September 30, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Stanislaus is so close to meeting red tier criteria. Many businesses to remain closed

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County was very close in a coronavirus update Tuesday to meeting the second criteria for moving to a less restrictive tier in the state’s plan for safely reopening the economy. But the county slightly missed the daily case requirement of 7 per 100,000 population, which will push a broader reopening of local businesses to mid-October at the earliest.

Central SJ Valley:

Fix — or fire? Some want redesign of Fresno police auditor role after report withheld

Fresno Bee

More than one subcommittee tasked with reinventing policing in Fresno have recommended changes to the independent police auditor system that has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.

COVID-19 update: Tulare County lags behind as Fresno moves to reopen sectors of economy

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County is inching closer to meeting state-mandated COVID-19 metrics that would allow more activities such as indoor dining and movie theaters while on Tuesday Fresno county was allowed to move to a less restrictive tier.

See also:

·       Tulare County’s move into red tier likely to be delayed Porterville Recorder

Central Valley Congressman Runs Against Republican He Beat in 2018 — by Less Than 1,000 Votes


Congressional District 21 is a rare swing district in Calif. For years, Republican Congressman David Valadao was able to win the seat, even though there are more registered Democrats than Republicans there. In 2016, voters still stuck with Valadao, even while choosing Democrat Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

County of Fresno | Chief Operating Officer


Do you want to thrive in a culture that values innovation and progressive thinking? Fresno County is seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO) who is a strategic visionary with a fierce commitment to providing innovative and exceptional public services. This is the ideal position for an enterprising leader with a passion for stewarding a challenge-rich environment in one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most diverse counties in Calif.

South SJ Valley:

Kern Co falls short of state COVID-19 benchmarks, further delaying reopenings

Bakersfield Califn

Despite Kern officials’ predictions that the county’s coronavirus metrics would be low enough to begin a countdown for businesses to reopen on Tuesday, the numbers told a different story during the state’s weekly COVID-19 update.

See Also:

●     Kern Co Demands Governor Newsom Stop ‘Moving The Goalposts’ On COVID-19 Reopening VPR

Kern Co Superior Court to provide audio streaming to mitigate spread of COVID-19

Bakersfield Califn

The Kern County Superior Court will begin providing live audio streams of all non-confidential criminal and civil proceedings throughout the county on Thursday, according to a news release from the court. The announcement comes with a new standing order that has been issued by Judge Judith K. Dulcich in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the court’s facilities.


Here’s a look at some of the key measures Newsom signed into law and what they mean for Californians.


Gov. Gavin Newsom has just three days left to sign or veto some of the most high-profile and controversial bills of the legislative session — including a spate of proposals to police the police, a bill that would establish a state reparations committee, and a bill that would mandate the racial makeup of corporate boards.

See Also:

●     If voters raise taxes on corporate landlords, will small biz foot the bill? CalMatters

●     Creating a Homelessness Czar CalMatters

●     Creating a Student Loan Bill of Rights CalMatters

●     Expanding Mental Health Parity CalMatters

●     SB-132 Corrections. Calif Legislative Information

●     Newsom signs, vetoes bills CalMatters

Gavin Newsom: ‘We Decided to Pull the Band-Aid Off’

NY Times

On this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher speaks to Gavin Newsom, a governor who is, by some measures, running a country. Calif is the world’s fifth-largest economy. And now, the state has joined the ranks of Britain, Denmark and Germany with an ambitious environmental order banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

Poll shows Califns give Newsom high marks on COVID-19, low marks on addressing homelessness

LA Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic helped put him in such good graces with Calif voters that his approval rating is among the highest of any governor in the past 50 years at the same point in their first term, according to a new poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

See Also:

●     Poll: Positives for Newsom, but concerns on housing, pandemic Capitol Weekly

Hiring sprees and unending IT problems: What Calif budgets say about unemployment agency

Sac Bee

Calif budget documents show the state’s last three governors plugged resources into its unemployment agency during crises, but did not manage to launch systemic changes that would prepare for it the surge in jobless claims it received in the early months of the coronavirus outbreak.

More counties can reopen businesses indoors


Calif is approaching yet another inflection point in its pandemic response. The statewide coronavirus positivity rate is the lowest it’s ever been at 2.8% over a 14-day period, but Gov. Gavin Newsom and public health leaders warned Monday that the rate of transmission is ticking up in several regions, potentially signaling a looming wave of cases that could result in further business restrictions.

See also:

·       Think Calif is bouncing back? Recovery will take more than 2 years, economists say LA Times

Calif schools, agencies to receive bulk of $116 million settlement over wireless charges

Sac Bee

Verizon and AT&T agreed Thursday to pay $116 million to settle a lawsuit over whistleblower claims that the wireless providers overcharged Calif state and local governments for years.

Calif prison union wants to be ‘800 pound gorilla’ in politics. Can it win over voters?

