September 15, 2017






Fresno Mayor Lee Brand’s first nine months on the job

The Collegian

Nine months into his term, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand gave an update on some of his 2016 mayoral campaign promises, and weighed in on the national issue of immigration.



Housing crisis bills pass California Assembly

The Sacramento Bee

The major components of a legislative package aimed at addressing California’s housing affordability crisis cleared their biggest hurdle late Thursday night when the Assembly passed six bills in a tight vote.

See also:

·       State lawmakers advance major housing bills, including a $75 fee on refinancing LA Times

Skelton: A good compromise will result in California becoming a ‘sanctuary state’

LA Times

California is about to become a so-called sanctuary state. What does that mean?


California Assembly passes bill requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

San Jose Mercury News

In a jab at President Donald Trump, the state Assembly passed a bill Thursday requiring presidential candidates to publicly release their tax returns in order to get on California’s ballot.


Bill to increase cost of political lies passes both state houses

A bill aimed at Jeffery Belle, Contra Costa County school board trustee, and other politicians who lie on ballot statements — passed both houses and is headed to the governor’s desk.


CA gas tax repeal would prevent future increases

The Fresno Bee

Critics of California’s recently approved fuel tax increase and vehicle license fee hike filed a constitutional amendment Thursday for the 2018 ballot to overturn the taxes and take away lawmakers’ ability to pass future increases without a statewide vote.


Bill to create ‘safe injection sites’ for drug users fails in California Senate

LA Times

A controversial proposal to allow certain California counties and cities to establish sites where people could inject drugs without legal consequences stumbled in the state Senate on Tuesday night.

See also:

·       California Senate Republicans United in Opposition to Assembly Bill 186  Senate Republican Caucus

Jobs and health care on voters’ minds heading into California governor’s race 

Sacramento Bee

California voters say jobs and the economy, health care, crime and immigration policies are among their most pressing concerns heading into a year in which they will elect a replacement for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.


Gavin Newsom leads 2018 California governor’s race

Sacramento Bee

California voters say jobs and the economy, health care, crime and immigration policies are among their most pressing concerns heading into a year in which they will elect a replacement for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

See also:

·       Poll: Gavin Newsom still leads the field in California governor’s race  San Jose Mercury News

California gubernatorial candidates talk jobs and housing at ‘Game Changers’ business event

San Jose Mercury News

Three of the top Democratic candidates running for California governor in 2018 gathered with business leaders Thursday to discuss how they would boost the state’s economy.


Why on Earth do California lawmakers compress a year’s worth of bills into five days?

LA Times

Let’s salute the hardy reporters who spent the week camped out at the state Capitol for the annual end of the legislative session, serving as the only conduit between 39 million Californians and their legislators. According to The Times’ John Myers, on Monday there were 623 pieces of legislation on the calendar, all of which reached some resolution by the Sept. 15 deadline for bills to advance out of both chambers. Those five days, punctuated by rapid-fire hearings and all-night floor sessions, represent the culmination of a year’s worth of work.


California’s Official Poverty Rate Declined in 2016, but Federal Proposals Could Increase Economic Hardship

California Budget & Policy Center

New Census figures released today show that millions of people in California continue to struggle to get by on extremely low incomes in spite of our state’s recent economic gains.




California wants to pick the 2020 Democratic nominee


California is poised to make a big move up in the primary calendar — dramatically changing the dynamics of a 2020 race now in its earliest stages.


California passes bill requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

California’s state legislature passed a bill requiring all U.S. presidential candidates to release their tax returns before being placed on the state’s ballot.


Trump’s talks with Democrats may finally end the ‘Dreamers’ stalemate

Los Angeles Times

A nearly two-decade stalemate over the legal status of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants moved closer than ever to resolution Thursday as a president eager for tangible victories proved willing to get one by abandoning a position dear to many of his supporters. The tentative agreement, worked out over dinner Wednesday night between President Trump and the top two Democrats in Congress, could give legal status to nearly 800,000 so-called Dreamers, people who came to the country illegally as children. Los Angeles Times

See also:

·       Trump, Democrats confirm outline of DACA deal, despite denials  POLITICO

·       With anti-‘Dreamer’ base outraged, Trump keeps adding to the confusion San Francisco Chronicle

·       Trump & Schumer & Pelosi – Immigration DACA Deal Mistake  National Review


One good reason to keep Trump as president

The Sacramento Bee

From the day Donald Trump descended that escalator in Trump Tower and declared, between xenophobic slurs, that he was running for president, Democrats have been wondering: What will it take for his supporters to dump him?

