Fire more than 89,471 acres with 12% containment


Tulare County authorities say the SQF Complex Fire made a big push to the west Saturday night. Sheriff Mike Boudreaux has now added a new mandatory evacuation order. It covers Highway 190 from the intersection at Balch Road north to Blue Ridge Lookout, east to Moses Mountain, and south to Mahogany Flat.

See also:

●     Sequoia Complex update: Firefighters work to develop firelines Porterville Recorder

Calif’s on fire, unplugged and out of easy answers. So why don’t we…?


With Calif wildfires, it seems that every year brings a new record for “more”: More acres, more frequent, more extreme, more deaths, more destruction. So it figures that along with all the other misery that 2020 has piled on us, it’s shaping up as one of the worst fire seasons on record. By Labor Day, more than 2 million acres had burned, and the worst of the season is just getting started.

Calif’s worsening wildfires, explained


If it seems that wildfires are burning nearly all the time these days, that there’s no longer a definable fire season in Calif, you’re right. Fourteen of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007, and Calif has 78 more annual “fire days” now than it had 50 years ago.

Why is Calif burning?


For decades environmentalists have warned that the world is going to burn. Mostly, they meant it figuratively. But footage of fires sweeping through the Siberian steppe, the Amazon forest, parts of Australia and now, once again, Calif, make it easy to believe the planet is, literally, on fire.

Column: What’s with the ridiculous fire ‘complex’ names in Calif?

LA Times

We’ve got the North Complex fire and the August Complex fire. Then there’s the CZU Lightning Complex fire and the LNU Lightning Complex fire, not to mention the SCU Lightning Complex fire. It’s just all so complex.



Latino Life: Financial help for local small businesses


Local small businesses impacted by the pandemic have a place to turn for financial help. Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation is teaming up with the City of Fresno and County of Fresno to offer grants that will aid small businesses in underserved neighborhoods impacted by COVID-19.

By temporarily closing gates to Wall Street Alley, restaurants aim to open up outdoor dining

Bakersfield Californian

As fall fast approaches and temperatures begin to moderate, restaurants in downtown Bakersfield are exploring new ideas and opportunities for outdoor dining. And things are moving fast.

See also:

●     Seeking help for downtown restaurants, Modesto business leaders want some streets closed Modesto Bee


Calif Expands COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements


On September 9, 2020, Calif Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, a five-part bill that: (1) codifies existing COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CPSL) requirements for certain food sector workers, (2) adds CPSL requirements for other employers, (3) creates a small-employer family leave mediation pilot program,1 (4) codifies existing COVID-19 handwashing requirements,2 and (5) amends enforcement provisions in Calif’s pre-COVID paid sick leave law,3 the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. In this article, we focus exclusively on the emergency paid sick leave requirements.

A Calif Law Was Supposed to Give Uber Drivers New Protections. Instead, Comedians Lost Work.


Early this year, the organizers of a small Bay Area theater told Alicia Dattner they wouldn’t be able to pay her for an upcoming comedy act. The reason: A new Calif law that reclassified gig-economy workers, such as Uber drivers, as employees meant it would be too expensive to hire her.

See also:

●     Column: Uber and Lyft just made their campaign to keep exploiting workers the costliest in history LA Times

Commentary: To celebrate workers, we must end gig economy exploitation


As one of the tens of thousands of Calif workers who drive a car for Uber or Lyft, I have never received any of those basic worker benefits and protections. But we had every reason to believe that Labor Day 2020 would at last be a day we could celebrate.

Commentary: Essential workers during COVID-19: At risk and lacking union representation


Just over a year ago, The Hamilton Project released an economic analysis on private sector labor unions. In that piece, we documented private sector unions’ decades-long decline (see figure 1), discussed the labor market effects of unions, and explored policies to make collective bargaining easier for workers.

Commentary: Unemployment among young workers during COVID-19


On June 8, the Business Cycle Dating Committee officially declared that the United States entered a recession in February. Young workers are typically hard hit in recessions, and research suggests that entering the labor market during a recession has a negative impact on future earnings and job prospects. In this post we examine the labor market experience of young workers since the onset of the pandemic and provide some thoughts on policy implications.