Sac Bee

The bad news keeps coming for Calif correctional officers. They took a pay cut amid a pandemic that has infected more than 3,500 prison employees, killing nine. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday it will close a state prison in Tracy, affecting 469 correctional officers’ jobs, in what could be the first of two closures under Gov. Gavin Newsom.


How Operation Warp Speed’s Big Vaccine Contracts Could Stay Secret


The Trump administration has compared Operation Warp Speed’s crash program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to the Manhattan Project. And like the notoriously secretive government project to make the first atomic bomb, the details of Operation Warp Speed’s work may take a long time to unravel.

OPINION: Remember Kamala Harris? Now, she’s center stage for the Supreme Court fight

Modesto Bee

Now’s her chance. When Kamala Harris was chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate back in August, she was portrayed as a younger pioneering partner who would bring new energy and followers to the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket.

See also:

·       Environmental action, laws may face new hurdles on high court Roll Call

●     Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Could Mean the End of ACA. Here’s How It Impacts You. 100 Days

Privacy of biometric data in DHS hands in doubt, inspector general says

Roll Call

An inspector general’s report is casting doubt on the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to protect its massive repository of personal data from hackers amid a push by the Trump administration to vastly expand its collection of biometrics through the use of facial recognition and other tools.

House Democrats readying new virus aid package if GOP counter falls short

Roll Call

House Democrats are holding out hope for a bipartisan coronavirus aid deal but are preparing for a quick vote as soon as Wednesday on the $2.2 trillion aid package they unveiled Monday if an expected White House counteroffer falls short. 

House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks

The Hill

The House on Tuesday unanimously passed four bills aimed at securing the power grid and other energy infrastructure against cyberattacks. All four of the bipartisan bills were approved by voice vote, and supported by the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and House Science, Space, and Technology panels.

Ross asked if ending census earlier would produce numbers in Trump’s current term


Before ordering on Monday that the 2020 census conclude more than three weeks ahead of schedule, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked Census Bureau officials if the earlier date would effectively allow them to produce a final set of numbers during President Donald Trump’s current term in office.

Chamber of Commerce and top political strategist part ways amid turmoil


Scott Reed, the longtime top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that he left the organization after a political shift at the business lobbying powerhouse. The move comes amid mounting fears among Republicans — including many within the organization — that the traditionally conservative Chamber is moving to the left after endorsing roughly two dozen freshman House Democrats for reelection this year.

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 Fin Times

●     Coronavirus in Calif by the numbers CalMatters

Elections 2020:

●     Register to vote

●     Check voter registration status

●     Online Voter Guide and Printable Voter Guide

●     List of county elections offices

●     “Where’s My Ballot?” tool

Your Calif mail ballot is coming. 5 things to do to make sure it gets counted

Sac Bee

Calif has hit a record number of registered voters this year, and thanks to an executive order issued this year from Gov. Gavin Newsom, all 21 million of them will be receiving a ballot in the mail starting Oct. 5.

Calif Democrats are spending public money on voter outreach. Are they breaking the rules?

Fresno Bee

Calif is spending $35 million on ads now airing to tell state voters that mail-in voting is “simple, safe” and “secure” during the coronavirus pandemic. Although voters are seeing the ads, the contract has yet to be seen by key state departments or the public. It also appears Padilla’s office failed to secure the necessary authority to spend the money.

Presidential debate schedule in Biden-Trump 2020 election: What to know


With early voting underway and November quickly approaching, the 2020 presidential and vice-presidential candidates will face off on the debate stage for the first time tonight.

See Also:

●     Trump, Biden prepare to debate tonight at time of mounting crises abc30

●     ‘Will you shut up, man?’: Testy exchanges on health care, Supreme Court among debate top moments Visalia Times Delta

●     Trump, Biden push into crucial first 2020 campaign face-off Bakersfield Califn

●     Chaotic first debate: Taunts overpower Trump, Biden visions Bakersfield Califn

●     Watch Live: 1st Presidential Debate Between Trump And Biden VPR

●     Trump Derails 1st Presidential Debate With Biden, And 5 Other Takeaways VPR

●     Tonight’s debate could be one of the most watched political events in U.S. history LA Times

●     Fact-checking the first Trump-Biden presidential debate LA Times

●     Key takeaways from the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden LA Times

●     Trump tries to kill presidential debates, and other takeaways from a debacle SF Chronicle

●     Calif caught in presidential cage match debate CalMatters

●     Fact-checking the first Trump-Biden debate of the 2020 election Business Insider

●     Biden, Trump clash at vicious, ugly debate The Hill

●     A Disgusting Night for Democracy The Atlantic

●     5 takeaways from the first presidential debate Wash Post

●     Trump sets the tone for the worst presidential debate in living memory Wash Post

●     Trump, Biden Clash in Contentious First Debate WSJ

●     Election 2020: How Trump and Biden Compare on the Key Issues WSJ

●     Trump and Biden’s First Presidential Debate: The Moments That Mattered WSJ

●     Fact-Checking the First 2020 Presidential Debate NY Times

●     Fact-checking the first 2020 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden PolitiFact

●     Fact  Check: Baseless Online Claims Target Biden Ahead of First Debate

●     AP FACT CHECK: Claims from Trump and Biden’s first debate AP News

●     The Jerry Springer Debate National Review

●     Editorial: A dismal debate, shattered by an off-the-rails American president SF Chronicle

●      Commentary: Was the first debate of 2020 also the last? Brookings

●     It’s Opinion: It’s Time for a Change in Leadership  National Review

Proud Boys revel in President Trump’s mention of group


Members of the far-right Proud Boys responded swiftly on social media Tuesday night, celebrating a mention of the extremist group by the president of the United States during Tuesday’s debate. The comment from President Trump came after moderator Chris Wallace asked if Trump would condemn white supremacists.