Senator Kamala Harris, darling of progressives, says she’d support a Feinstein re-election bid ‘100 percent’ 


In a robust defense of Dianne Feinstein, her embattled Democratic colleague, Sen. Kamala Harris said Thursday that she would back the state’s senior U.S. senator “100 percent” should Feinstein decide to run again in 2018, calling her a tireless fighter for “California values.”


Congress wants this $2 trillion tax break. US companies don’t

The Fresno Bee

Congressional tax writers want to offer U.S. companies an “unprecedented” way to slash their tax bills by investing in new equipment. But firms that stand to benefit most are saying no thanks, just give every company a bigger rate cut.




New Madera county voting system set for public demonstration in Oakhurst, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sept. 27

Sierra Star

Madera County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez has announced a series of community workshops that will allow the public to try out new voting equipment.


Tuolumne, Calaveras won’t implement new election system in 2018

Tuolumne and Calaveras counties will be unable to implement a new way of handling elections in 2018 due to a lack of funding and other concerns, according to local elections officials.


Pet stores could sell only rescue animals under bill headed to Jerry Brown 

Los Angeles Times

Assembly Bill 485, by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, aims to crack down on “puppy mills” and other breeding facilities where animals are mass-produced for retail sale, often in poor conditions. More than 30 cities, including Sacramento, have already adopted local restrictions on selling commercially bred animals.

California lawmakers approve new rules for rolling out 5G cellular systems, but local governments remain opposed 

Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to new rules for how “small cell” high-speed cellular equipment will be installed in communities across California, even as local government officials warned the move will strip them of making choices tailored to their communities


5G Wireless Antennas, Reproductive Health Access, And A Jab At The President 

Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are continuing their push through hundreds of bills before the legislative session ends Friday.


Facebook, Google, ISPs fight California broadband privacy bill –

San Jose Mercury

AB 375 aims to enact in California what was undone in April when President Trump signed a repeal of privacy protections voted in place last year by the Federal Communications Commission. Those protections included requiring broadband providers to get permission before collecting or sharing customers’ information.


California lawmakers pass resolution to oppose anti-Semitism, other forms of discrimination 

Los Angeles Times

The resolution came in response to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the country, lawmakers said. Verbal discrimination, cemetery desecrations and targeted assaults are among the actions it opposes.




Angry about Equifax breach? You should be

Modesto Bee

Equifax exposed the personal information of 143 million people. “Someone has to be held accountable,” Rep. Maxine Waters says.


Legislators should approve water-parks bond

The Sacramento Bee

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, counts himself as a “no” vote on the proposed $4 billion parks, water and flood control bond embodied in Senate Bill 5 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León.


These legislators are voting against your interests

Sacramento Bee

Lawmakers should focus on what matters: legislation that could help solve California’s housing shortage, improve the environment and leave the state a little better for generations to come.


Privacy risk in self-driving cars? Senate has to fix that loophole in federal bill

San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Rep. Zoe Lofgren pointed out a loophole in the legislation dealing with privacy protections, a potential disaster for consumers.




Planners OK Stockton’s first medical cannabis cultivation site

Stockton Record

The Stockton Planning Commission approved a use permit for an indoor medical cannabis cultivation site on Navy Drive despite a “hostile” response from several existing business owners in the area.





California Justice Department would oversee all shared gang databases across the state under bill sent to governor 

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation that would give the state Justice Department control over all gang databases shared by law enforcement, repositories holding the personal information of thousands of people suspected of gang membership across the state.


Opinion – California should eliminate cash bail: Gavin Newsom

Today in America, people are in jail solely because they don’t have enough money. They haven’t been convicted of anything — they simply can’t afford to pay pre-trial bail.


California could soon bar the expansion of immigrant detention centers

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers have approved legislation introduced by Democrats to counter the potential expansion of immigrant detention facilities under the Trump administration.


Pot edibles that look like gummy bears should be illegal to sell in California, lawmakers say

Los Angeles Times

California companies would be prohibited from selling marijuana edibles made in the shape of a person, animal, insect or fruit under a measure given final legislative approval Thursday and sent to the governor for consideration.



