September 20, 2017




Westlands Water District says it won’t help pay for Delta tunnels

Fresno Bee

An influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers Tuesday voted against helping to pay for the Delta tunnels, denying Gov. Jerry Brown crucial financial support for the $17.1 billion project.

Villaraigosa to address Fresno PAC that typically supports GOP candidates

Los Angeles Times

Antonio Villaraigosa, one of the top Democrats running for governor, will address a group Wednesday that typically supports Republican candidates.

Kern hits top crop value in nation for the first time

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County is No. 1!  The San Joaquin Valley’s southernmost county has officially taken the top spot for the value of its agricultural products in 2016, making Kern the top agricultural producer — not only in the state, but in the nation.

See also:

·       Tulare County loses title of California’s top ag county  Fresno Bee

Tulare County slips from its perch as California’s top agricultural county

Fresno Bee

Lousy milk prices spoiled Tulare County’s chances of holding on to its title as the state’s No.1 agriculture county.

The end of rifles in Tulare County?

Visalia Times-Delta

California is one step away from outlawing guns in the rural parts of the state — a big deal for Tulare County.


Walters: We’ll see whether this cornucopia of legislation makes life better 


Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the state Assembly, calls the first half of the Legislature’s biennial session, which ended last week, “the most productive and progressive legislative session in memory.”

California’s top elections official talks 2018 voting


It may not seem like it, but the 2018 election cycle is right around the corner.

Op Ed: In California, open primaries took the ‘politics’ out of politics


Last month, the California legislature did something unheard of — by Washington, D.C., standards. They came together across party lines to amend and extend sweeping cap and trade emissions legislation. Business, agriculture, labor and environmentalists all had a seat at the table.

After cap-and-trade vote, Assemblyman Chad Mayes faces a second Republican challenger for reelection

Los Angeles Times

Former Palm Springs Police Chief Gary Jeandron on Tuesday became the second Republican to announce plans to challenge Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) in the 2018 election.

Yes, ‘dahlink’: Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, widower of Zsa Zsa Gabor, is running for California governor

Los Angeles Times

Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, widower of the whimsical celebrity and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, is back.


Faith in the Valley at office of Rep. Nunes

Fresno Bee

Faith leaders prayed, sang and chanted at Rep. Devin Nunes’ office in Visalia on Tuesday morning to voice concerns about federal policies regarding immigration and health care.

See also:

·       Religious leaders call on Congressman Devin Nunes to support DACA ABC30

·       Activist group targets Nunes’ Visalia office  Visalia Times-Delta

Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill: What you need to know


Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana have drafted the latest Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare. The bill would overhaul or eliminate major sections of the health care law, including its subsidized insurance coverage and Medicaid expansion. Instead, states would receive block grants, or a lump sum of money from the federal government, which they could use largely as they see fit.

See also:

·       The GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is the worst one yet for California  Center for Labor Research and Education

·       Republicans Try One Last Effort To Repeal Obamacare NPR

Continuing a fierce assault on ‘sanctuary’ policies, Sessions attacks California bill

LA Times

In another shot in the ongoing battle over so-called sanctuary city policies, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday attacked California’s new bill that affords some protections to undocumented immigrants across the state, calling it “unconscionable” and a threat to public safety.

See also:

Attorney General Sessions steps up anti-‘sanctuary’ rhetoric after setbacks Reuters


Essential California: A deadly earthquake rocks Mexico — and is a reminder for California

Los Angeles Times

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing homes and bridges across hundreds of miles, killing over 200 people and sending thousands fleeing into the streets in a country still reeling from a deadly temblor that struck less than two weeks ago. 

How Bernie Sanders is cultivating California for 2020

Sacramento Bee

Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, barnstormed the Golden State ahead of the June 2016 primary like no presidential candidate in recent memory. The front-runner in the party’s nascent 2020 field has returned regularly to campaign for a drug price initiative and to urge support for a universal health care bill similar to one he’s proposed in Washington. His next public event comes Friday in San Francisco at the invitation of the nurses union, among his most vocal supporters.