See Also:

●     Proud Boys celebrate online after Trump’s debate ‘stand back and stand by’ comment The Hill

●     Trump to far-right extremists: ‘Stand back and stand by’ AP News

Joe Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of tonight’s debate


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden paid nearly $288,000 in federal income taxes last year, according to returns he released just hours before his Tuesday night debate with President Donald Trump.

See Also:

●     See what they paid: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris release 2019 tax returns LA Times

●     Joe Biden, Kamala Harris release 2019 tax returns UPI

●     Editorial: Here’s why Trump gets to exploit those tax loopholes — and you can’t LA Times

‘Concerning’ Number of Californians Are Wary Of Election Integrity, Poll Shows

Capital Public Radio

As the Nov. 3 election approaches, a new poll shows Calif voters are uneasy about its integrity and aftermath. The UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS) poll shows 42% of likely voters feel the election is not likely to be conducted in a fair and open manner. It also shows 82% — including high numbers of voters from both parties — are worried that many Americans will not respect the election outcome.

See Also:

●     Calif’s (mostly) all-mail 2020 election, explained CalMatters

●     Elections Department works to make election safe, secure and transparent Hanford Sentinel

●     Fact Check: Trump says USPS can’t handle a mostly mail-in election. Californians are used to them Sac Bee

Calif Democrats are spending public money on voter outreach. Are they breaking the rules?

Sac Bee

Calif is spending $35 million on ads now airing to tell state voters that mail-in voting is “simple, safe” and “secure” during the coronavirus pandemic. Although voters are seeing the ads, the contract has yet to be seen by key state departments or the public. It also appears Padilla’s office failed to secure the necessary authority to spend the money.

See also:

·       EDITORIAL: Calif must scrap Alex Padilla’s secretive election contract with Democratic firm Sac Bee

A 2020 Election Preview


With one month to go before a highly consequential election, what does the political landscape look like in Calif and the nation? A panel of top political journalists will discuss emerging themes and issues, and assess the nation’s readiness for a pandemic election.

Poll shows 8 Calif ballots might pass in general election but lots of undecideds

San Diego Union-Tribune

Calif voters appear to favor measures impacting ride-share employees, rent control, affirmative action, commercial taxes, criminal justice reforms and more.

See also:

·       CalChamber Takes Position on Prop. 16, Prop. 23 CalChamber

·       Quick Guide: Prop 15, the proposed ’split-roll’ tax on commercial property EdSource

·       WALTERS: Prop 19’s tortuous journey to the ballot CalMatters

·       Opinion: Don’t believe what Uber and Lyft claim about Prop. 22 Mercury News

Trump used Facebook to suppress the Black vote in battleground states during 2016 election, report says


Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign sought to deter millions of Black Americans in battleground states from voting by targeting them with negative Hillary Clinton ads on Facebook, an investigation broadcast Monday by Channel 4 News in London claims.

Pres. Trump and Joe Biden are trying to capture Spanish-speaking voters with microtargeted ads.

SF Chronicle

They’re spending millions on TV, social media and radio ads that are reaching Spanish-speaking voters primarily in key battleground states.


RSVP to ‘Disinformation in Local Elections: How to spot it and what you can do’

Fresno Bee

America’s architects viewed the press as essential to our democracy, including it in the first article of our Bill of Rights. And yet today we are faced with consistent attacks on credible news and information. Factual, accurate reporting is literally being replaced by Russian bots feeding us false information via our social media feeds.

How Facebook could help plunge our democracy into chaos on Nov. 4

Wash Post

In 2016, a key component of Russia’s efforts to help Donald Trump win the White House involved moving disinformation through social media, especially Facebook. While it’s still uncertain what the Kremlin is up to this time, Facebook remains the world’s most powerful delivery system for lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories.

Socially distant: How our divided social networks explain our politics

Survey Center of American Life

Racial segregation among Americans’ most intimate relationships is still common across most racial and ethnic groups. More than three-quarters (77 %) of white Americans report that their core social network includes only people who are also white. More than six in 10 (64 %) black Americans have social networks composed entirely of people who are also black.

EDITORIAL: Why The Fresno Bee will continue to provide its readers with election recommendations

Fresno Bee

A caller left a message recently that was equal parts surprise and scorn. “I just learned that you tell voters how to vote in the election,” the man said. “I don’t think that’s right. You are a NEWSpaper,” he went on, with the emphasis. “Stick to the news and leave your opinion out of it.”


