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.

File Photo

The head of the Fresno Unified School District is coming under fire after claims that he instructed his staff use a cell phone app that sends messages without leaving any trace. That practice could raise ethical and legal problems for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Journalist Mark Arax was the first to report that Hanson allegedly used the Cyber Dust app which claims it leaves no record of any of the messages sent or received.

Office of Alex Padilla

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wants to increase the number of voters in the Golden State. That's why he is backing several new measures that would overhaul the state's election system. They include a new bill that would expand the state's "motor voter" provisions and another that would expand vote-by-mail and early voting opportunities. Padilla joined us to talk about those efforts and an overhaul of the state's voter database after he spoke at an naturalization ceremony in Fresno on Tuesday morning. 

Latino Leaders Call For District Based Elections

Apr 23, 2015
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Latinos make up 40 percent of California’s population, but just about 15 percent of the state’s mayors and city council members. A bill backed by the state’s legislative Latino caucus is seeking to make city governments more representative. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The bill would require some cities with populations of more than 100,000 to hold district-based municipal elections, instead of at-large elections. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The city of Visalia is getting closer to altering how they elect their city council. As FM 89's Jeffrey Hess reports, it's a move that some hope will increase diversity in city government.

The city is planning a series of public hearings, beginning in early April, to finalize the five new districts that will each elect one council representative. 

Visalia spokeswomen Nancy Loliva says the city is drawing districts for the first time to settle a voting rights lawsuit over the current system where all council members are elected at-large.

Lawmakers React to Brown's Inaugural Speech

Jan 5, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

In his inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown touched on some themes that could bring the California legislature together. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there were also signs of partisan divide.

Brown’s wide-ranging speech hit on everything from schools, to prisons to pensions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it will set the tone for the year.

Brown Optimistic, Yet Cautious In Fourth Inaugural Address

Jan 5, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A rosy look back at California’s last four years and a cautious look ahead to the next four. That’s the tone Democrat Jerry Brown struck after being sworn in for a record fourth term as California governor today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Jerry Brown spent more than half of his fourth inaugural address looking not forwards but backwards.

Brown: “While we’ve not reached the Promised Land, we have much to be proud of.”

He touted the state’s balanced budget…

It's "Gut-And-Amend" Time At The Capitol

Aug 28, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It happens every year in the waning days of the California Legislature: A bill is amended to address a completely different subject, then brought up for a vote without going through the full legislative process. It's known as “gut-and-amend.” And although the practice draws scorn from many, lawmakers insist there are good reasons to use it. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

County Registrars: Overhaul Recount Process, But Carefully

Jul 22, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The recount in the state controller’s race may be over, but that hasn’t stopped critics of California’s recount process from calling for an overhaul. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, county election officials are warning state lawmakers to write new rules carefully.

San Bernardino County Registrar Michael Scarpello spent last Friday staffing up. His county’s recount was scheduled to start on Monday. But it didn’t, because former Assembly Speaker John Pérez canceled his recount bid Friday afternoon.

Brown Calls Special Legislative Session on New Budget Reserve

Apr 16, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is throwing the full weight of his office behind his push for a new state budget reserve by calling the legislature into special session next week.  But Republicans say he’ll have to strengthen his proposal to win their support.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.