September 22, 2017



Local/Regional Politics:

Fresno council reverses course on pot cultivation

Fresno Bee

The Fresno City Council voted down an attempt Thursday that would have cemented a restriction on the number of marijuana plants allowed per Fresno home – a reversal of its decision after a contentious June meeting. However, the council maintained course in its rejection of recreational dispensaries.

New ordinance will close many Fresno can, bottle recyclers

Fresno Bee

Fresno City Council members say they’ve received complaints for years from residents and businesses about recycling centers operating from shipping containers in shopping center parking lots, providing a few cents in cash for each can or bottle that people bring in for redemption.

Fresno Mayor going to Spain for High Speed Rail

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand is going on a trip overseas to learn more about high speed rail. 

Fresno City Hall workshop outlines the challenges faced by the Central California SPCA


The Central California SPCA took in over 27,000 animals last year. It is not a happy story for the strays–of the 10,000 dogs impounded just 1,123 were reclaimed. At City Hall Executive Director Linda Van Kirk talked of the need for educational outreach as well as an aggressive spay and neuter campaign.

State Politics:

Villaraigosa talks jobs, high-speed rail in Fresno campaign visit

Fresno Bee

Antonio Villaraigosa, former state Assembly speaker and Los Angeles mayor, is working Fresno and the Valley hard now as a Democratic candidate for governor in next year’s elections.

Are you 16? You can pre-register to vote now – sweet!

Fresno Bee

High School Voter Education Weeks are happening now and are officially designated as Sept.18-29. This time frame includes a special day, designated as “National Voter Registration Day” on Sept. 26, During these two special weeks the California Secretary of State is encouraging all eligible 16- and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote.

Challenges mount as rollout of new California voting overhaul nears

89.3 KPCC

Around the state, the machines that handle ballots have grown old as technology has advanced. There are also increasing concerns about security threats and how to get more voters to participate in elections. And the pending rollout of a new law could do away with most neighborhood polling locations and nudge more voters to vote by mail.

With his political clock ticking, state Senate leader Kevin de León keeps mum about what he’ll do next

Los Angeles Times

He’s one of California’s most powerful politicians without an obvious — or easy-to-win — next election. And Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the California Senate, still has not said what may be ahead for him. 

California Senate leader preparing for legal fight over ‘sanctuary state’ legislation

LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t yet signed legislation making California a so-called sanctuary state, but state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is preparing to defend it in court.

Two top candidates for California governor have been touting their healthcare wins. Here’s what they really did

Los Angeles Times

Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa are depicting themselves as Democratic healthcare visionaries as they campaign to become California’s next governor.

Mayors from 5 California cities tell state to keep hands off wireless antennas 

San Francisco Chronicle

The mayors of five California cities, including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, urged Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to veto a bill that would shift much of the power to regulate the placement of wireless communication devices from local municipalities to the state.

Walters: Despite Legislature’s liberal bent, business groups did well


From all appearances, the California Legislature’s 2017 session was one of the most liberal – or progressive, as liberals prefer to say – in the state’s history.

Vote Trading Or Compromise? How Water Bill Was Resurrected In Legislature’s Final Hours

It was 11:59pm last Friday, and Assembly Bill 313 sat silently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it had slumbered untouched for weeks. Less than three hours later, it had passed both chambers of the Legislature and was heading to the governor’s desk.

California’s Sexual Assault Law Will Hurt Black Kids

New York Times

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that will codify the Obama-era sexual assault guidelines. Those rules told colleges to toughen up on sexual assault allegations or risk losing federal dollars.

Federal Politics: 

Health care protests target California Republicans

Sacramento Bee

Mass protests this week are targeting California’s 14 House Republicans, with activists seeking to pressure them to oppose the latest Republican Obamacare repeal proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

See also:

·       Ads target California’s GOP House members on new healthcare bill but it’s not clear who’s paying for them  Los Angeles Times

·       California would lose $78 billion — more than any other state — under GOP health bill San Francisco Chronicle

·       Cassidy-Graham bill would cut funding to 34 states, new report shows Washington Post

·       Medicaid-expansion states to lose $180 billion under Cassidy-Graham plan, new report says Washington Post

·       Jimmy Kimmel blasts senator Bill Cassidy on health care Sacramento Bee

·       Fact-checking Jimmy Kimmel’s reaction to the Graham-Cassidy bill PolitiFact

·       Republicans Have a Bill to Repeal Obamacare. They Don’t Know Exactly What It Will Do Time

·       Congress, why yank health coverage from 6.7 million Californians?  Sacramento Bee

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.

