Fresno

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Two Fresno City Council members are taking a stand against what they consider to be secretive bonuses to top administration officials.

Several high-ranking city leaders were given more than $200,000 in bonuses and deferred compensation over the past two years. The issue raised the ire of the City Council because they say Mayor Ashley Swearengin did not follow city law and disclose their total compensation. Disclosure of public employee pay is required by the city’s 2010 Transparency Act.

https://twitter.com/EvanOnstot

KSEE 24’s Evan Onstot joined us on Valley Edition to talk about local politics, the row over bonuses paid out to top City of Fresno employees and high speed rail.

High Speed Rail Authority

Will California’s high-speed rail system be German enough?

That question is not a joke, as I learned last month while riding Germany’s popular high-speed rail. In fact, it’s a more important question than the ones Californians have been myopically asking for years about the costs, funding, and construction deadlines of the state’s controversial project.

Police: UC Merced Stabbings Not Terrorism

Nov 5, 2015

UPDATE: 6:22 PM - Authorities say they now know what prompted UC Merced student Faisal Mohammad to go on a stabbing rampage Wednesday, leaving four others injured. 

According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, a manifesto found on Mohammad's body during the autopsy indicates he was upset at fellow students after being kicked out of a campus study group. The manifesto contained the names of intended victims and a detailed, minute-by-minute account of his planned attack. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The CEO of California’s High Speed Rail Authority is defending the project after Assembly Republicans issued calls for an investigation into project management, following an explosive LA Times report.

The article alleges that the rail authority actively concealed information that ran counter to their projections about the project’s cost and engineering challenges.

Assembly member Jim Patterson says rail CEO Jeff Morales has not been up front about the project and should testify under oath before an Assembly committee.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno City Council President Oliver Baines says a new city-sponsored planning effort could finally give Southwest Fresno residents the community they desire. Speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, Baines say the new Southwest Fresno Specific Plan will improve zoning conflicts between residential and industrial uses, and encourage new mixed income developments in the area, thanks to an expedited environmental review process. 

Ezra David Romero

With the possibility of a strong El Nino bringing heavy rains to California, the Fresno City Council is positioning itself to take any extra water that can’t be held in Millerton Lake.

The Fresno City Council vote 7-0 on a resolution to tell the federal government that it will be prepared to accept excess water should there not be enough space in the reservoir.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Kearney Palms Shopping Center on Fresno Street just west of Highway 99 is often held up as the shining example of the potential future of Southwest Fresno. The grocery store and surround retailers thrive. But the historical legacy of institutional racism has held much of the rest of the neighborhood back. The neighborhood suffers from some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the state, and heavy pollution from industrial developments.

According to Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier, the city faces an existential threat from "vagrants" who have overrun parks, stores and neighborhoods. In an op-ed column in the Fresno Bee, Olivier calls for a new push from city hall on the issue. 

Peggy Lemaux, Biologist UC Berkeley

Two research sites in Central Valley have earned a $12.3-million dollar grant to study how the drought is triggering genetic changes in plants. The goal is to see how plants respond genetically to drought conditions and if more hardy plants can reveal the secrets of how they survive.

The scientists will work at the UC Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Parlier and the UC West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points. The focus of the research is on Sorghum which, according to researcher Jeff Dahlberg, is particularly drought resistant.

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