Commentary: If AI takes jobs, humans will need lifelong learning and portable benefits


On September 10, Center for Technology Innovation Senior Fellow Darrell West testified before the House Committee on the Budget for a hearing titled “Machines, artificial intelligence, & the workforce: Recovering & readying our economy for the future”.



Fresno middle school class hacked online with explicit message. District investigating

Fresno Bee

A seventh-grade online class was hacked Friday morning with an explicit message, Fresno Unified officials confirmed. The class at Computech Middle School was interrupted around 10 a.m., Trustee Terry Slatic told The Bee. Slatic received a screenshot of the message seen by students in the virtual class that he shared.

Local schools to reopen for in-person learning after receiving waivers

Hanford Sentinel

Students will once again flood the hallways of St. Rose-McCarthy Catholic School and Hanford Christian School on Monday. The two local schools can open up their classroom for in-person learning after both were granted waivers by the Kings County Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 update: St. Anne’s School ready for Monday opening

Porterville Recorder

St. Anne’s School principal Kayla Trueblood said she was disappointed at first when the school couldn’t open to for K-6 grades – but only at first. Trueblood said St. Anne’s is ready for its first day of school so to speak when it can again open for in-person instruction for K-2 grades on Monday.

Kern school districts begin opening in-person learning for vulnerable students

Bakersfield Californian

Early this month, the state announced it would allow school districts, even in counties like Kern that are on the most restricted tier for COVID-19, to bring back key groups of students for in-person learning. This week, the boards of two school districts, Arvin Union and Fruitvale, passed plans to bring back some of the students they say have the most to lose in a distance learning environment.

59% of U.S. parents with lower incomes say their child may face digital obstacles in schoolwork


Communities across the United States are facing challenges of remote learning as K-12 schools have shifted to online classes or been forced to go remote after students or staff tested positive for COVID-19 early in the term.

Commentary: Beyond reopening schools: How education can emerge stronger than before COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in at least one positive thing: a much greater appreciation for the importance of public schools. As parents struggle to work with their children at home due to school closures, public recognition of the essential caretaking role schools play in society has skyrocketed.

Commentary: To make ed tech work, set clear goals, review the evidence, and pilot before you scale


Over the past few decades, we have witnessed multiple predictions that technology would  “disrupt” education (remember when the $100 laptop was going to revolutionize education in the developing world?). The current COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception.

See also:

●     Commentary: How can education technology improve learning for all? Brookings

Higher Ed:

The Fresno Ed Lab: Fresno State students won’t return to campuses this school year

Fresno Bee

As mid-September approaches, some universities have already decided not to bring students back to campus this school year. The Calif State University system – including Fresno State – is among the first to announce they will not be reopening campuses this spring. Ed Lab’s higher ed reporter Ashleigh Panoo broke the story this week.

See also:

●     Stanislaus State instruction to remain virtual this spring Turlock Journal

KKK member’s name will be removed from Fresno City College baseball park

Fresno Bee

Fresno City College is joining the growing number of colleges, universities, and other institutions across the nation in renaming facilities after The Fresno Bee revealed the namesake of the college’s baseball park was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Coronavirus, Trump Chill International Enrollment at U.S. Colleges


Chittawan Boonsitanon started junior year at Michigan State University last week from his home in Bangkok, 8,500 miles and half a world away. Boonsitanon said many international students decided months ago to take classes online, before Michigan State administrators in mid-August urged all undergraduates to stay home.




Smoke from West Coast wildfires pulled into cyclone 1,000 miles offshore, video shows

Fresno Bee

Smoke from wildfires raging across the West Coast has drifted 1,000 miles or more over the Pacific Ocean, where it has been pulled into a cyclone, satellite images show. A video posted Saturday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows smoke from the fires in Calif, Oregon and Wash being pulled into a swirl over the ocean.

Fires raise fight over climate change before Trump’s visit

Bakersfield Californian

With crews battling wildfires that have killed at least 33 people, destroyed neighborhoods and enveloped the West Coast in smoke, another fight has emerged: leaders in the Democratic-led states and President Donald Trump have clashed over the role of climate change ahead of his visit Monday to Calif.