See also:

·       Can California Force Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns? | The California Report  KQED News

Bernie Sanders back in California 

Politifact CA

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, barnstormed from Chico to Modesto to San Bernardino during California’s Democratic primary last year, winning nearly 2.4 million votes in the process — a tally far closer to eventual Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton than many expected. On Friday, he will be back.  

California Sues To Stop Trump’s Border Wall

California has filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s border wall. The suit filed Wednesday argues that plans to begin construction in San Diego and Imperial counties could harm the state’s sensitive environmental resources. 


California Today: Suing the Trump Administration, Again and Again and Again

New York Times

If there’s a Democratic revolt against the Trump administration, California’s attorney general is arguably one of its more important architects.

Pelosi, Feinstein facing challengers amid protests from their left

San Francisco Chronicle

It’s not a good time to be Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Feinstein. After a combined six-plus decades in Washington, they have become “the Man,” at least to a growing number of progressives who see them as embodiments of a Democratic Party taken over by “corporatists.”

Here are the major questions before the Supreme Court this fall

Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court opens its new term Oct. 2 and will quickly take up major disputes involving President Trump, immigration policy, religious liberty, gay rights and partisan gerrymandering.

Can Washington protect America’s electoral process from the next cyberattack?

Brookings Institution

When one of us, after a four-decade career in the Marine Corps including 19 months in command in Afghanistan, had the chance to address the National Association of Counties earlier this year, this was the key message


50 new Americans get citizenship at Yosemite ceremony

Sierra Star

Yosemite National Park along with U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted a special Naturalization Ceremony yesterday at Glacier Point.

A Special Citizenship And Naturalization Ceremony Is Held At The Beale Library

Bakersfield Californian

One hundred and thirty one people became U.S. citizens during a Special Citizenship And Naturalization Ceremony held at the Beale Library Thursday.

‘My voice can actually be heard now’: New citizens sworn in at Bakersfield ceremony

Bakersfield Californian

Dominican Republic native Michelle Clark never expected to ever become a U.S. citizen. That all changed when she met Michael Clark of Bakersfield online and fell in love. 


Finally, a focus on saving the great forests of the Sierra. Is it too late?

Fresno Bee / Sacramento Bee

In the final days of the legislative session, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders set aside $225 million in cap-and-trade revenue for forests. It would be a start, and none too soon.

Our View / Hits & Misses: Salas’ pot-laced candy bill is timely

The Bakersfield Californian

Rudy Salas’ bill would outlaw THC-laced candy in the shape of animals and other figures, like these gummy bears confiscated last August in Florida.

Is California polarizing America?

Sacramento Bee

America is terribly polarized. And it’s on account of California. The trouble is not only that California itself is so politically polarized. Or that it contributes to the many causes of polarization: partisan media, technological change, income inequality.

GOP health bill writers to California: Drop dead

The Mercury News

The latest Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is the most mean-spirited yet.

Trump’s cabinet members are flying private jets like pampered Hollywood celebs — on your dime

Los Angeles Times

Nothing says “elite” quite like having a private jet ferry you to work. Unless it’s having a government plane shuttle you to a prime viewing spot for the solar eclipse. Or summoning an Air Force jet to fly you and your new wife to Europe for your honeymoon. Evidently, the utter contempt that candidate… 

Meeting Lake Oroville spillway rebuild deadline only a first step

San Jose Mercury News

Meeting Lake Oroville spillway rebuild deadline on a first step. 

Giving season is here

Stockton Record

And so the campaign has begun. The fundraising campaign of the United Way of San Joaquin County. Many organizations ask us to open our hearts and our wallets to help support their mission. And many people give to the organizations that are closest to their heart, whether it be cancer…


Storm soaks Fresno County raisins — again

Fresno Bee

Raisin farmers woke to an unwelcome surprise Thursday morning – more rain. This is the second time in two weeks that Fresno County’s valuable raisin crop has been dumped on, further squeezing the size of this year’s crop and possibly pushing prices higher.

We like eating almonds, and the jobs they create here. Dust at harvest? Not so much

Modesto Bee

Makers of almond harvesting machines are tinkering yet again in an effort to reduce dust at harvest time.

California dairies donate food relief to hurricane victims

Central Valley Business Journal

Dairies in California have donated 70,000 pounds of dairy foods to victims in the hurricane-ravaged southeast portion of the U.S.

