Government & Politics

News about government and politics

POLITIFACT: Have Costs Dropped 'Several Hundred Million Dollars' For California’s Bullet Train?

Nov 24, 2015
California High-Speed Rail Authority

Questions about high costs have dogged California’s high-speed rail project for years.

Now, leaders of the controversial bullet train network say some expenses are, in fact, trending downward. That led Capital Public Radio’s PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols to check out the facts.

In recent weeks, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has faced criticism that it concealed higher cost estimates. Those estimates, if correct, could add $8 billion to the project’s $68 billion price tag.

POLITIFACT: Is The Private Sector ‘Unwilling’ To Fund California’s Bullet Train?

Nov 23, 2015
Califonia High-Seed Rail Authority

California’s bullet train project has faced new criticism in recent weeks. Its leaders have been accused of hiding higher cost estimates and failing to win funding from the private sector.

One recent attack by a Central Valley state lawmaker caught the attention of Capital Public Radio’s PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols.

Plans to build a high-speed rail network from LA to San Francisco rely heavily on private funding.


A Bakersfield police detective is under arrest today after he allegedly took bribes from a drug dealer. 

The FBI and US Department of Justice allege that detective Damacio Diaz accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from a drug dealer. In exchange, the FBI alleges Diaz tipped the dealer off to law enforcement activities and the confidential names of informants.

In a 16-count indictment, Diaz is also charged with retaining seized narcotics with the intent to distribute, disclosing the contents of a wiretap investigation and filing false tax returns. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

As next June's primary approaches, candidates are lining up to become Fresno's next mayor. Two have already announced their attention to run, including current Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand and pastor/community activist H. Spees. Now the community is abuzz about whether Chief Jerry Dyer will enter the race. And what about the Perea family? Both Henry R. Perea, a currently a Fresno County Supervisor, and his son Assemblyman Henry T. Perea have been mentioned as potential candidates.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A new state law means some California farmworkers are now entitled to back pay. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports a local union is working to spread the word among workers.  

The law says workers who weren’t paid accurately from July 2012 to December 2015 have the right to back pay for rest periods and unproductive time. This includes time for training, traveling, and moving from and to fields.

The United Farm Workers union is currently reaching out to farm laborers to let them know about the law before it goes into effect January 1st.

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.

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.

Valley Public Radio

On this week's Valley Edition: Governor Brown has declared a new state of emergency in California. But it’s not involving a wildfire or a mudslide – it’s actually about the massive die-off trees in the Sierra. We’ll find out what local forestry officials doing scrambling to keep visitors safe. Later in the show we’ll talk about a new opinion piece in the New York Times that suggests California’s best days are behind it. Is the California dream turning dark, or is the state about the reinvent itself once again? 

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.