Sunday, October 4, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “What Have We Learned About Distance Learning?” – Guests: Sydney Johnson, EdSource; E. Toby Boyd, Calif Teachers Association; Amy Li, Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office; Sunne McPeak, President & CEO of the Calif Emerging Technology Fund. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, October 4, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Can Distance Learning Span the Valley’s Digital Divide?” – Guests: Dr. Tamara Ravalin, Superintendent of Visalia Unified; Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto Unified; Dr. Eimear O’Farrell, Superintendent of Clovis Unified; Kurt Madden, Chief Technology Officer at Fresno Unified.. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


New Calif law funds COVID-19 outreach, enforcement for farmworkers

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed two laws aimed at helping Calif’s “unsung essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis, one of which aims to ensure farmworkers have access to reliable information about how to stay healthy.

Food boxes for families will continue at The Mission through the end of October

Bakersfield Califn

The Mission at Kern County has received five more weeks worth of food boxes for families in need, which will allow the organization to extend its Farm to Families Food Box Distribution program. The Mission said the distribution efforts, which began as a four-week program, will now be running six months long through the end of October thanks to this latest extension.

Out of milk? In Modesto, robots can now deliver groceries right to your doorstep

Modesto Bee

While we may not have those promised flying cars yet, grocery delivering robots have arrived in Modesto. Modesto-based Save Mart supermarkets has partnered with SF firm Starship Technologies to bring autonomous, touchless grocery delivery to the Central Valley. You may have spied one of these small, dare I say cute robots rolling along Modesto streets in the past few weeks as part of a test of the new program.

Calif’s largest-ever fire threatens cannabis farms worth millions. Many won’t evacuate

LA Times

Nate Trujillo sat on a windy ridge and watched Calif’s largest wildfire, the August Complex, work its way toward the cannabis-growing enclave of Post Mountain-Trinity Pines, where many of the locals are refusing to evacuate.



Easy to buy, hard to track. Calif sues federal government over ‘ghost gun’ rules

Fresno Bee

Calif is suing the federal government over its definition of a firearm in attempt to make it easier to track and confiscate so-called “ghost guns” that are often bought online and built at home without a background check.

See Also:

●     Calif sues US regulator in bid to deter ‘ghost guns’ Bakersfield Califn

●     Calif sues feds over gun policy CalMatters

Public Safety:

Doctor warns Fresno businesses must follow COVID-19 reopening rules

Fresno Bee

Fresno County moves toward a less restrictive COVID-19 level for reopening. Health officer Dr. Rais Vohra cautions that business owners who fail to follow state guidelines put public health and economic progress at risk. Video from Sept. 25, 2020.

Commentary: Environmental racism and the struggle for criminal justice


Climate change threatens all people, creatures, places, and systems on the planet, but not all impacts are distributed equally. Climate justice considers that climate change has unequal social, economic, health, and other effects on underprivileged populations.


Creek Fire updates: More Fresno County evacuations lifted; containment tops 40%

Fresno Bee

In just under one month, the Creek Fire has burned more than 300,000 acres along both sides of the San Joaquin River near Mammoth Pool, Shaver Lake, Big Creek and Huntington Lake. It is the largest single-fire incident in Calif history and the sixth largest when including complex fires, like the North Complex Fire currently burning in Plumas and Butte counties.

See Also:

●     Creek Fire at 44% Containment, 305K Acres Burned Clovis RoundUp

●     Creek Fire: 305,240 acres burned with 44% containment, latest evacuations issued for Fresno, Madera, Mariposa counties abc30

●     Creek Fire: Crews navigate challenging weather, terrain abc30

SQF Complex Fire: 150,800 acres burned, 58% contained, latest evacuation orders


The SQF Complex Fire is now the largest wildfire in Tulare County’s modern history, according to fire officials. The blaze has grown to 150,800 acres with 58% containment as of Tuesday morning. Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman says the complex fire surpassed the 2002 McNally Fire which burned 150,696 acres.

See Also:

●     Sequoia Complex up to 58 % contained Porterville Recorder

●     In A Historic Fire Season, Firefighters From Mexico Help Battle The SQF Complex Fire VPR

Kern County Fire Department thanks McCarthy for $2.9M grant

Bakersfield Califn

The Kern County Fire Department has been awarded $2.9 million for critically needed equipment, according to a KCFD Facebook post on Tuesday. The post stated that the department will use the grant money to replace “the decades-old” Self Contained Breathing Apparatus that’s currently in use.