See also:

·       Bernie Sanders to visit SF on Friday for state nurses convention   San Francisco Chronicle

Urging women to make a difference

Stockton Record

It’s been 13 years since Delaine Eastin left public office — as superintendent of California public instruction — but her passion has not subsided.

Fitzgerald: Class, politics and an ex-mayor’s arrest

Stockton Record

The first thing I learned from transcripts of the secret grand jury hearing into former Mayor Anthony Silva was what an admirable operation the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton used to be.


After the Emmys, Sean Spicer tells critics to lighten up. But democracy isn’t a joke

Fresno Bee/Sacramento Bee

The cost of government dishonesty shouldn’t be a laughing matter. PBS’ Vietnam War documentary this week offers proof.

Entitled drivers are getting in the way of California’s climate change efforts

Los Angeles Times

For all the talk in California about leading the world in fighting global warming and resisting President Trump’s climate-denial agenda, the state faces one powerful obstacle that limits its environmental activism: Touch their cars and Californians will revolt.


Key California farm district rejects governor’s tunnels plan

89.3 KPCC

The board of the nation’s largest irrigation district on Tuesday rejected participation in Gov. Jerry Brown’s $16 billion plan to build two giant tunnels to re-engineer California’s north-south water delivery system, dealing a major blow to the project.

Tulare County loses title of California’s top ag county

Fresno Bee

Lousy milk prices spoiled Tulare County’s chances of holding on to its title as the state’s No.1 agriculture county.

See also:

·       Tulare County supervisors receive 2016 crop report, approve new budget ABC30.

·       Kern hits top crop value in nation for the first time  Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield City Council to consider all-out commercial pot ban

Bakersfield Californian

The City of Bakersfield is looking to continue its crackdown on cannabis in town. The Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday will consider amending its commercial cannabis ordinance to make it clear all business pot activity such as cultivation, manufacturing and distribution is illegal inside city limits.

San Diego legalizes marijuana cultivation and manufacturing, despite some concerns

Los Angeles Times

San Diego will have a fully legal and regulated marijuana industry, including pot farms, factories making edibles and retail storefronts selling the drug to both medical and recreational customers.

Bringing the farm (and truly local food) to the city

Sacramento Bee

On any Sunday morning, thousands of Sacramento shoppers converge under Highway 50 to pick and choose from a rainbow of produce. They weave their way past dozens of vendors, selling fruit and vegetables that were still on the vine, bush or tree less than 24 hours earlier.



Jerry Brown signs major gun bills, vetos others

The Sacramento Bee

Enacting the most significant elements of a sweeping package of gun control bills, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation expanding California’s decades-old ban on assault weapons and regulating ammunition sales.

See also:

·       Gun groups fight California bills they say will drive up cost of firearms  Sacramento Bee

California’s attorney general asks Senate for more tools to fight online sex trafficking

Los Angeles Times

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra pleaded with a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday to change a decades-old Internet freedom law in order to give states more power to go after online sex traffickers.

See also:

·       Bill that targets child sex trafficking puts California senators in tricky spot  San Francisco Chronicle


2017 proving to be a bad fire year in Sierra

Fresno Bee

No, it’s not your imagination. California’s long, hot summer is on a pace to produce a wildfire season with more fires scorching more acres this year than 2016 – more acres falling victim to flames, in fact, than all but three of the past 10 years.


Former Judge Accuses CPUC of Wrongful Termination, Racial Bias 


A former California Public Utilities Commission administrative judge announced Tuesday afternoon that she is filing a legal complaint with the State Personnel Board alleging wrongful termination of a whistleblower and systemic racial bias.

From oil refineries to solar plants, unions bend California climate change policies in their favor

Los Angeles Times

No contour of California’s vast landscape inspires such passionate devotion as its coastline, so state lawmakers recoiled when President Trump announced in April that he wanted to expand offshore drilling. The outrage was channeled into a proposal for preventing any new infrastructure along the water, pipelines or otherwise, for additional oil production.