Donations accepted for Detwiler Fire victims at Yosemite High football game Friday

Sierra Star
During the Yosemite versus Mariposa football game on Sept. 15, Badger fans will notice donation tables at the north and south entrances of Badger Stadium. The donation tables will be run by the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club with the help of the Yosemite High Interact Club. All donations will go to the Detwiler Relief Fund set up by Mariposa Rotary. Both the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary and Mariposa Rotary clubs ask to give what you can. Rotary assures that your contributions will go directly to fire victims with a thorough review process.





California’s Official Poverty Rate Declined in 2016, but Federal Proposals Could Increase Economic Hardship

California Budget & Policy Center

New Census figures released today show that millions of people in California continue to struggle to get by on extremely low incomes in spite of our state’s recent economic gains. More than 5.5 million Californians, including almost 1.8 million children, lived in poverty in 2016 based on the official poverty measure. In addition, poverty remained more widespread last year than it was in 2007 when the national recession began. Specifically, 14.3 percent of Californians had incomes below the official poverty line in 2016, down from a recent high of 17.0 percent in 2012, but still well above the state poverty rate in 2007 (12.4 percent). Also, roughly 1 in 5 California children lived in poverty last year (19.9 percent), down from a recent high of 23.8 percent in 2012, but still well above the child poverty rate in 2007 (17.3 percent).


Three charts showing you poverty in U.S. cities and metro areas

Brookings Institution

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its annual report on income and poverty in the United States. It provided a lot of good news at the national level: from 2015 to 2016, median household income rose, and the poverty rate fell, finally returning to their levels from before the Great Recession.



Eggman pay equity bill advances to governor

Stockton Record

A bill authored by Stockton Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman that aims to narrow the salary gap between men and women is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. Assembly Bill 168, which prohibits employers from seeking the salary histories of job applicants, passed Thursday by a vote of 55-14.


Your boss couldn’t fire you for using birth control under California bill 

Sacramento Bee

Assembly Bill 569, which the Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday in a 45-13 vote, would prohibit employers from punishing workers who use birth control, get an abortion or make other reproductive health decisions they disagree with.


Federal E-Verify Law Would Mean Major Changes for U.S. Employers

Only a handful of states require all employers to screen workers to make sure they are in the country legally, but that could change soon.





Fresno Unified responds to LGBT controversy

The Fresno Bee

Fresno Unified trustees continue to be pressed to take action against board president Brooke Ashjian after his controversial comments about the LGBT community, but that seems unlikely.


T-shirt spurs controversy at Clovis High

The Fresno Bee

A T-shirt that was supposed to build school spirit at Clovis High has morphed into a community downer.


Community forums taking place following KHSD discrimination lawsuit settlement

A coalition of community groups is hosting a meeting Friday informing the public of steps moving forward after the Kern High School District settled a major discrimination lawsuit in July.


CA bill lets children of deported parents stay in school

The Sacramento Bee

The children of deported adults could continue to go to school in California under a bill state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.


California replaced an old science test despite the Obama administration’s warnings. DeVos’ crew says it’s OK

LA Times

When the state of California asked the Obama administration for permission to drop an old science test in favor of a new one that the state was putting into place, the answer — more than once — was no.


‘Heartbreak’ for California Board of Education member: Focusing on compliance instead of equity

Los Angeles Times

The California State Board of Education had been focused for hours on how to meet requirements to help its lowest performing schools and districts.


Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it?

Brookings Institution

As students return to school this fall, many of them – perhaps especially those from historically disadvantaged student groups – will be starting the academic year with achievement levels lower than where they were at the beginning of summer break. This phenomenon – sometimes referred to as summer learning loss, summer setback, or summer slide – has been of interest to education researchers going back as far as 1906.1 We review what is known about summer loss and offer suggestions for districts and states looking to combat the problem.

Higher Ed:

Gov. Brown weighing support for free first year of community college for all California students 


A bill to waive first-year tuition at community college for all California residents attending full-time is awaiting the governor’s signature after winning support from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the state Legislature.





California Leads The Way In Growth Of Climate Change Lawsuits 

Capital Public Radio

Lawsuits will help drive how climate change policy evolves in the years to come. More of those lawsuits are originating in California than any other state, according to a new study out of George Washington University.


Environmentalist groups sue to block Trump’s border wall proposal 


Three advocacy groups sued the federal government Thursday to block construction of a border wall with Mexico, alleging that the Trump administration overstepped its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.