Wine Institute Releases Results of New 2017 California Wine Tourism Survey

Sierra Sun Times

Results of a new online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults who recently visited California wine country were released on Thursday, offering insights to wineries and local wine associations in understanding and enhancing the experience of visitors to wineries and regions. Commissioned by Wine Institute with support from a USDA grant and conducted by Destination Analysts of San Francisco, the comprehensive survey offers a profile of the typical California wine country visitor statewide and by region and examines their awareness, interests and behaviors. Fielded in late 2016, the survey gathered responses from an equal number of visitors from out of state and within the state in recognition of the importance of in-state visitors to wine regions (see Methodology below). A California wine tourist was defined as someone who had visited a California wine region for leisure within the past three years to capture both high-involvement and casual wine tourists.




Public-safety tax’s goals remain elusive

Stockton Record

More than three years after a voter-approved sales tax increase aimed largely at improving public safety went into effect, city officials acknowledged Wednesday that getting a firm handle on Stockton’s violent crime remains an elusive goal on several fronts.

Bill Could Remove Most Concealed Guns From Kern/Kingsburg School Campuses

Valley Public Radio

For about the past year, two San Joaquin valley school districts have allowed some parents and staff members to carry a concealed firearm on campus if they have a concealed carry weapons permit and seek the permission of the district superintendent.

Decades later, electronic monitoring of offenders is still prone to failure.

Brookings Institution

Wi-Fi networks occasionally go down, and video calls can freeze mid-meeting, but when tech glitches happen in the criminal justice system, public safety and the lives of those incarcerated hang in the balance. 

Disaster recovery’s essential tool: Data.

Brookings Institution

As Hurricane Irma slams into Florida and Texans begin to recover after Hurricane Harvey, the question looms: How do major urban centers and small communities rebuild after a catastrophic natural disaster?


Disaster recovery’s essential tool: Data

Brookings Institution

In the aftermath of catastrophes like Harvey and Irma, reliable information can guide a democratic and inclusive rebuilding effort.

Public Safety:

Is the U.S. Overdue for a Catastrophic Earthquake? These Cities Are Most at Risk


The likelihood that the U.S. will see a catastrophic earthquake within the next 30 years is very high — and it’s not just the West Coast that’s at risk, experts say. Seismologists have long warned that the U.S. is “overdue” for an earthquake, because a catastrophic one has not occurred in the U.S. since about 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake killed at least 63 people in California, said Robert Yeats, a geology professor at Oregon State University 

We know where the next big earthquakes will happen — but not when


Two massive earthquakes have struck Mexico this month. The first, the strongest in a century at magnitude 8.2, occurred off of the Southern Mexican coast near Chiapas state on September 7, killing 98.



California is at full employment. That’s slowing down the state’s economy.

Orange County Register

California has been one of the fastest growing states in the nation for most of the post-recession era, but its momentum has slowed in recent months due to the high cost of housing and a lack of available homes, as well as a workforce that’s effectively at full employment.

How San Diego’s Blue Economy could help elevate state’s jobs and economy


San Diego’s port is incubating businesses in Blue Tech industries.



Kings jobless rate declines

Hanford Sentinel

The unemployment rate in the Kings County was 8.5 percent in August, down from a revised 8.8 percent in July and below the year-ago estimate of 8.8 percent. This compares with an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent for California and 4.5 percent for the nation during the same period.



California bill will ban guns on campuses, period

Visalia Times-Delta

Prior to January 2016, anyone with a valid California concealed weapons permit had the right to walk onto a school, college, or university campus with a handgun. In most cases, no one knew.

How California puts high school athletes at great risk

San Francisco Chronicle

As the sun sets and the Friday night lights go on at football fields across California this week, thousands of high school players will prepare to clash. 

Apps help schools and teachers reach students where they are – on their phones

California Economic Summit

Kahoot is a free game-based learning platform for teachers, where teachers can create interactive quizzes based on their lesson plans. These quizzes can be used in the classroom by allowing students to answer questions in real-time through their mobile phones.

Education foes fight to a draw in Sacramento


The sun was already sinking below the horizon on the final night of the lawmaking year as nearly two dozen lobbyists stalked the Capitol’s brightly lit hallways, making sure lawmakers didn’t approve a new math and science school for disadvantaged students.

Expanded rating system helps California parents understand how schools are doing


California is the first state in the nation to get enhanced school ratings from GreatSchools, an Oakland-based nonprofit. The improved ratings now include course access, student progress and equity — which are intended to help parents choose schools, advocate to improve them and support their children’s education.

Higher Ed:

Cal in tough spot over Free Speech Week 

San Francisco Chronicle

A four-day event featuring far-right speakers planned for UC Berkeley next week is creating an environment unlike “any university has ever faced,” and the campus is mobilizing hundreds of police officers to head off potential trouble, Chancellor Carol Christ told The Chronicle on Thursday.