‘It’s gut wrenching.’ Calif’s Glass Fire ravages hard-hit Napa-Sonoma wine country

Fresno Bee

Wildfire is taking aim once again at the heart of Calif’s multibillion-dollar wine industry, destroying high-end wineries, coating vineyards with potentially devastating smoke and ash, and wiping out much of a tourist season that was just starting to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

See Also:

●     Glass Fire: Blaze rips through 42,000 acres of wine country Visalia Times Delta

●     Calif’s wine country residents facing fire fatigue Bakersfield Califn

●     Calif Fires: 3 More People Killed As Blazes Rage In Wine Country VPR

●     Glass fire grows nearly fourfold in a day, burning 80 homes in Napa, Sonoma counties LA Times

●     Iconic landmarks destroyed CalMatters

Fact Check: Federal government manages 57% of California forests

Sac Bee

President Donald Trump said in the presidential debate Tuesday night that Calif wildfires would not be happening if the state had better forest management, a claim that is misleading for multiple reasons.



From purple to red: What Fresno Co businesses can reopen from COVID-19 restrictions?

Fresno Bee

Fresno businesses such as tattoo and massage parlors, gyms and movie theaters can reopen with limited capacity after receiving the green light from the Calif Department of Public Health. The state health department moved Fresno County into the red Tier 2 status on Tuesday, according to its website.

See Also:

●     Gyms, restaurants can open with modifications now that Fresno County is in ‘red tier’ abc30

●     COVID-19 Cases Down, Fresno County Moves up to Red Tier Clovis RoundUp

●     Restaurants, Other Businesses Allowed To Reopen In Fresno County Business Journal

●     Regal Cinemas In River Park Reopens Today Business Journal

●     Bethany Clough: What businesses thrive during a pandemic? These 5 industries are booming in Fresno Fresno Bee

●     Community Voices: ‘Normal’ requires small businesses to survive Bakersfield Califn

Think Calif is bouncing back? Recovery will take more than 2 years, economists say

LA Times

Calif’s economy began to bounce back this summer thanks to an infusion of federal jobless benefits and business loans along with the reopening of some workplaces, but a full recovery from the coronavirus downturn will take more than two years, UCLA economists predict.

U.S. could slip into double-dip recession if Congress doesn’t pass new stimulus, some economists say


The U.S. economy is at a crossroads, with some analysts saying a failure by Congress to pass another stimulus package, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, would tip the nation back into recession.

Commentary: Is the Federal Reserve out of ammo to fight the coronavirus economic slowdown?


Milton Friedman was fond of saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. He might very well have been referring to our excessive reliance on the Federal Reserve to bail America out of each successive economic recession. This reliance has not only made the financial system more vulnerable to a second wave of the pandemic.


Calif prison employing 1,100 to close in 2021 — and Newsom wants to shut another

Sac Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Friday announced a plan to shut Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy within a year, following through on Newsom’s pledge to close one or more state prisons while he’s in office.

28,000 Disney workers will be laid off as its theme parks struggle amid coronavirus

Fresno Bee

The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday it would lay off about 28,000 employees at its Florida and Calif theme parks, or about a quarter of its workforce, due to the impact from the novel coronavirus.

It’s ‘chaos’: Calif’s unemployment agency hired thousands, but didn’t fix core problems

Sac Bee

Ten years and still a mess. Today’s loudly voiced criticisms of Calif’s unemployment insurance system have a familiar ring to those who have been around a while. “The problems in the state unemployment insurance program are major,” said a state Assembly Insurance Committee report from 2010 describing a state agency overwhelmed by demand from jobless Califns.

Calif Expands Presumption of Workers’ Compensation Liability for COVID-19 Claims


On September 17, 2020, Calif Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 1159, which creates a rebuttable presumption that certain employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at work for workers’ compensation purposes.

How the Coronavirus Crisis Threatens to Set Back Women’s Careers


A comprehensive new study by McKinsey and Lean In suggests that many women—especially mothers—may have to step back or away from jobs because of the pandemic’s impact on their lives.

Opinion: Don’t believe what Uber and Lyft claim about Prop. 22

Mercury News

By now, you’ve probably seen some slick ads for Prop 22, paid for by Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies. They hope you have because they’re spending $181 million to tell you a story. These so-called gig companies now are waging the most expensive propaganda campaign in state history. They’ve outspent all other special interests that came before them: Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco.



Many Fresno-area schools could reopen within two weeks. Here’s what needs to happen

Fresno Bee

Fresno County students could return to in-person classes as soon as mid-October as long COVID-19 cases don’t get worse again. Tuesday morning, the Calif Department of Health moved Fresno County from the purple to red tier, which means fewer restrictions for businesses, and the county has an average of fewer than seven new cases each day per 100,000 residents.

Madera Unified Schools Among Nation’s Healthiest

Business Journal

The Madera Unified School District’s 23 comprehensive schools are being recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as “America’s Healthiest Schools.” The Alliance recognized 518 schools across the nation. The recognition comes from promoting nutritious meals, physical activity and mental wellness. Madera Unified is the only district in Calif to have all of its comprehensive schools honored with the bronze award for being one of America’s Healthiest Schools in 2020.

Local school board races field numerous contenders

Turlock Journal

Come Nov. 3, voters will have a packed ballot to choose from when selecting who they’d like to see represent several seats on local school boards for both Turlock Unified School District and Yosemite Community College District.

