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AARON SALCIDO / Zocalo Public Square

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

New York Times

For over 150 years, California has collectively embraced an identity as a place where people go to reinvent themselves and to remake the world. From the Gold Rush to the Silver Screen; from valleys of wheat and oranges to valleys of microprocessors and software – the Golden State’s story is one of innovation and riches, but also tension over what has been lost in the process of creating the future. 

How Can Fresno End Poverty?

Oct 12, 2015
Yellowfeather Noriega / http://survivingfresno.blogspot.com/

In 1984, Dan Whitehurst, then-mayor of Fresno, California, appeared on Late Night With David Letterman to discuss a depressing distinction: his city had been ranked the least livable in America by Places Rated Almanac. During the discussion, Letterman asked if there’s even anything to like about Fresno. “It seldom gets over 120 [degrees],” Whitehurst said.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno regularly ranks as one of the poorest metro areas in the United States. So why do people keep moving there?

The short, if incomplete, answer: Fresno is in California. And there is something very different about our state’s poor cities.

Commentary: Does Fresno's Parks Problem Make Inequality Worse?

Jul 7, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Every year, The Trust for Public Land analyzes the 75 largest U.S. cities and gives them a score based on how well they are meeting the need for parks. This year, the city of Fresno, California, tied for last place.

Commentary: Weigh Free Speech Against Other Moral Concerns

Jun 9, 2015

  The horrific killings in January at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine inspired commentators to defend speech and press freedoms as absolutes. But in this edition of FM89's commentary series The Moral Is, CSU Bakersfield  philosophy professor Christopher Meyers says free speech needs to be balanced against other moral concerns. 

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Fresno State

America’s public schools have been called a laboratory for society.  In this edition of FM89’s commentary series The Moral Is, Jacques Benninga of Fresno State’s School of Education says that if that’s the case,  teachers have responsibilities that go far beyond promoting academic achievement.

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Fresno State

What happens if you do all the right things as you pursue the American dream? You graduate from high school. Then college. You work for one employer 25 years, rising from administrative assistant to training director. You get married, and when it doesn’t work out, on your own you raise your children to become self-sufficient. You even exercise and eat right. Shouldn’t you be able to take a walk during your work break without incident?

By know you've heard that the San Francisco Giants have decided to pack up their bags and move their AAA farm team up Highway 99 to Sacramento. But the Fresno Grizzlies aren't going anywhere. Instead on Thursday they announced a new two-year agreement making them the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros.

While many loyal Giants and Grizzlies fans greeted the news with dismay or anger, Houston Astros Director of Pro Scouting Kevin Goldstein was more than amused to learn about the city's infamous FAA airport ID code. 

Commentary: Time To Give Ex-Felons Voting Rights

Aug 20, 2014

Felony disenfranchisement laws have a long history in the United States, but individual state laws vary considerably. Recently the U.S. Attorney General called on states to consider repealing laws that prohibit felons from voting after their release from prison. In this edition of The Moral Is Fresno State Communication Professor Diane Blair explores the topic of felony disenfranchisement and suggests that our own civic virtue and commitment to democracy is what is at stake in the issue.

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Commentary: Do We Have More Morality Than An Asteroid?

Aug 20, 2014
Madhusudan Katti

For many, climate change is still and unsettled issue.  Yet it is indisputable that throughout its long history, our planet Earth has undergone major species-destroying transformations.  We know this through a reading of the paleontological record that documents dramatic transformations over billions of years.  In this edition of The Moral Is, Professor Madhusudan Katti of Fresno State’s Biology Department explores whether, as a result of industrialization, we are yet again at another planet-altering brink.

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Fresno State / Jacques Benninga

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled in a case called Vergara vs. California that California education statues related to teacher tenure violate the equal protection laws of students, essentially depriving students of effective teachers by failing to remove ineffective teachers from classrooms.  In this week’s edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State education professor Dr. Jacques Benninga explores the teacher evaluation controversy and its reasonable implications.

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Commentary: Just How Much Does California Want To Do For The San Joaquin Valley?

Jul 8, 2014

It’s not clear if Governor Jerry Brown and his challenger Neel Kashkari will debate each other this fall. But if they do, there should be no doubt about the proper location for any and all debates: the San Joaquin Valley.

Commentary: What Is Death?

Jun 2, 2014

Should parents have to option to determine the definition of death for their children? Jahi McMath’s case has motivated that question, along with a host of associated ethical concerns. In this edition of Valley Public Radio’s The Moral Is, Christopher Meyers, Professor of Philosophy at CSU Bakersfield and a clinical ethicist, concludes that there are medical, scientific and moral reasons why determinations of death must be left to health care experts.

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What does it mean to say someone has died?

Earlier this month the Obama administration released the names of 55 colleges and universities under investigation for their handling of sexual assault complaints.  The problem of sexual assault and rape on college campuses is significant.  In this edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State communication professor Diane Blair says a culture change in this area will require education, and a lot more. 

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Youtube.com / Coca-Cola

With the issue of comprehensive immigration reform once again stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives, the nation's deep divide on immigration remains vivid. In this edition of FM89's commentary series  The Moral Is, Fresno State Communication Professor Diane Blair argues that it is our own paradoxical and spiteful rhetoric about immigrants and immigration that is paralyzing politicians and the nation when it comes to reasonable reform.

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Commentary: Planada Teens Organize For Bike, Pedestrian Safety

Feb 24, 2014
Great Valley Center / Flickr / Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/greatvalleycenter/

We live in Planada, California, a small, unincorporated town of 4,500 people nine miles into the croplands outside Merced. In December 2012, we joined a youth group here organized by the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program that meets every Friday after school. Although Jonathan is only 14 and Uriel is 13, we’ve become regulars at county planning meetings: We want to figure out how to make Planada’s streets safe.

I’m not talking about secession or flying Sarah Palin down from Alaska but about what may be the most important California arts event most Californians have never heard of: Fresno’s Rogue Festival. Founded more than a decade ago in the backyard of artist Marcel Nunis, the independent festival brings thousands of people from around the country and the world to Fresno the first two weekends of March for hundreds of performances in a dozen different venues.

Madhusudan Katti

America was once the scientific “City on the Hill”, investing its resources and its capital to improve the world’s physical, social and cultural infrastructure.  But in the 21st century America seems to have lost its moral compass in this regard.  In this week’s edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State Biology Professor Madhusudan Katti calls on all Americans to rekindle the commitment that for so long maintained America’s scientific dominance that served humanity so well.

This is a peculiar moment to be a scientist in America.

Fresno State

Is it more efficient for local and state governments to privatize provision of government services to save money? In this edition of Valley Public Radio’s commentary series The Moral Is Ida Jones, Professor of Business Law at Fresno State argues that there are hidden costs to privatization. Using for-profit prisons as an example, she connects increased privatization to higher long-term social and financial costs.

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Privatization is the buzzword that represents tax-revenue strapped governments transferring services to the private sector to save money. But does it?

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