SoCal Edison intern reduces Visalia power outages

The Fresno Bee

Twenty-year-old Matthew Stilwell was asked to help save a city from power outages shortly after starting a summer internship at Southern California Edison.


California clean energy proposals face demise as opposition fails to yield

LA Times

California has grown accustomed to setting benchmark after benchmark on environmental policies, but ambitious efforts to spread renewable energy around the state and the region could grind to a halt this week.

See also:

·       Power grid expansion plan withdrawn amid political backlash The San Diego Union-Tribune

Assemblyman Chris Holden refuses to advance clean energy legislation despite push from environmentalists –

LA Times

Environmentalists are stepping up the pressure on Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), urging him to advance Senate Bill 100 on clean energy. The legislation, which would put the state on a path to phasing out fossil fuels for generating electricity by 2045, has been held in Holden’s committee.



Targeting the closure of nonprofit hospitals 

Capitol Weekly

East Bay lawmakers are pushing a bill to stop Sutter Health from shuttering its Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley — a measure with major statewide implications.


A better approach to regulating provider network adequacy

Brookings Institution

Health care reforms, including those put in place by the Affordable Care Act, are making insurers more competitive. However, in their effort to lower costs, health insurers more often are selling health plans that cover fewer hospitals, and many fewer physicians.


CBO: ObamaCare uncertainty will lead to 15 percent hike in premiums


Premiums for ObamaCare’s benchmark silver plans will increase by an average of 15 percent in 2018, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a new report released Thursday.


Senator asks for CBO score of Sanders’s single-payer bill


Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is asking congressional scorekeepers to analyze the cost of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for all” bill, which could fuel Republican attacks that a single-payer health-care system would bankrupt the country.

See also:

·       Trump calls Sanders’ single-payer plan ‘a curse on the U.S.’  POLITICO

·       Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan is only a start. But it’s the right start

Treatment for Opioid or Alcohol Abuse Can Be Successful in Primary Care Settings


Combining substance abuse treatment with regular medical care can successfully treat people with opioid or alcohol addiction, providing an option that might expand treatment and lower the cost of caring for people caught up in the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to a new RAND Corporation study.


Private Sector Investment in Global Health R&D

Brookings Institution

Recent decades have seen considerable progress in fighting illnesses around the world. More than 18.2 million people are now receiving life-saving AIDS treatment. The malaria death rate among children under age five is down 69 percent since 2000. Efforts to diagnose and treat tuberculosis, a disease that has plagued humanity for centuries, have saved millions of lives.




CA bill lets children of deported parents stay in school

The Sacramento Bee

The children of deported adults could continue to go to school in California under a bill state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.


 ‘Sanctuary state’ bill likely to pass California Legislature

The Sacramento Bee

Today is the last day of the legislative session. By the end of the day, the Legislature will have sent hundreds of bills to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, including a measure from Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León that would make California a “sanctuary state,” restricting the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agent


Bill sent to governor expands worksite protections against ICE raids but scales back demands on California employers

LA Times

After negotiations to help quell opposition from dozens of business associations and agricultural groups, the state Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday that would expand workplace protections for employees without legal residency in the U.S.

See also:

·       On Gov. Brown’s desk: A bill to give employers cover in ICE raids  KPCC


California could soon bar the expansion of immigrant detention centers

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers have approved legislation introduced by Democrats to counter the potential expansion of immigrant detention facilities under the Trump administration.

Trump, Democrats confirm outline of DACA deal, despite denials


President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night to provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants known as Dreamers — but after a conservative backlash, the president and his aides sent conflicting signals about how firm the agreement was.

See also:

·       ‘Amnesty Don’? Trump tests the faith of supporters with talk of immigration deal Washington Post

·       Two-thirds of Trump supporters want Dreamers to stay in U.S. Brookings Institution

·       Rep. Dave Brat claims DACA leads to chain migration of up to 4 million. That’s False  PolitiFact



Land Use:


Rural California towns are said to be dying. So why is little Gonzales doing so well?

Sacramento Bee

California’s small, rural towns are supposedly doomed, as state policy favors our coastal mega-regions. So how do you explain Gonzales?



Housing crisis bills pass California Assembly

The Sacramento Bee

The major components of a legislative package aimed at addressing California’s housing affordability crisis cleared their biggest hurdle late Thursday night when the Assembly passed six bills in a tight vote.