Here’s why VUSD hasn’t applied for a waiver to reopen elementary schools

Visalia Times Delta

Nearly 700 elementary schools across Calif applied for waivers to reopen for in-person instruction. Where do Visalia public schools fit in?

Visalia Unified School District is eligible for the waiver, which allows students as high as second-grade to return to school for in-person learning as long as health and safety modifications are implemented.

County approves in-person waivers for Kernville, two more schools

Bakersfield Califn

The county’s public health department has approved waivers for Kernville Union School District and two more schools, bringing the total number of schools in the county approved for in-person learning to 25. The other two schools approved were Linns Valley Union School District and Bethel Christian School.

Local businessman David Eggers announces candidacy for Rosedale Union school board

Bakersfield Califn

David Eggers, the CFO of EPM Properties LLC, has announced he is running for a seat on Rosedale Union School Board. Eggers is a West High graduate who says he has many years experience in the fields of business and real estate.

Patterson, Stanislaus school districts latest, largest to file applications to reopen

Modesto Bee

Past print deadline for this story, two more Stanislaus County public school districts submitted waiver applications Wednesday. They are Riverbank Unified, seeking to reopen three schools, and Hughson Unified, to reopen five.

Knights Ferry among first Stanislaus public schools to bring back kids

Modesto Bee

In some ways, it looked like any first day of school. Beaming faces peeked out from car windows as children spotted staff and teachers. Parents made sure their children had their lunch bags, water bottles and backpacks. They gave goodbye kisses and good-day wishes. Kids carried potted or cut flowers as a show of affection for their educators.

Commentary: Closing the achievement gap


Better schooling has long been thought to be the solution to closing the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students, but what if the problem stems much earlier than that? AEI’s Katharine B. Stevens explains how early childhood environments play a significant role in future achievements.

Higher Ed:

USC admits largest, most diverse freshman class despite coronavirus setbacks

LA Times

USC’s new freshman class is the largest and most diverse in the university’s history, reflecting similar trends in the UC system and coming as overall college enrollment numbers across the U.S. have declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With most Calif college campuses virtual this year, a select few are in-person


Most Calif university and college courses are virtual this fall, but a small number are still happening in-person, in ways that are different from anything normal. These classes range from health courses, such as dental assisting and nursing, to construction trades and engineering.

Calif’s community colleges address student-faculty diversity gap


Calif’s 116 community colleges should prioritize increasing diversity in their faculty to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment, leaders from across the community college system said Tuesday.



Air quality in San Joaquin Valley is ‘worst we’ve ever had,’ officials say

Fresno Bee

The Valley Air District on Tuesday declared air quality in the central San Joaquin Valley has never been worse and urged residents to stay indoors. “This has been really exceptional, and I would say this is the worst air quality wildfire period that we’ve ever had,” said Jon Klassen, director of air quality science and planning, during a video news conference.

See Also:

●     Valley air about to get worse as wildfire smoke has nowhere to go abc30

●     Air pollution director: ‘This is the worst air quality wildfire period that we’ve ever had’ Visalia Times Delta

●     Poor air quality expected to return to Central Valley early next week Bakersfield Califn

As rats swarm Calif cities, Gavin Newsom bans popular poison to protect wildlife

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday that seeks to protect mountain lions and other wildlife from being poisoned by a popular form of pesticide. The move raises questions about how the state will manage its growing urban rat population, which some experts say is surging due to the spread of homeless camps across Calif.

Megafires Are Breaking Climate Models, Highlighting Calif’s Need To Focus On Prevention

Capital Public Radio

Michael Jones was up the entire night Sunday watching the Glass Fire take off in Napa and Sonoma counties. At more than 42,000 acres Tuesday it’s damaged at least eight wineries, 80 other homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee.

How States Can Manage the Challenges of Paying for Natural Disasters


From wildfires in the West to hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Eastern Seaboard, natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe throughout the United States. Ensuring that public funding is available to respond to, recover from, mitigate against, and prepare for these events involves a complex relationship across all levels of government: federal, state, and local.

Environmental action, laws may face new hurdles on high court

Roll Call

A conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court could deal a crippling blow to environmental laws on the books, water down climate regulations tied up in court and make it harder to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to environmental law scholars and advocates.


In Slumping Energy States, Plugging Abandoned Wells Could Provide an Economic Boost


It’s rare for Tom Brooks to say no to work. Which is why, in the middle of a pandemic and a worldwide slump in oil prices, Brooks mustered up a crew to plug a 42-year-old oil well for the state of North Dakota.

OPINION: Is Gavin Newsom serious about banning gas-powered cars?

Modesto Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom flatly declared Wednesday that “In the next 15 years we will eliminate in the state of Calif the sales of internal combustion engines.” It was the latest example of Newsom’s fondness for headline-grabbing pronouncements of “big hairy, audacious goals.”

