Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

Would more teens smoke if recreational pot were legal?

Sep 18, 2016

Studies have found that using marijuana before age 18 is associated with shorter attention spans and lower IQ levels. Early use of marijuana has also been shown to correlate with changes in the structure of the teenage brain.

But that information hasn't exactly filtered down to teenagers.

"You always smell it," says "Pablo," a 15-year-old sophomore at a high school in Highland Park. "You always hear people talking about it. I think it's pretty common."

During her run for U.S. Senate, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has touted a "smart on crime" approach that focuses on the most violent offenders and reducing recidivism.

Harris believes this strategy is key to slowing what she claims is a dramatic rise in the nation’s prison population.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Governor Jerry Brown has used Fresno as the site to sign four bills Wednesday to direct hundreds of millions of dollars to help clean up the air in places like the Valley. The Central Valley could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the funds from the anti-global warming effort.  

The bills would send $900 million of cap and trade money to places with the dirtiest air and poorest communities in the state.

In the first part of a series on the health impacts of violence in the community, Valley Public Radio introduced you to the family of a mentally ill man fatally shot by police. His case is an extreme example but the mental and physical health impacts of violence can be seen in more subtle ways too. Now some people are now comparing violence in the valley with a well-known condition often connected to war.

Joey Williams has spent nearly his entire life living in east Bakersfield.

30 Million Words Initiative

Back in the 1990’s researchers discovered something that has wide ranging impacts to anyone interested in early childhood development. Children who grow up in families struggling with poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than those who grow up in more affluent homes.

'Yes On 55' School Claim Misses The Mark

Sep 13, 2016

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

Recent radio and TV ads claim California’s K-12 public schools face dire cuts if voters fail to approve Proposition 55, a measure on November’s ballot that would extend an income tax hike on wealthy residents.

A majority of Californians believe poverty is a serious problem, but they disagree over what to do about it. That’s according to a survey conducted for our California Counts public radio collaboration.

The CALSPEAKS survey asked hundreds of voters and some nonvoters across California how they feel about a range of economic issues, from home ownership and job security to wage disparity and upward mobility.

Forty years ago, when Jerry Brown was first governor, he signed a law that dramatically changed the way California sentenced criminal offenders. Previously, under the indeterminate sentencing law, many inmates received inconclusive sentences instead of a fixed term. It was up to a parole board to decide when an inmate was ready to re-enter society.

Under the law signed by Brown in 1976, the state shifted to a determinate sentencing structure — and in the years following, lawmakers and voters piled on dozens more laws that added years to prisoners’ terms.

Black Lives Matter activists protest U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at Facebook in Playa Vista on June 30, 2016. They were angry Lynch praised the LAPD's reform efforts.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

A new survey commissioned by a consortium of public radio stations including KPCC has found Californians, like much of the nation, are divided by race when it comes to their views of police profiling and excessive use of force.

When asked about racial profiling in the U.S., 68 percent of Californians said it is a “huge” or “significant” problem in the U.S. Twenty-five percent of state residents polled said it was a minor problem or not one at all.

Repeal the death penalty? 6 quotes from 'yes' and 'no' campaigns

Sep 7, 2016

Voters will see two state measures that take very different approaches in changing how California handles capital punishment in November. Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty, while Proposition 66 would aim to speed up the process. 

On Wednesday evening, we gathered a panel of six guests from all sides of the argument. They fielded questions from the audience on topics that ranged from fiscal to racial implications.

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