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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. 

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Business & Economy
11:49 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bakersfield Blaze Announce Plans for New Ballpark

A view of the proposed stadium from the northwest
Bakersfield Blaze / Bakersfield Commons

The Bakersfield Blaze minor league baseball team announced today that it will construct a new 3,500 seat stadium at Coffee and Brimhall Roads.

Team officials say construction on the facility will begin in the first quarter of 2013, and the stadium is expected to open in 2014. 

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Downtown Fresno
4:41 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

In Fresno, Downtown Planning Effort Faces Fiscal Crunch

An artist's rendering of a revitalized Fulton Mall outside the Kern Street entrance to
Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists

The City of Fresno's effort to draft a vision for a revitalized downtown hit a roadblock on Tuesday, after the Fresno City Council rejected a proposal to allocate an additional $70,000 to the project on a 4-3 vote. 

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Thu November 1, 2012

High Stakes for Jerry Brown with Prop 30

Governor Jerry Brown speaks at a rally for Proposition 30 in October.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

When the results for Proposition 30 come in on Election Night, California voters won’t just have returned a verdict on whether they support raising taxes to reduce the state’s budget deficit. They will also have handed Governor Jerry Brown a victory or defeat on his signature policy issue. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the outcome, and Brown’s reaction to it, could shape the rest of his time in the governor’s office.

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

New Field Poll Shows Prop 30 Just Short of 50 Percent

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks at an October rally in favor of his tax measure, Proposition 30.
Credit Andrew Nixon

The final Field Poll before Election Day on California’s two rival tax measures shows Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 leading by 10 points and education advocate Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 trailing by 15 points.

Prop 30 has lost support over the last several weeks and is now just shy of the 50 percent support it needs to pass. But Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo says it still has a “decent shot.”

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Judge Tentatively Rules State Can Examine $11 Million Mystery Donation

A California judge has tentatively ruled that the state can examine the sources behind an Arizona nonprofit that made an $11 million political contribution. 

The Phoenix-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership made the donation to a committee working to defeat Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission can conduct an audit to determine if the donation was made in compliance with state regulations.

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Sacramento
5:18 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Conway Says GOP Could Back Off Education Cuts if Prop 30 Fails

California’s budget calls for six billion dollars in automatic education cuts if voters reject Proposition 30 next week. But legislative Republicans say they would support reversing those cuts if the governor’s tax measure fails.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, who represents portions of the Central Valley, says the elimination of up to three weeks of school would be “devastating” – and if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, both parties should work together to find alternatives.

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Government & Politics
7:00 am
Wed October 31, 2012

State Senate Majority For Democrats Might Not Change Much

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

This could be the year California Democrats finally reach the goal they’ve long strived for: a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. We took a look at that possibility in a report yesterday.

It turns out people from both parties don’t think Sacramento’s legislative landscape would change that much. And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the biggest impact on next year’s atmosphere at the State Capitol will likely come from something else entirely.

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

More than $350 Million Raised For and Against Ballot Measures

Political contributions for and against California’s 11 ballot measures have totaled more than $350 million. Much of the money is coming from wealthy individuals and outside organizations.

The campaign finance watchdog Maplight.org found one family responsible for almost a quarter of the contributions to California’s ballot measures.

“What’s surprising is that a few individuals or wealthy organizations can control the political debate.”

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Health
4:20 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Health Benefit Exchanges Picks 'California Covered' As New Name

The board of the California Health Benefit Exchange has approved a new name and logo for the health insurance marketplace that will expand coverage under the federal health law.

Planners decided on “Covered California” after months of testing and consideration.

“I have a whole raft of staff that are saying, ‘Finally, I can get a business card," said Peter Lee, Executive Director of the Exchange, which is now known as ‘Covered California.’

He said planners used focus groups to come up with a name that resonated with a diversity of Californians.

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Government & Politics
12:34 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Democrats Hope for Two-Thirds Supermajority in State Senate

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

When California voters go to the polls on Election Day, they could usher in a change that hasn’t happened since 1965. They could give one party a two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate. Democrats are campaigning hard to make that happen. But Republicans are fighting just as hard to prevent it.

When Democratic Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani kicked off her campaign for state Senate last month in Stockton, the Senate’s top Democrat stood right beside her.

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Environment
10:58 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Jesse Morrow Mountain Project Headed Back to Supervisors

Jesse Morrow Mountain east of Fresno
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Plans for a controversial hard rock mine on Jesse Morrow Mountain east of Sanger will once again go before the Fresno County Board of Supervisors next month. The supervisors will be asked to approve the project's environmental documents at a meeting scheduled for November 13.