Silicon Valley and its colleges, universities ‘mismatched’ and out of sync


Last month, a legislative committee launched the first of a series of year-long hearings into possibly updating the state Master Plan that has guided higher education policy in California for the last 70 years.

The California State University is vital to state’s socioeconomic success

California Economic Summit

If California is going to adopt public policies that can lift more people into the middle class, education will be part of the prescription. California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White leads a system of 23 campuses and a global community of 479,000 students, 50,000 faculty and staff and more than 3.3 million alumni.

California’s Community Colleges embody an answer to state’s economic insecurity

California Economic Summit

The issue of economic insecurity is a huge impediment for millions of Californians who want to achieve the California Dream. Eighteen million Californians live in or near poverty—and something must be done to reduce that number and expand our state’s middle class. The California Economic Summit has launched a public discussion on the issue—called Elevate CA which is recruiting Californians who are similarly concerned. For California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, this is an issue near and dear. As a product of, and now leader of, the community colleges—he thinks they are part of the solution.



Fresno City Council is considering an ordinance that would put heavy restrictions on recycling centers

The recycling center near Chestnut and Olive attracts full-time recyclers like Allen Humphrey. “If I go out and hit it every day like I used to I make an easy eight hundred to a thousand dollars a month, easy- -cans and plastic- – 12 hours, 15 hours a day,” said Humphrey.

On last day of summer, California is hit by unusual snow and hail storms

Los Angeles Times

Snow fell in Sierra Nevada on the last day of summer, giving the towering mountain range shared by California and Nevada a wintry look in September and making travel hazardous.



For stories on Republican attempts to

​”​repeal and replace​”​ the ACA, See: “Top Stories – Federal Politics,” above

The push for single-payer health care just went national. What does that mean for the California effort?

Los Angeles Times

When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Beverly Hills last May, he made a full-throated appeal for California to “lead the country” and pass a pending state proposal to establish single-payer health care.

See also:

·       Essential California: California’s dilemma on single-payer healthcare Los Angeles Times

FDA approves medical scope with disposable cap to fight superbug infections

Los Angeles Times

Seeking to prevent superbug outbreaks, federal health officials said they have approved the first gastrointestinal medical scope with a disposable cap for use in the U.S.

San Francisco moving toward opening nation’s 1st safe injection clinic

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco political leaders have been steadily coming around to the idea of opening safe injection centers where addicts could shoot drugs in a controlled situation instead of outside on the sidewalk. And now, it seems, they won’t let state or federal law get in their way.

Concordia University Irvine expands nursing program as demand grows

Orange County Register

As demand for registered nurses grows in California and across the United States, at least one university in Orange County is expanding its nursing program.

Kaweah Delta to have meet and greet with new CEO

The Business Journal

Kaweah Delta Health Care District in Visalia is inviting the community to meet and greet with its new CEO, Gary Herbst, on Sep. 28. The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. inside the Acequia Wing Lobby of Kaweah Delta Medical Center, 305 W. Acequia Ave. Parking is available in the parking structure across from the from the medical center on Acequia Avenue.

California Needs Congress to Renew Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program

California Budget & Policy Center

In recent years, Californians have enjoyed expanded access to health care coverage, including sizeable gains among our state’s young people. From 2013 to 2016 alone, the share of California children without health coverage dropped sharply, declining by more than 60 percent. An important factor in this progress is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which during the past two decades has helped millions of California families with low and moderate incomes to afford health care coverage for their children — coverage that would otherwise be out of reach.

Are Medicaid’s Payment Rates So Low They’re Discriminatory?

Pew Charitable Trusts | Stateline

A suit in California says the state’s Medicaid program pays doctors so poorly, the mostly Hispanic patients that use the program aren’t getting timely access to quality medical care. Lawyers working on the case believe it is the first to sue Medicaid using a state anti-discrimination statute 

Diabetes-related amputations up significantly in California — and San Diego

Clinicians are amputating more toes, legs, ankles and feet of patients with diabetes in California — and San Diego County in particular — in a “shocking” trend that has mystified diabetes experts here and across the country.


After months of challenges and controversy, Trump’s travel ban expires Sunday 

Los Angeles Times

Days before the expiration of President Trump’s much-contested travel ban, the White House is reviewing a security report that aides say could serve as the basis of a new, and perhaps broader, version.

Opinion: Sanctuary state bill is sheer lunacy

Sacramento Bee

The Resistance wants a showdown with Donald Trump, and looks like it will get its wish soon. Our Democrats would make California a “sanctuary state,” setting up a confrontation with the federal government over fundamental questions of who gets to enter the country, who gets to stay and how the rules will be enforced.