Newsom vows to fast track Calif’s green goals ‘in the midst of a climate emergency’

Sac Bee

To combat climate change, Calif must reach 100% green electricity much faster than state officials had planned, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday. “We’re in the midst of a climate emergency,” Newsom said. “We’re experiencing what so many people predicted decades ago… I’m exhausted that we have to continue to debate this issue.”

See also:

●     ‘Debate is over,’ Calif’s governor says. ‘This is a climate damn emergency.’ CalMatters

Calif Resilience Challenge 2020


Climate change is causing Calif’s already volatile climate to produce increasingly extreme droughts, floods, heatwaves, and wildfires. The Calif Resilience Challenge is a statewide effort, led by businesses and a diverse range of partners, to build local climate resilience and support a shared vision for a resilient Calif in the face of increasing climate threats.

Study links coronavirus mortality to air pollution exposure

The Hill

A new study published Friday is the latest linking pollution exposure to a greater risk of dying from the coronavirus. The study published by IOP found that an increase in the concentration of multiple pollutants from a class known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) was associated with a 9 % increase in COVID-19 mortality.


Solar energy helps power oil field service provider at local Halliburton facility

Bakersfield Californian

A solar array under construction at the local headquarters of oil field services giant Halliburton Co. is the latest sign of conventional and renewable energy coming together in Kern. County officials say the 1.6-megawatt photovoltaic installation going up at the northwest corner of 7th Standard and Coffee roads in Oildale is intended to generate power to support the facility’s operations.

Opinion: Calif’s Wildfire Power Eclipse


The wildfires sweeping through Calif and the Pacific Northwest are terrible to behold, with some 10% of Oregon residents forced to leave their homes and 20 times more land in Calif burned than this time last year. The fires again underscore the need for active forest management, as they also expose the weaknesses of green-only energy policies.

Commentary: How clean energy jobs can power an equitable COVID-19 recovery


This July, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released his $2 trillion climate plan, touching on many interconnected themes, from clean energy to resilient infrastructure to environmental justice. But the plan’s emphasis on jobs was most apparent. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs,’” Biden said in his announcement.



Eating out is among riskiest activities during COVID-19 pandemic, CDC says

Fresno Bee

Going out to eat is riskier than other activities during the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday in a new report. In a study with 314 adults who were tested for COVID-19, the CDC found adults who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have gone to a restaurant before getting sick.

See also:

●     Adults With COVID-19 Twice As Likely To Have Eaten At Restaurants, CDC Study Finds VPR

Kern Public Health reports 6 new coronavirus deaths, 113 new cases Sunday

Bakersfield Californian

There are six new deaths from coronavirus and 113 new confirmed cases, the Kern County Public Health Services Department reported Sunday. That brings the total deaths in the county to 332 and the cases to 30,745 since reporting began in mid-March.

See also:

●     Merced County reports one new death, 54 more coronavirus cases on Friday Merced Sun-Star

●     Coronavirus update: Stanislaus has 7 more deaths. Hospitalizations are down Modesto Bee

COVID-19’s Toll on Mental Health


As the pandemic continues to threaten the physical health and well-being of many Califns, mental health professionals across the state have also acknowledged its widespread psychological impact.

Human Services:

Local organizations offer virtual mental health, grief support amid pandemic

Turlock Journal

During this period which has taken its toll on the mental health of many, local support services are offering spaces online where the community can help each other cope.

Locals sought for COVID-19 drug trial

Bakersfield Californian

People in Kern County diagnosed with COVID-19 who are managing the illness at home can participate in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of a common anti-inflammatory drug in reducing hospitalizations and death from the coronavirus.

As Kern residents stop getting tested for COVID-19, officials look to change strategy

Bakersfield Californian

In the Kern River Valley, coronavirus testing peaked after Memorial Day, when a well-known member of the community contracted COVID-19. “Everybody and their brother (came in),” said Tim McGlew, CEO of the Kern Valley Healthcare District. “We were up probably well over 100, 120 a day immediately for probably two or three weeks after that.”

As COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Move At Warp Speed, Recruiting Black Volunteers Takes Time


Black patients are some of the most reluctant to participate in clinical trials, according to FDA statistics. And their inclusion in the coronavirus vaccine trials has been a stated priority for the pharmaceutical companies involved, since African American communities, along with Latinos, have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic.