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Government & Politics
10:28 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Some California Small Businesses Wary of Brown's Prop 30

California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is drawing some of its strongest opposition from small business groups. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how some small businesses would be affected by Proposition 30.

James Wright owns part of a small business in Los Angeles County that manufactures manhole covers – with about 10 million dollars in sales. Wright doesn’t take anywhere near that much home to his family. But he does have to pay personal income taxes on company profits … using money from the business itself.

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Environment
12:30 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Governor Brown Says Delta Tunnel System on Track

California Governor Jerry Brown says plans to build a 14 billion dollar pair of tunnels to move water from northern California to the south are on track.

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Governor Brown estimates that it may take a year and a half before construction could begin on the massive tunnel system.

He unveiled plans in July for a system that would siphon water from the Sacramento River and carry it underground to cities and farmland in the south.

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Government & Politics
2:00 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Proposition 39: Corporate Tax Law

Next in our series on California's November ballot measures, we take a look at Proposition 39. It would change a critical piece of corporate tax law and provide more money to the state – but higher taxes for some businesses.

It was called “the most boring proposition on the 2012 ballot” by a San Diego blogger. The writer has a point. It revolves around a corporate tax formula known as the “single sales factor.” But when you consider that corporate taxes accounted for nearly 10 billion dollars in California last year, Prop 39 doesn’t sound so boring anymore:

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Government & Politics
10:54 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Brown Won't Rule Out Future Budget Cuts if Prop 30 Passes

California Governor Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

From the moment he took office at the start of last year, Governor Jerry Brown has told California voters the state needs new revenue.  But his November tax initiative, Proposition 30, faces strong opposition on several fronts and is hovering at around 50 percent support in the polls. 

Governor Brown sat down with reporter Ben Adler Thursday in Sacramento to talk about the impact of Prop 30’s passage or failure on next year’s budget. 

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Government & Politics
11:34 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Californians will soon decide whether they want to increase taxes to support public schools. Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 38.

If you watch TV in California, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’ve aired in every major market.

Prop 38 would raise about 10 billion dollars a year for K-12 schools starting in 2013, by taxing all but the poorest Californians. Behind the TV ads and Proposition 38 is wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

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Just One Breath
5:38 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

More People Dying from Valley Fever, Especially Those With Chronic Disease

Dr. Navin Amin examines Archie Scott, a patient with valley fever, at his office in Bakersfield. Dr. Amin is the chair of the family practice department at Kern Medical Center and a valley fever expert.
Henry A. Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

More people are dying from valley fever than previously thought, and illnesses including diabetes, lung disease, arthritis and certain cancers may increase a person’s chances of dying from the disease, according to a new study.

This past year, researchers have puzzled over the rise of valley fever cases. Diagnosed cases have grown from 1,200 in 1995 to more than 20,000 in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Now researchers have new evidence to consider: a study to be published in the November issue of the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

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Just One Breath
5:00 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Public Health Champion Felled by Diabetes and Valley Fever

Jeff Jue served as the director for the Mental Health Department in Merced, Sonoma, and San Francisco counties. He was considered a leader in social services by those familiar with his work before dying of valley fever at the age of 62 in 2005.

The last time Linda Jue saw her husband alive, he was in the intensive care unit in a lot of pain.

Right before doctors gave him painkillers, Jeff Jue gave her two thumbs up and smiled.

The former Merced County mental health director was fighting for his life at the time. Doctors at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto were treating him for valley fever.

Jue was starting to enjoy his retirement when it was suddenly cut short by the fungal disease.

“He had only been retired for three years,” said Linda Jue, who lives in Modesto.

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Health
11:46 am
Wed October 17, 2012

California Health Leaders Say Healthy Families Transition Prepares State for Federal Overhaul

California health leaders say moving nearly 900,000 children in the Healthy Families program over to Medi-Cal will help the state get ready for the federal health overhaul.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana Dooley spoke in advance of a legislative oversight hearing on the transition.  

“There are a number of advantages for the children in the Medi-Cal program, it does give the security of knowing where their coverage will be in advance of 2014.” 

Dooley says kids in the two programs have some of the same providers.

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Environment
11:31 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Coalition of Water Providers Agree on Delta Projects

Top, Consumnes River delta. Bottom, Sycamore Slough (south of Woodbridge Road). Both November 8, 2011. (photos by William G. Miller, Cole~Miller Photography)
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center / California Department of Fish and Game

A list of more than 40 short term projects to improve the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta is now in the hands of California agencies. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, water providers and environmentalists are hopeful some projects will finally get off the ground.

When it comes to the state’s water, there is rarely agreement. But a coalition of Delta water managers, farmers, and environmentalists has agreed on smaller projects to protect the estuary.

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