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

LA 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. 

Techies fleeing to Canada in the age of Trump: report

San Jose Mercury News

“Numerous startups in the tech hub of Toronto say they have had steady, double-digit increases in job applications from the United States since last year’s presidential election,” online news site Axios reported Sept. 20.

Off to Mexico? Prepare to wait at busiest US border crossing 


The busiest border crossing in the United States will close this weekend to the more than 40,000 cars that pass through it daily to Mexico. The closure between San Diego and Tijuana for work on a $741 million expansion project presents a monumental headache for border businesses, workers, tourists and Christopher Enjambre. His band, Minor Gems, plays gigs in Tijuana.  


California’s housing crisis in two charts

California Economic Summit

Much has been written, said, and tweeted about California’s housing crisis. And if you’re lucky, you got to hear CA Fwd’s president and CEO, Jim Mayer, speaking with insight into the crisis in a “big picture” presentation at the San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit on Thursday.

See also:

·       Audio: Some Angelenos are fleeing high-cost LA. Where are they going?  89.3 KPCC

·       Southern California homeowners have seen their equity rise $210000 Orange County Register


Rail board members question bullet train budget overruns

89.3 KPCC

The board overseeing California’s bullet train project approved roughly $50 million in contract amendments on Tuesday to deal with unanticipated construction and environmental review costs.


Construction for high-speed rail project in Tulare County delayed

Visalia Times-Delta

Construction on California’s $64 billion high-speed rail line in Tulare County will be delayed a couple of weeks, officials said this week. The move will allow the agency to concentrate on construction at a Fresno County location, said Toni Tinoco, a spokesperson for the High Speed Rail authority.

Rail board members question bullet train budget overruns

89.3 KPCC

The board overseeing California’s bullet train project approved roughly $50 million in contract amendments on Tuesday to deal with unanticipated construction and environmental review costs.

Gas tax opponents say California is trying to undermine them

Sacramento Bee

Opponents of a gas tax increase passed this spring to pay for road repairs in California are on the verge of their first victory in a campaign to repeal the measure.

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.

California Regulators Require Auto Insurers to Adjust Rates


Pernell Cox insured his Mercedes with Safeco, which charges more in his minority neighborhood than in a predominantly white suburb. Regulators are investigating rate increases proposed by Safeco’s parent company, Liberty Mutual, to correct the disparity.


Delta tunnels project imperiled after Westlands rejection

Sacramento Bee

Shellshocked by an influential farm irrigation district’s refusal to help pay for the Delta tunnels, advocates of the $17.1 billion project were scrambling Wednesday to salvage it or conjure up a Plan B. Three possible options were floated by California water policymakers for reviving the proposal. All of them face substantial hurdles of their own.

Can the tunnels go forward? Here’s a look at the current state – and the immediate future – of the project dubbed California WaterFix by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. 

Poseidon’s environmental plan doesn’t halt criticism of proposed desalination plant

Los Angeles Times

Poseidon Water announced this week that its proposed ocean desalination plant in Huntington Beach would employ an environmental protection and energy efficiency plan. But that didn’t halt criticism of the controversial facility.

Dams in California

Public Policy Institute of California

Dams play a crucial role in California’s water management. California relies heavily on nearly 1,500 reservoirs for managing water supply.

See also:

·       Dam contract: Construction on Isabella Lake Dam to start this year Bakersfield Californian

Storing Water for Dry Days

Public Policy Institute of California

Where would California be without the ability to store water? We talked to Jay Lund―an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis—about the often contentious and always complex topic of water storage.


Fee increase proposed for Sequoia-Kings Canyon annual pass

The Business Journal

The public’s input is being sought on a proposal to increase by $10 the costs of annual entry passes to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. The current price for those passes is $50, and if approved, the new $60 price would take effect at the start of 2018. 

Valley Cultural Calendar

Valley Cultural Coalition

Great things are happening in the Valley. Here’s a list of VCC member offerings to keep you busy and entertained! 

Big Fresno Fair: Discounts, special deal days

Fresno Bee

A day at the Big Fresno Fair can easily cost a family of four $100 or more. You’re shelling out cash for parking, admission, rides and food. Then there’s the must-have mop, the super-sharp knives and the absorbent chamois towel. What else did I forget? Oh, the balloons (or the light-up sword) conveniently located near the exit so my kids can get one last gift before leaving.

Free dental clinic to be held at the fairgrounds | Community Briefs

Bakersfield Californian

The California Dental Association Foundation and California Dental Association will host a CDA Cares dental clinic to provide oral health care and education for free to about 2,000 patients at the Kern County Fairgrounds in October.