The ethics of pausing a vaccine trial in the midst of a pandemic: a conversation with Ruth Faden


The revelation that AstraZeneca paused its clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine has focused attention on the company and the clinical trial process. The hold occurred after a participant in the trial developed symptoms consistent with a rare but serious spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

Commentary: How to make telehealth more permanent after COVID-19


The coronavirus outbreak, or COVID-19, has fundamentally transformed our lives and communities, contributing to economic declines, disruptions in schooling, and distressed hospital systems. However, the pandemic has generated some silver linings, including the widespread adoption of telehealth that has helped to mitigate the risk of community spread by reducing unnecessary hospital visits and ensuring real-time access to medical providers for millions of Americans.


Newsom weighs aid for undocumented Californians weathering pandemic with no safety net


Out of work for months in the spring, Mariana, who cleans houses, and her husband Gerardo, who is a door-to-door salesman, paid their landlord just $300 of their $1,200 rent for a one-bedroom apartment they crowd into with their 2-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, in National City.

Citizenship delays may keep many immigrants from fall vote

Roll Call

When Juliana Ximenes Coutinho Dias submitted her naturalization application last December, the possibility of finally becoming a U.S. citizen and getting to vote in the country she has called home for the past six years electrified the Brazil native.

Trump administration seeks sweeping DNA collection of immigrants, U.S. sponsors


The Trump administration on Friday formally proposed a sweeping expansion of its collection of DNA and other biometric data of immigrants, to go beyond detained migrants in order to include U.S. citizen sponsors and others.


Land Use:

Calif Department of Fish and Wildlife closes 49 sites due to raging wildfires

Fresno Bee

The Calif Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Saturday that 49 of its properties will be closed to the public through Monday due to the high danger that wildfires across the state pose to visitors. The areas are within or near U.S. Forest Service lands. The federal agency closed all of its forests to public use on Wednesday in order to prevent more wildfires.


Groups turn to hotels to shelter fire evacuees amid virus

Fresno Bee

Fearing one disaster will feed another, relief groups are putting some people who fled their homes during West Coast wildfires into hotels to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, stringing up shower curtains to separate people in group shelters and delivering box lunches instead of setting up buffets.

See also:

●     Creek Fire firefighters, evacuees fill Fresno-area hotels. A turnaround from COVID-19 Fresno Bee

Rising mortgage defaults could point to home foreclosures ahead

Bakersfield Californian

An uptick in home mortgage defaults and trustee sales in Kern County since April may suggest foreclosures stemming from the COVID-19 economic slowdown could slow an otherwise strong local single-family housing market.

Democratic squabbling doomed Calif’s ‘Year of housing production.’ What will happen in 2021?


Despite entering 2020 with the governor and many legislators pushing for an increase in housing production, none of the bills put forth went into effect. The coronavirus pandemic has also put prospects for such bills in 2021 in doubt.


Newsom endorses ‘split-roll’ measure — but says he will reject income tax hike bills


Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced his support for the “split-roll” property tax measure on the November ballot, an endorsement long sought by labor unions backing the initiative that would raise billions of dollars for schools and other public services.

Commentary: Supreme Court makes local tax hikes easier


In a roundabout, passive way, the Calif Supreme Court last week handed a big victory to the advocates of higher taxes. Without comment, the justices declined to take up a state appellate court decision that would allow specialized local government taxes to be increased by a simple majority of voters, if they are placed on the ballot by initiative petitions rather than by the governments themselves.


Calif’s scaled-back high-speed rail plan faces doubts amid financial crunch

LA Times

It was just last year that Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would need to downsize Calif’s ambitious bullet train project, because the state could afford only a limited system from Merced to Bakersfield.


Sanitary District Fined for Unauthorized Bulk Water Sales

Calif Water News Daily

Garberville Sanitary District has agreed to pay $40,000 to the State Water Resources Control Board after violating a 2012 Cease and Desist Order by repeatedly selling unauthorized bulk water.


6 tips to have a safe Halloween without getting COVID-19

Modesto Bee

Experts offer this advice to have a safe Halloween without getting the coronavirus.

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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute was established to honor the legacy of one of Calif’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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