Commentary: All-electric building codes for new homes would protect our health – and our kids’ health


On days when I awaken to skies darkened with smoke from wildfires, I worry even before I arrive at the hospital that our emergency rooms will be filled with asthma patients. The pollution blanketing the West Coast is too much for many lungs to handle – and children are especially vulnerable.



An improving COVID-19 outlook? Charts show trends in Fresno and nearby counties

Fresno Bee

More than 330 new coronavirus cases surfaced in Fresno County since Friday, but the number of patients being treated in hospitals for the respiratory disease is nearly at its lowest point in three months.

See Also:

●     54 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kern County on Tuesday Bakersfield Califn

●     Coronavirus updates: Calif’s averages of cases, deaths hit new lows Modesto Bee

●     Coronavirus update: Stanislaus has 2 more deaths. Case growth slow again Modesto Bee

●     These 34 heart-wrenching images capture coronavirus toll as deaths surpass 1 million Sac Bee

COVID-19 cases increasing rapidly in children across US, researchers find


New reports show the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases in the United States is on the rise. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Health Association found that pediatric cases of the virus increased from 2.2% in April to 10% in September. Then a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children ages 12-17 made up twice as many COVID-19 case as those ages 5-11.

See Also:

●     Covid-19 Cases Rising Among Us Children As Schools Reopen Business Journal

●     When Young People Get COVID-19, Infections Soon Rise Among Older Adults NPR

Is A Third COVID-19 Surge Coming? Experts Say It’s Likely, Unless Behaviors Change

Capital Public Radio

After spring and summer brought persistent surges in COVID-19 cases, Calif’s rates appear to be on the decline for the fall. But as businesses reopen with modifications, some children go back to school and the weather slowly cools, health experts have a uniform message: It’s not over.

Why ‘herd immunity’ can’t save us from COVID-19

LA Times

For a term that’s at least 100 years old, “herd immunity” has gained new life in 2020. It made headlines last month when reports surfaced that Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and advisor to the president, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19.

Another scary thing about COVID: Survivors aren’t fully recovering

SF Chronicle

Rick Sullivan met the “monkey man” a month after falling ill with COVID-19. Sullivan, 60, had been cleared from quarantine and had started venturing outside his home in Brentwood. But he was far from healthy. Though he didn’t know it at the time, Sullivan is among the so-called long-haulers, a grim and expanding club of coronavirus survivors who suffer debilitating symptoms long after the virus has left their body.

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Could Mean the End of ACA. Here’s How It Impacts You.

100 Days

More than 10 years after its passage, the Affordable Care Act once more hangs in the balance. There have been plenty of near misses before, including previous Supreme Court appearances and Congressional votes. Yet in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, this time around Republicans may finally be successful in undoing the Obama Administration’s signature achievement. Hearings before the Supreme Court are scheduled to begin on Nov. 10 on whether a change in tax law makes the ACA unconstitutional. (Written by Simon Header, former Maddy Intern and current Penn State Political Science professor).

Human Services:

KCDPH updates how COVID-19 data is reported

Hanford Sentinel

The Kings County Department of Public Health announced that it has changed the way data is reported on its COVID-19 webpage to align with how the Calif Department of Public Health reports the data for Kings County.

New Calif law aims for more medical providers by giving nurse practitioners more authority

Sac Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom paved the way for nurse practitioners in Calif to practice medicine independent of doctors under a bill he signed Tuesday. Newsom’s signature represents the culmination of a fight that has spanned several legislative sessions, pitting doctors groups against those that want to expand nurse practitioners’ ability to treat patients.

States push for more funds and guidance on vaccine distribution

Roll Call

With just a month before a Nov. 1 Trump administration deadline for states to be ready to potentially distribute any upcoming COVID-19 vaccines, states are just starting to get their share of $200 million in preparation funds as Congress deliberates over whether to provide more.


Calif governor vetoes bill to aid low-income immigrants

AP News

Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have authorized Calif to give low-income immigrants $600 to buy groceries. The bill was aimed at helping people, including those living in the country illegally, who have been impacted by the coronavirus but are not eligible for other state and federal assistance programs.

ICE preparing targeted arrests in ‘sanctuary cities,’ amplifying president’s campaign theme

Wash Post

The Trump administration is preparing an immigration enforcement blitz next month that would target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials who described a plan with public messaging that echoes the president’s law-and-order campaign rhetoric.

See also:

·       ICE reverses COVID-19 measure, says it will resume arresting non-criminal migrants  Miami Herald

Judge blocks big fee hikes for citizenship, other benefits

AP News

A federal judge on Tuesday halted major fee increases for citizenship and other immigration benefits three days before they were to take effect, saying the last two chiefs of the Homeland Security Department were likely appointed illegally.

See also:

·       Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Immigration Fee Increases WSJ


Land Use:

Retail construction continues locally despite pandemic

Bakersfield Califn

Judging only by construction of new retail buildings around Bakersfield, it would be easy to conclude the pandemic has hardly disrupted the local economy. That’s not the case, of course, with unemployment hovering at about 13 % in August. But in recent months whole new shopping centers have sprung up at the intersections of Stockdale Highway and Buena Vista Road, and at Panama Lane and Ashe Road.

