Government & Politics

Government & Politics
12:11 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Valley Political Races Heat Up Ahead Of June Primary

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California's June primary election is just over 40 days away. That means candidates are kicking their campaigns into high gear across Central California. So what are the hot races to watch? We recently spoke with the Fresno Bee's state and local politics reporter John Ellis to get his analysis of the most competitive races including:

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Government & Politics
7:18 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Brown Calls Special Legislative Session on New Budget Reserve

Governor Jerry Brown's Director of Finance, Michael Cohen, discusses the governor's "rainy day fund" proposal with reporters at the Capitol Wednesday.
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
11:58 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Carl Bernstein: Still Searching For The 'Best Obtainable Version Of The Truth'

Journalist Carl Bernstein will speak in Fresno on Wednesday
Credit Courtesy Carl Bernstein

Few journalists have made a bigger imprint on American history than Carl Bernstein. Together with his Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward, Bernstein helped uncover the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

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Government & Politics
12:07 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Low-Income Californians Pay More State and Local Taxes Says Study

Credit Valley Public Radio

A new report says adjustments to Proposition 30 and other tax policy changes could improve the situation for low-income Californians who pay a disproportionate share of their income in taxes.  From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

The California Budget Project says the bottom 20 percent of Californians pay more than 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while earning about $13,000 a year on average. The top one percent pay just under nine percent. They earn an average $1.5 million dollars per year. Luke Reidenbach is a Budget Project analyst.

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Immigration
5:33 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Immigrant Rights Groups Criticize Kern County Sheriff Over TRUST Act

UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta speaks at a protest Wednesday outside the office of Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood
Credit UFW Foundation Twitter / twitter.com/UFWF/

A trio of farm worker rights organizations protested outside the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Bakersfield Tuesday saying that Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood should follow the law by enforcing the TRUST Act that went into effect January 1.

Marichel Mejia with the United Farm Workers Foundation and the Kern Coalition for Citizenship was at the protest.

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Government & Politics
11:23 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Governor Brown Defends Prison Practices

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks at the 25th Annual Crime Victims Right’s Rally at the state Capitol in Sacramento.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says reducing prison overcrowding continues to be a top priority. Brown talked with reporters Tuesday after speaking at the 25th Annual Crime Victims Right’s Rally at the state Capitol. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

A federal three-judge panel has given the Brown administration an additional two years to reduce prison overcrowding to court-mandated levels. The ruling was a victory for Brown who had factored the extra time into his proposed budget. But he says court intervention remains a burden.

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Development Watch Blog
8:24 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Failed Downtown Fresno Housing Project Leaves City Holding The Bag

An artist's rendering of the proposed Bastian Court development in downtown Fresno.
Credit Mission Housing Development Corporation

When it was first announced nearly seven years ago, the Bastian Court apartment complex was supposed to be an important part of a revitalized downtown Fresno. The city council liked the vision so much that they approved spending over $3 million in low-income housing funds on the project.

But now the land hat was once slated for a five story mixed-use building near the former Fresno Met Museum sits vacant, and could soon have a new owner - the City of Fresno. 

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Government & Politics
10:08 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Brown Praises Counties' Creativity In Implementing Realignment

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is praising counties and law enforcement agencies for their work implementing his landmark criminal justice system overhaul known as “realignment.”  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the law enforcement groups are lobbying the governor for a significant change to the program. Speaking to a law enforcement convention in Sacramento, the governor praised counties’ creativity under realignment in the two and a half years since it took effect.  Under the program, the state shifted responsibility for low-level offenders to counties. 

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Government & Politics
7:48 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Senator Yee Withdraws from Secretary of State Race

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Democratic State Senator Leland Yee has dropped out of the race for California Secretary of State. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the announcement came a day after Yee was arrested and charged with wire fraud and gun trafficking.

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Government & Politics
10:20 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Senate Dems Call For Disgraced Yee To Resign

State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was arrested Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to traffic firearms

Another California State Senator is facing criminal allegations. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on accusations that surfaced Wednesday against Senator Leland Yee.