Expulsions down, but teacher says student behaviors haven’t changed at first KHSD school climate forum

Bakersfield Californian

Expulsions in the Kern High School District have dropped dramatically since 2013, however there’s much work to be done fully implementing a systematic approach to improving overall school climate and correcting student behavior, district leaders said during a meeting Tuesday.

Later school start times voted down

Porterville Recorder

The California State Assembly voted down a bill last Thursday that would have mandated that California public schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. It represents the latest chapter in an ongoing debate among state educators and researchers, pitting local school district autonomy versus data that suggests students would be more productive starting school later.

Ref Rodriguez, facing criminal charges, resigns as L.A. school board president

Los Angeles Times

Less than three months into his role as president of the Los Angeles Board of Education, Ref Rodriguez announced Tuesday that he would step down from that post to spare the school district the distraction of a criminal case filed against him.

The ‘nation’s report card’ says it assesses critical thinking in history — but NAEP gets an F on that score

Washington Post

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is often referred to as “the nation’s report card” or the “gold standard” in student assessment because it is seen as the most consistent nationally representative measure of U.S. student achievement since the 1990s and because it is supposed to be able to assess what students “know and can do.”

Common core used widely despite ongoing debate

The Associated Press

Most of the states that first endorsed the Common Core academic standards are still using them in some form, despite continued debate over whether they are improving student performance in reading and math.

Possibly Elon Musk’s Biggest Idea Yet – Revolutionizing Education


An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read, write, or demonstrate basic arithmetic skills. UNESCO estimates that the world will need 1.6 million more teachers globally, a number set to double by 2030. Enter Elon Musk.

Higher Ed:

Colleges Hope New Name Attracts Students To Aid Program 

Capital Public Radio

The California Community College System hopes changing the name of a free tuition program will get more eligible students to take advantage of it.

Study Casts Doubts on Student Support for Free Speech

Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution has released survey results showing that many college students lack understanding of or support for the legal principles of the First Amendment. Among the findings

California college students continue to borrow less than those in 47 other states


Many graduates of California’s colleges may be anxious about paying off student loans but a new study shows that they actually finish school with some of the lowest average debt in the nation. Only two other states showed smaller student debt loads.

Cal State faculty take a stand against ‘hasty’ plans to loosen course requirements 


In a resolution by the university system’s Academic Senate, faculty members said they hadn’t been given enough time to weigh in on what could be “rushed and poorly designed implementation” and should be given at least another year to prepare.



California Millennials and Climate Change

Public Policy Institute of California

In our most recent PPIC Statewide Survey, we found a record-high share of adults (58%) saying that global warming is a very serious threat to the state’s economy and quality of life. This view is strongly related to Californians’ broad support for state climate change policies, and it is most commonly held among millennials—adults age 35 and younger. Millennials also stand out in their support for state actions to address climate change:

Op Ed: Five ways to reform CEQA California’s landmark environmental law without ruining the Earth or the middle class

Los Angeles Times

When then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed into law the California Environmental Quality Act in 1970, he and its authors could not have foreseen what the landmark legislation would become decades later: a law stretched so far beyond its original intent that it threatens to turn the Golden State’s economy to lead.

Noisy, but that’s not all: Leaf blowers flagged as polluters, possible health threat

Sacramento Bee

Five years after starting his first job with a landscaping crew in the suburbs of Seattle, Fredi Dubon decided he had enough and called it quits. The work days were long, sometimes 12 hours, but a bigger problem was having to inhale exhaust from his gas-powered leaf blower.

California condor takes flight in wild after near extinction 


In a remote, rugged valley overlooking the Pacific Ocean, researchers closely monitor an endangered icon: the California condor. The giant vultures flap their wings and circle the sky before perching on branches and observing their observers. Wildlife biologist Amy List uses a handheld antenna to track the birds, which wear radio transmitters and numbered tags.


Whistleblower complaint targets PUC, PG&E

San Jose Mercury News

The former chief administrative law judge at California’s powerful utility regulator said Tuesday she was fired for cooperating with investigators looking into collusion between regulators and executives from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Sacramento Airport Adds Electric Buses, Solar Farm in Clean Energy Quest

Government Technology

Sacramento International Airport took another step this month in its effort to transition its operations to clean energy use, winning a federal grant for a fleet of electric shuttle buses.