Fact Check: Federal government manages 57 % of Calif forests

Sac Bee

President Donald Trump said in the presidential debate Tuesday night that Calif wildfires would not be happening if the state had better forest management, a claim that is misleading for multiple reasons.


To Address Homelessness Crisis, Sac Considers Converting Private Land Into Temporary Housing Sites

Capital Public Radio

Sac is considering a formal permitting process to allow for the creation of more privately-owned temporary housing sites, similar to the current tent city set up in the Alkali Flats neighborhood of downtown.

Homelessness remains top of mind for Californians


Although Newsom has one of the highest approval ratings of any Calif governor in the past 50 years at the same point in their first term, many voters disapprove of the way he has handled the state’s homelessness and housing affordability crises, a Tuesday poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found.


$25 gift cards being sent to Merced residents, as part of COVID-19 relief

Merced Sun-Star

Merced residents can soon expect to receive a postcard in the mail for the city’s $25 gift card program. City residents will be able to redeem the gift cards on the Merced Cares website at and can spend them at businesses ranging from restaurants to clothing shops, according to a city news release.

Calif cities can’t swap pensions for 401(k) plans if they’re in CalPERS under new law

Fresno Bee

A Southern Calif city’s attempt to offer 401(k)-style retirement plans to firefighters has led to a new law prohibiting similar efforts to exclude public workers from CalPERS pensions.

See also:

·       Pandemic’s Toll on Public Pension Plans RealClear Politics

Managing Volatile Tax Collections in State Revenue Forecasts


This report, a joint initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, will help policymakers better understand how volatile state taxes affect the accuracy of revenue projections. It examines data from 1987 through 2013 and reveals that predicting how much money state governments will raise has become more difficult than ever.

State Revenues Decline for First Time Since the Great Recession, With the Worst Still to Come


The majority of states have closed out fiscal 2020 and, as expected, most states experienced a decline in general fund revenues, both compared to prior-year (fiscal 2019) collections and to pre-COVID revenue projections. This large swing in tax collections led to a roughly 6% shortfall for states for fiscal 2020 in just a few months’ time.


2020 Transportation Needs Survey

Fresno Council of Governments

Have a say in how future transportation dollars are spent.  The Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG) is looking for transportation project suggestions that could become part of its 20-year Regional Transportation Plan or RTP.

Major rail upgrade in Stockton could help travel and freight for Modesto and beyond

Modesto Bee

A major rail upgrade in Stockton could ease travel for passenger and freight trains from Modesto and other parts of the Central Valley. The $237 million project is proposed where two busy railroads cross without the benefit of an overpass. Backers of the plan say it is vital to moving goods to market and expanding passenger service.

House Democrats unveil bill to provide $32 billion in emergency transit funding

Progressive Railroading

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday unveiled a new $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that includes $32 billion in emergency funding for Amtrak and transit agencies. The House will consider the proposed bill later this week.


Dominoes from the massive Creek Fire teetering over San Joaquin Valley farmers

Fresno Bee

When the Creek Fire erupted on Sept. 4 and chewed through the forest toward Southern Calif Edison’s Big Creek power system, little did anyone know how that might affect grape growers in Delano nearly a month later.


Calif parks and playgrounds can reopen, with some COVID-19 restrictions

Fresno Bee

Calif playgrounds can now reopen statewide under all coronavirus risk tiers, according to new guidance released by the state. The Calif Department of Public Health on Monday issued guidance explaining how outdoor playgrounds and other recreational facilities must be used during the COVID-19 emergency.

See Also:

●     Outdoor playgrounds can reopen in Calif with restrictions abc30

●     Parks reopen as Stanislaus County remains in widespread COVID-19 tier Turlock Journal

●     Playgrounds can now open in the state Porterville Recorder

●     Playgrounds can reopen in Calif with some COVID-19 restrictions LA Times

●     Coronavirus: State allows playgrounds to reopen — with lots of new rules SF Chronicle

How some families are planning safe fun for Halloween during COVID-19 pandemic

Modesto Bee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with guidance last week that says traditional trick-or-treating is a “higher-risk” activity this year. But COVID-19 isn’t scaring everyone away from trying to have some Halloween fun.

Yosemite National Park announces end to day-use reservations needed to enter park

Sierra Star

Reservations will no longer be needed to enter Yosemite National Park beginning Nov. 1, park officials announced Tuesday. Yosemite has been using a new day-use reservation system since reopening in June with limited visitors and services due to COVID-19. The park closed again this month due to wildfire smoke and reopened Friday.

See Also:

●     For Yosemite day-trippers, it’s no reservation, no problem as of Nov. 1 LA Times

Commentary: It is time to reopen all museums


You will be able to visit a museum in SF or San Diego soon, but do not expect to do so in LA, Monterey, Sac or Santa Barbara. As museums in some areas begin to safely reopen to the public, museums in 25 Calif counties continue to be closed even though retailers and shopping malls are open.

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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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