governance

Environment
11:42 am
Tue April 30, 2013

As 'Fracking' Debate Heats Up, Weighing Risks Key to Possible Monterey Shale Boom

Much of the Monterey Shale formation lies beneath the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Could California be on the verge of a new gold rush? That’s the finding of a new study from USC about the potential economic impact of oil that lies deep beneath the Central Valley, known as the Monterey Shale. But extracting that oil isn’t easy, and it would require the use of a number of advanced techniques, including hydraulic fracturing.  And that’s attracted concerns from environmental groups and state regulators. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports on some recent developments in the fracking debate.

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Government & Politics
6:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

State to Delay Sending Residents Fire Protection Bills

Credit Cal Fire

The state of California is putting a temporary halt to sending out new bills to some rural homeowners in the enforcement of a controversial fire prevention fee.

The delay comes as CAL Fire is sorting through a backlog of thousands of appeals from mostly foothill and mountain residents. The state was planning to send out another round of bills in April.

Some 87,000 residents have already appealed the fee. It's unclear when the state will clear the backlog in appeals and send out new bills. 

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

City of Fresno, SPCA Look For Another Animal Control Extension, Long Term Fix

Beth Caffrey, director of community relations for the Central California SPCA
Credit CCSPCA

It’s a Saturday morning and they are serving up pancakes at the Central California SPCA in Fresno.

It’s a fundraiser to help support one of the organizations new programs called “Snip N’ Chip.” It’s a low cost spay and neuter service for low-income pet owners.  Central California SPCA Executive Director Linda Van Kirk is happy with the turnout.

“Well, look at the crowd out there. It’s going absolutely fantastic. We are expecting a crowd of 500 to 600 this year versus the 300 we had last year, so we are ecstatic,” says Van Kirk.

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Just One Breath
10:29 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Valley Fever Advocates See Hope For New Funding, New Laws

Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, is interested in supporting valley fever research at UC Merced.
Sean Work The Californian

For Central California families impacted by valley fever, it seemed like the long-ignored disease was finally gaining attention.

"Good afternoon everyone," said former State Senator Michael Rubio, as he welcomed people to a town hall meeting on valley fever, held last fall in Bakersfield. "I want to thank you for participating and joining us."

"My goal is to listen today and then capture a handful of action items, so that we can go back to Sacramento and introduce some legislation to move the ball forward on this very important subject."

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Government & Politics
11:08 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Why Unions Oppose Overhauling CEQA

Unions, environmental groups, Democratic lawmakers and others hold a Capitol news conference Tuesday to oppose efforts they say would weaken the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The coalition of groups that will fight efforts in the state legislature this year to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act is taking shape.  It includes environmental groups, some Democratic lawmakers … and labor unions.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why unions are on this side of the CEQA debate.

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Development Watch
9:15 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Fresno County To Allow Developers to Select Their Own Environmental Consultants

Developers in Fresno County will soon be able to hire firms of their own choosing to study the environmental impacts of proposed projects. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the new policy Tuesday on a 5-0 vote, saying that it will speed up the development process, and help to create jobs.

Until now, developers would pay the county for the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR). The county would then issue a "request for proposal" to environmental consulting companies, a selection process that can take nearly half a year to complete. 

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Valley Edition
1:00 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

On Valley Edition: Fresno's Finances; Obesity & Soda; Eco-Friendly Art & Art Américas

Fresno City Manager Mark Scott joined host Juanita Stevenson to talk about the city's budget crisis. (file photo)
Credit City of Fresno

On this week’s Valley Edition, host Juanita Stevenson takes a look into whether a tax to pay for public safety is right for the City of Fresno. Stevenson begins with a report from the South Valley discussing the City of Visalia’s decision to implement a public safety tax and whether Fresno should follow suit.

Joining a conversation about a possible public safety tax and the state of Fresno’s finances are Fresno City Manager Mark Scott and Fresno Bee Editorial Page Editor Bill McEwen.  

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Pension Reform
5:36 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Proposed Pension Exemption for Some California Union Members Prompts Debate

Dem. Asm. Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville/Salinas)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The author of a bill that would exempt 20,000 California union members from last year’s pension overhaul is defending the measure against criticism that it breaks a promise to voters who just approved tax increases. 

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo says he introduced the bill because of a conflict between the new state pension law and U.S. labor law that applies to 20,000 local and regional public transit workers.  As a result, he says, $2 billion in federal transportation funds are at risk.

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Government & Politics
3:41 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Fresno, Bus Driver Union At Odds Over Work Rules, Pay Cut

A Fresno Area Express bus at Roeding Park (file photo)
Credit Federal Transit Administration

Drivers who operate the city of Fresno’s bus service, known as Fresno Area Express will tell you that despite that some may thing, theirs is not a cushy job.