For information on the new Republican effort to repeal and replace the ACA, see “Top- Federal” above.

Federal Health Care Reform Generated Broad Coverage Gains Through 2016, but They Remain in Jeopardy

California Budget & Policy Center

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in 2010, has helped to substantially reduce uninsured rates in California. US Census Bureau figures released last week show the following…

California lags in testing toddlers for lead exposure


A third of young California children at risk for lead poisoning are not being tested despite state and federal laws that require it, according to a new study—a problem at least partly addressed by legislation now on the governor’s desk.

High-risk California kids not getting lead testing

San Diego Union-Tribune

Only about two-thirds of California children most at risk for lead poisoning are tested for it, but San Diego is doing somewhat better than most counties, testing 84 percent of high-risk kids, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group.


Trump pushed California to pass laws to protect undocumented immigrants

Sacramento Bee

Lawmakers at the state Capitol spent the last nine months taking shots at immigration policies out of Washington and pledging to protect California’s undocumented community with legislation of their own.

Trump’s wall is big, beautiful and dumb — here’s a better way to control the border

Los Angeles Times

If the goal is to stop illegal immigration, I’ve got some advice for President Trump from here in California, which used to be part of Mexico and now has turned itself into a kind of sanctuary state.

Becerra predicts trouble for politicians who resist DACA fix


California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is warning his former colleagues in Washington that they’ll pay a political price if they fight legislation to give legal protection to DACA recipients.


Land Use:

First section of restored Fulton Street reopens in downtown Fresno

Fresno Bee

The first segment of the former Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno opened for automobile traffic on Tuesday for the first time in more than 50 years, as the city took down barricades on the rebuilt Fulton Street between Tuolumne and Fresno streets.

See also:

·       Fulton Street now open to traffic in Downtown Fresno

Here’s a look at the Fancher Creek development from above

Fresno Bee

The Francher Creek Town Center is expected to have about 970,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

Kern County supervisors delay vote on I-5 music festival venue

Bakersfield Californian

Daniel Rudnick wants to turn 255 acres of fields along Interstate 5 near 7th Standard Road into a place that can host massive festivals with 65,000 guests.

Redondo Beach halts mixed-use developments for 10 months amid residents’ backlash

Los Angeles Times

The Redondo Beach City Council has placed a nearly one-year moratorium on mixed-use development, a move that comes amid a statewide housing shortage driving up rents and home prices.


California Today: Amid Housing Pain, Most Californians Have Weighed a Move

New York Times

The San Francisco Bay Area is often trotted out as the worst example of the state’s housing crisis — understandably. By national standards, rents and home prices there are astronomical. But the pain in California is widespread.

See also:

·       Bigger tax breaks for homeowners and renters could be on California’s 2018 ballot  Los Angeles Times

·       California’s housing crisis is ‘extremely serious,’ voters say  Sacramento Bee

·       How Not to Solve a Housing Crisis  Fox&Hounds

·       Southern California home prices jump again. Lots of residents worry about affordability Los Angeles Times.

·       10 points to keep in mind about housing affordability in California  Los Angeles Times

·       Housing affordability is a growing statewide crisis — and Bay Area prices are soaring again San Jose Mercury News



Tulare County supervisors receive 2016 crop report, approve new budget


The highly anticipated 2016 crop report was presented to Tulare County Supervisors Tuesday. The county fell behind Kern County to the number two spot in the state.

Cities urge CalPERS to help ease staff, pay cuts


The city manager of once-bankrupt Vallejo expects soaring police pension costs to reach 98 percent of pay in a decade. Lodi employees dropped from 490 to 390 in the last decade. And Oroville, after cutting a third of its staff, recently cut police pay 10 percent.


Judge rules state used misleading language in summary of ballot measure to repeal California gas tax

Los Angeles Times

A judge tentatively ruled Tuesday that the state-written title and summary of an initiative to repeal the recent gas-tax increases were misleading and should be rewritten by the state attorney general’s office.

