government

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Something is about to happen in Clovis that hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. A small army of county employees will descend next Tuesday to administer the first city council election there since 2009. While some say it's a sign that things in the city have been running well, others say the odd election format discourages the participation of both candidates and voters.


A lot has happened in Fresno in the last eight years under the leadership of mayor Ashley Swearengin, who leaves office next month. The city weathered a major economic storm, adopted a new general plan that attempts to rein in sprawl, removed the Fulton Mall, and started building major new water infrastructure. The city also added a police auditor, started construction on a bus rapid transit line and adopted a new development code.

State Insists High-Speed Rail Remains On Track

Nov 6, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

After appearing to pick up steam this year, California's ambitious high-speed rail project hit a snag this week. Opponents are accusing the High-Speed Rail Authority of hiding higher cost estimates. The state insists that costs remain on track, although the trains may not be ready to run on time. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento.

In January, after years of delays and legal battles, Governor Jerry Brown finally celebrated the groundbreaking for California’s High Speed Rail line.

Independent Commission Calls For Big Changes In State Parks Department

Jan 31, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

An independent commission is calling for the “fundamental transformation” of California’s archaic State Parks system. That includes the creation of an outside organization to help raise money and coordinate volunteers. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Prop 47 Seeks To Reduce California Prison Population

Oct 7, 2014
Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

Proposition 47 on the November ballot would reduce some drug possession and theft-related felonies to misdemeanors. Opponents say it would put dangerous criminals back on the streets or in local jails. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 47 would change felonies to misdemeanors for some nonviolent property and drug crimes: Grand theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks, check forgery and drug possession.

California GOP Lawmakers: Build Reserve, Pay Down Debt

Jan 6, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Minority Republicans are calling for spending restraint, paying down debt and putting a portion of the state’s one-time revenues into infrastructure projects.

Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway says Governor Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats should resist the temptation to spend the money that’s coming into state coffers well above budget projections.

California Legislature Holds Joint Fast Food Wages Hearing

Nov 14, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are looking at the cost fast food jobs might pass on to state taxpayers. As Max Pringle reports from Sacramento, Wednesday’s hearing was based on a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center study.

The study estimates that more than half of full-time fast food workers rely on public assistance, which costs California taxpayers more than $700 million per year. The Center’s Ken Jacobs says the study contradicts a lot of assumptions about the average fast food worker.

California Lawmakers Adjourn for Year After Busy Final Day

Sep 13, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are done for the year.  They adjourned just past midnight Friday after a busy and at times chaotic final day – and night – of action.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

A minimum wage increase, California Environmental Quality Act changes, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, a state prisons deal – all among the hundreds of bills lawmakers passed in this last week of session.  Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says that caps a “great year” – on top of a budget that restored some of the deep cuts from previous years.

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

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make it easier for farm workers to obtain union contracts with their employers.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure passed Monday with the bare minimum votes needed – despite strong opposition from growers.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California homeowners who saw their property taxes plunge along with their homes’ market values during the recession could get some sticker shock when their next tax bill arrives.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the bad news for homeowners is good news for state and local budgets.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The number of California prison inmates on a hunger strike has dramatically dropped.  But 12,000 inmates still refused to eat for a fourth consecutive day Thursday to protest the common use of long-term isolation.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, that’s triggering an aggressive state response.

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California’s highest court has come down on the side of cities and counties in the fight over the location, or even the existence, of medical marijuana dispensaries. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Republicans in the California legislature are criticizing Governor Jerry Brown’s shift of prisoners from the state to counties – and putting forth legislation they say would help reduce the risk to public safety.

GOP Senator Jim Nielsen says the program known as criminal justice “realignment” needs to be scrapped.

“It unleashed an unprecedented crime wave affecting everyone in the state of California, and I’ll argue no bill ever passed by this legislature has had more dire and severe and egregious consequences,” says Nielsen.

City of Fresno

Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin renewed her call to open the Fulton Mall to automobile traffic at today’s annual State of Downtown Breakfast.

Swearengin told the crowd of business leaders and downtown boosters that her number one job for the next four years is to rally support for her downtown plan, which includes the first major changes to Fresno’s former main street in the last five decades.

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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