"It’s the equipment, it’s riding in a seat. You’re constantly bouncing up and down, you’re constantly turning the steering wheel. There’s a number of knee problems, shoulder problems, hand problems, by repetitive motion,"  says Rick Steitz, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1027.

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Government & Politics
10:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Brown Budget Proposal Marks New Era at Capitol

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks to reporters as he unveils his proposed budget.
Pauline Bartolone Capital Public Radio Network

Governor Jerry Brown’s new California budget proposal marks an end to the crippling deficits that have plagued California for years.  It’s also an attempt to make major policy changes – without big increases in spending.  But the governor’s message of fiscal restraint could find a warmer reception from Republicans than from his fellow Democrats.  Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler and Amy Quinton bring us this two-part report from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
7:19 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

New Council Members Take Oath, Mayor Hits Back At Union Critics

New Fresno City Council member Steve Brandau was sworn in today at City Hall
Credit City of Fresno

Today was swearing-in day for a new crop of elected officials at Fresno City Hall. Two new council members, Paul Capgriolio representing District 4 and Steve Brandau representing District 2, were sworn in for the first time, as well as Lee Brand who was reelected to represent District 6.

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Valley Edition
10:41 am
Tue December 11, 2012

On Valley Edition: Trash Talk; Pharmacy School; Future of the Local Cinema

This week on Valley Edition, Juanita Stevenson reports on plans by the city of Fresno to privatize residential solid waste. We also talk with Dan Stone of National Geographic who recently wrote about the city's recycling efforts, and find out why Fresno is one of the nation's leaders in this area. 

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Government & Politics
10:38 am
Tue December 11, 2012

In Fresno, Privatizing Trash Pickup Ignites Controversy

Credit City of Fresno Public Utilities

It is a dirty job, picking up the trash of Fresno’s residents.

But it is also a job that has afforded 58 year old Joe Hill a decent middle income salary. Those at the top of the scale can make $22 an hour.

“I have a good job. I make a decent wage, but I don’t feel I am overpaid. I praise god for the job I have and how much I make. And I know there’s lots of people who make a lot less, but it’s not excessive,” says Hill.

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Valley Edition
1:40 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

On Valley Edition: What's the Future for the GOP; F.E.R.N.; Christmas At Kearney

This week on Valley Edition we look at the future of politics in California, in the wake of a November election that saw Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, and Republican voter registration drop below 30 percent. FM89's Joe Moore brings us the second report a two-part series on the impact of California's new "top-two" election system. This week we learn how the new reforms may force some of the state's smaller political parties off the ballot entirely. 

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Governance
1:09 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

New "Top Two" Election System Causes Problems For Smaller Political Parties

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series on the impact of California's new top-two election reform.

When California voters approved Proposition 14 in 2010, supporters hailed it as a way to make many races for Congress, the Legislature and state offices more competitive, thanks to a new top-two election system.

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Governance
5:02 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Electoral Reforms Led to More Close Races, Experts Say

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Now that the dust has settled after this month's general election, political observers from across the state are busy examining the results to see just what effect California's efforts at redistricting and electoral reform had in their first full test at the ballot box. Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore reports that in same cases, the result is too close to call. 

For most California voters, the trip to the ballot box this November looked much like it always has, albeit with longer lines at some polling places and a record number of "vote by mail" ballots.

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Valley Edition
3:01 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

On Valley Edition: Top Two Primary Aftermath; Homeless Housing; Farber Gift

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about how the state's new electoral reforms worked in real life following this month's election. Did the "top two" primary make the general election candidates more moderate and contests more competitive? Or did little actually change? Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore brings us a special report. 

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Election 2012
10:45 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Proposition 31: Changing the Budgeting Process

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

Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 31. The measure would change California’s budgeting process. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it would do much more than that.

Proposition 31 has been criticized for not going far enough to change California’s fiscal environment, for being too complex, and for its possible unintended consequences. James Mayer is the Executive Director of California Forward which is pushing Proposition 31.

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Government & Politics
6:49 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

One Year In, Too Soon to Evaluate Prison Realignment

Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

It’s been one year since Governor Jerry Brown shifted responsibility for low-level offenders in California from the state to counties.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, experts say it’s too soon to truly assess the impact of the governor’s “realignment” program.

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Government & Politics
6:49 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

City of Fresno to Study Police, Sheriff Consolidation

Council member Lee Brand speaks on behalf of a plan to study police and sheriff's department consolidation

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to spend $50,000 to hire a consultant who will examine the possibility of consolidating city and county law enforcement. The council also established a special sub-committee to examine the issue.

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