Op Ed: California’s bullet train isn’t just fast transit, it’s a way to bridge the divide between rich and poor

Los Angeles Times

In the seesaw battle over California’s bullet train, it’s easy to overlook the reasons why the project should be built — and why there’s still a good chance that it will be.

Autonomous Vehicles and Federal Safety Standards: An Exemption to the Rule?


In this Perspective, we examine changes being considered to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) exemption process that are aimed at facilitating deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). We find that, although FMVSS pose an obstacle to the deployment of many AV designs, the proposed solution — an adaption of the existing exemption process — is not well suited to AVs because traditional methods of evaluating vehicle safety as a precondition to granting exemptions are largely inapplicable. Additionally, the proposed approach may increase the public’s exposure to risk by greatly raising the limit on the number of exempted vehicles using this new technology, and may add to the burdens on regulators by raising the number of exemption requests.


Westlands Water District says it won’t help pay for Delta tunnels

Fresno Bee
An influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers Tuesday voted against helping to pay for the Delta tunnels, denying Gov. Jerry Brown crucial financial support for the $17.1 billion project.

See also:

·       Key California farm district rejects governor’s tunnels plan 89.3 KPCC

·       Farmers deal huge blow to proposed California water tunnels  Merced Sun-Star

·       Big setback for Gov. Brown’s twin-tunnels project in the delta SF Gate

Kevin Gonzalves up for re-election after pooping on property

Fresno Bee

Kevin Gonzalves, a Merced Irrigation District board director up for re-election, was convicted of a misdemeanor nearly a decade ago for defecating on public property, according to documents obtained by the Sun-Star.

Coalition Reopens Fight for Improved Emergency Spillway at Oroville Dam 


A coalition of California environmental groups is calling on the California Department of Water Resources to build a complete, functional emergency spillway at Oroville Dam as part of a sweeping program to improve dam safety and flood control practices across the state and beyond.


New Book Celebrates History, Culture Of Highway 99, California’s “Main Street”

Valley Public Radio

The highway plays an important part in the mystique of the American West. From the so-called “Mother Road” of Route 66 that wound from Chicago to LA, to the picturesque beauty of the California coast along Highway 1, our highways are more than just transportation infrastructure, they are a part of our culture. That’s certainly the case here in the middle of the state, where a ribbon of concrete and asphalt has stitched together towns big and small for decades – Highway 99. A new book celebrates the history and culture of the road – it’s by author Steven Provost, and it’s called Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street. Provost joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the road’s origins and some of the stories that surround it, from the Grapes of Wrath to memories of old roadside attractions.

Putting on the dog for Marley’s Mutts’ Paws and Pearls fundraiser

Dog lovers tend to show up everywhere they go with a layer of their pet’s fur as an unintentional fashion accessory. So a good lint roller might be in order for those attending Paws and Pearls, the black-tie fundraiser benefitting Marley’s Mutts, on Sept. 30.

Carlos Eton grooving to a humanitarian beat

Recently, Eton’s been practicing what he preaches, with a humanitarian fervor spurred on by the recent spate of hurricanes that have devastated the southeast coast and the Caribbean. And by volunteering to be part of the Red Cross recovery effort, it marks a return to his roots both figuratively and, potentially, quite literally.

Fair? Pfft, it’s Fiesta time for Arvin

You have to be pretty bold to hold an event during the first weekend of the Kern County Fair, but the city of Arvin is not deterred.

Council approves waterfront City Hall – News – …

Stockton Record

The City Council has approved the purchase of two waterfront buildings that will be converted over the next several years into Stockton’s new City Hall.

Here’s a chance to banish puppy mill dogs from California

Los Angeles Times

Puppy mills are essentially the factory farms of dog breeding. But shutting them down is almost impossible. California Assembly Bill 485 does the next best thing. It cuts off the supply of animals from those puppy mills into one of their biggest markets in the country—California pet stores. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, which was authored by Assembly Members Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills), would prohibit pet stores in the state from selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders, allowing them to carry only animals from shelters and rescue groups. The bill sailed through the Assembly and the Senate and now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. There’s no question that he should sign it.