See also:

·       State lawmakers advance major housing bills, including a $75 fee on refinancing  LA Times

·       California affordable housing bills clear Assembly  The Union Democrat

Builders, construction workers settle fight over California wage theft bill 

Sacramento Bee

A contentious proposal that would put California builders on the hook for wage theft violations by their subcontractors has advanced to Gov. Jerry Brown after a last-minute agreement between the author and opponents.




CalPERS election is crucial, but most Californians can’t vote

The Sacramento Bee

Looked at one way, the current CalPERS board election is a private contest, of interest only to government employees and retirees.




Roll back new gas tax hike? A second ballot measure is in the works 

Sacramento Bee

A proposal for a second ballot measure to repeal a new 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax was filed with the state Thursday, with backers boasting they have 200,000 Californians pledged to sign the petition to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 election.

See also:

·       Political Road Map: Here’s how that gas tax increase could give California Republicans a lifeline in 2018  LA Times.

·       Turning up the Pressure on a Gas Tax Repeal  Fox and Hounds Daily

Gas prices are coming down, but it’s gonna take a while

The average price of a gallon of regular fell about a penny to $2.65 a gallon according to AAA’s Thursday reading, down two cents from a week ago when prices were at their 2017 high.


CA learner’s permit for young adult drivers required by bill

The Fresno Bee

For decades, eager teenagers have endured six months of patience and practice with a learner’s permit before they could take their driving tests, and then another year of restrictions on their licenses once they passed.  Now, with the number of teen drivers nationally dropping to an all-time low, Assemblyman Jim Frazier wants similar requirements extended to young adults, who are actually involved in more vehicle crashes. His 20-year-old daughter was killed in a traffic collision.


Modesto spends $2.2 million more for work than allowed

The Modesto Bee

Officials are pointing to human error by employees no longer with the city for Modesto paying for $9 million worth of street repairs while the City Council had authorized $6.8 million worth of work.

Male, female or nonbinary? California clears way for driver’s licenses to have gender-neutral option 

Sacramento Bee

A measure allowing Californians to select a third, nonbinary gender option on their driver’s licenses and birth certificates is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.


Carpool lane access for electric cars extended in CA bill

The Sacramento Bee

How can California convince more drivers to go electric? Perhaps by letting them take the carpool lane.


Amtrak reducing service from Bakersfield, shifting a train north in search of business travelers

Bakersfield Californian

Amtrak service from Bakersfield is changing. In January, Bakersfield will lose one of its seven train connections as the agency that oversees the system implements changes designed to reverse a slide in ridership.

Attention too-cool-for-school drivers: Your tinted car windows are illegal

Los Angeles Times

In California, it’s illegal to tint either windshield (except for the strip at the very top), and the windows next to the driver and front-seat passenger. Back-seat windows can have a tint. Tints ensure privacy and help keep interiors safe from sun damage.

Confusing ‘don’t walk’ crossing law may soon be fixed 

San Francisco Chronicle

Pedestrians may soon be able to enter crosswalks legally after the countdown signal has started, thanks to new state legislation awaiting the governor’s signature.




Feds sneak money to tunnels

Stockton Record

There’s the California that oughta be and the California that is. In the California that oughta be, the twin tunnels project possibly could improve the Delta.


New billboards bring Brandau’s pro-dam, anti-fish message to north Valley

The Fresno Bee

Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau is at it again, bringing a populist pro-water message to Valley roadsides with a handful of new billboards paid for by the Taxpayers Association of Central California.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Whittier Narrows Dam is unsafe and could trigger catastrophic flooding

LA Times

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the 60-year-old Whittier Narrows Dam is structurally unsafe and poses a potentially catastrophic risk to the working-class communities along the San Gabriel River floodplain.



Fresno County to host grand reopening of the Lost Lake Campgrounds

In addition to its picturesque views of the San Joaquin River and inviting trails, Fresno County is bringing you another reason to enjoy Lost Lake Park.


Downtown never tasted so good

You may often hear about downtown Bakersfield’s thriving dining scene but if work or fun doesn’t often bring you there, it just feels like talk. The Bakersfield Downtown Business Association is making it easier to sample some of the area’s best Thursday at its Taste of Downtown.


Valley’s cultural coalition

Great things happening in the Valley!