In what the Senate President says sounds like a bad movie, a federal complaint alleges Yee, a Bay Area Democrat, committed wire fraud and gun trafficking. Undercover FBI agents say Yee set up meetings for them on topics ranging from legislation to arms dealing. In return, the agents made contributions to Yee’s Secretary of State campaign.

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Government & Politics
9:40 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Here And Gone: Fight Over Fresno's Cesar Chavez Boulevard Remains Fresh, 20 Years Later

Cesar Chavez
Credit Cesar Chavez Foundation

In October of 1993, the Fresno City Council voted to rename three city streets - Kings Canyon, Ventura and California - in honor of the late farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. The move was part of a campaign by local Latino groups who sought to honor the UFW founder, who had died earlier that year. 

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Government & Politics
12:36 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin Announces State Controller Run

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has announced plans to run for the office of state controller. (file)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED 3/5/14 - 6:46 PM

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced today that she has filed papers to run for the office of State Controller. Swearengin told Valley Public Radio she expects to make a final decision on her run by Friday.  

The two-term Fresno  mayor would be the only prominent Republican in the field. Two Democrats are also vying for the seat, current Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Current State Controller John Chiang is termed out of office this year. 

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Government & Politics
12:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Break It Up: Should California Split Into Six States?

file photo
Credit Flickr user jimmywayne / Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/154814511/sizes/o/

California is the nation's most populous state. Its farms feed the nation, its studios and filmmakers entertain the world, and its technology companies help define our future. But some say the state is simply too large, too diverse and too unwieldy to govern effectively. 

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Government & Politics
12:06 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

City Council Approves Plan To Bring Cars To Fresno's Fulton Mall

A photo illustration of what the future Fulton Street may look like, between Inyo and Kern
Caltrans

Nearly fifty years after the Fulton Mall opened to national acclaim,  Fresno City Council voted late Thursday night to approve a plan to replace the historic pedestrian zone with a two-way street. The 5-2 vote was the latest step in an effort that backers hope will revitalize downtown Fresno and the city's historic main street. 

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Government & Politics
2:32 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Is It Terrible, Or A Treasure? Fresno's Fulton Mall Debate Heats Up

Fresno's 50 year-old downtown Fulton Mall would be removed under a plan proposed by the City of Fresno (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Is Fresno's Fulton Mall a priceless piece of art, or an impediment to revitalization of the city's historic core? That's the issue facing the Fresno City Council later this month, as the debate to re-open the pedestrian mall to vehicle traffic heats up, thanks to a $16 million federal grant. 

On Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, we invited guests with two different perspectives to join us and talk about their competing visions for the future of this historic part of the city. They were:

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Government & Politics
8:01 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

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High Speed Rail
7:34 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

GOP Calls To Move High Speed Rail Funds To Other Projects

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects - from roads and highways to bridges and ports.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in California high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

GOP lawmakers want to take money from several different sources and spend it on road, highway, bridge and port projects.  What they don’t want to spend it on is high-speed rail.

Conway: “We’re done with that.  We’re over that.”

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Government & Politics
10:45 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Reforming California's Ballot Box Democracy

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

The year 2014 will be a big one California voters. Not only will citizens choose the state’s next governor, and who will represent them in Congress, a number of big issues will likely be on the ballot in the form of propositions. A handful of groups are currently gathering signatures right now to put the issue of marijuana legalization before voters in November.

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Government & Politics
5:42 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Bus Rapid Transit Plan Slows, But Might Not Be Dead

The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system was a major element of the 2035 General Plan.
Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

Following a public hearing last night that lasted about seven hours, the Fresno City Council voted four-to-three against two contracts needed to move forward with the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system. The high-capacity express bus system would have been funded through a $50 million federal grant.

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Transportation
5:30 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Fresno's Bus Rapid Transit Plan Faces Opposition

A rendering of the a proposed BRT bus for Fresno.
Credit Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

The Fresno City Council is set to debate a proposal tonight to bring a hi-tech express bus line to city. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, the $50 million federal grant that would fund the project is generating some controversy.
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The proposal calls for new high capacity express bus service, known as Bus Rapid Transit, to be built along Blackstone and Kings Canyon Avenues in Fresno. The new bus line would replace existing FAX service on those routes and would decrease travel time for riders by as much as an hour and a half in some cases.

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