Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Fifty-year-old Teresa Gomez moved to the United States as a young woman with one goal: to support her aging mother in Mexico.

For decades, Gomez has sent her mother a third of every paycheck. She organizes merchandise and attends customers at a Barrio Logan grocery store. Her mother has heart problems, and uses the money to survive in the southern Mexican state of Jalisco.

"I send her $400 every two weeks," said Gomez, who has dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship. "I provide for my mother."

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Drive up and down Highway 99 in Fresno County and you will no doubt see evidence that California’s high-speed rail project is slowly becoming a reality. While there’s still big questions about how long it will take to finish the entire project, and how the state will pay for it, the rail authority says it hopes to have trains up and running by 2024.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs?

When he explained his executive order targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ last week, President Trump described the order this way.

Lee Brand / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand took office a little less than 30 days ago, and it’s been an eventful first month. Last week he unveiled his plan to tackle one of the city’s biggest issues – substandard rental housing - conditions that in many cases are unsafe and unhealthy. The plan, which includes a baseline inspection of the city’s existing rental apartments and homes, is one of the biggest changes in years in the way city hall works. It’s also the first big test of Brand’s new administration and his relationship with the city council as it goes up for a vote on Thursday.

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Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California has a reputation for progressive climate policies, and a new study shows it’s having an economic impact the San Joaquin Valley.

 

Over $13 billion: That’s how much the state's climate policies have delivered to the San Joaquin Valley, according to a study out of UC Berkeley and the non-profit group Next 10. The group’s founder, Noel Perry, says those benefits included tax revenues, direct investment in local businesses, and nearly 40,000 jobs.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

It’s a new year, and that means a new chapter in the ongoing saga that is California’s high-speed rail project. While construction in the Fresno area is becoming more and more visible with every month, efforts to stop the project are also picking up steam in the courtroom. The center of the fight against the rail line is in Kings County, where a number of landowners and county supervisors have challenged the rail project in court, saying it violates the voter-approved Proposition 1A.

Fresno County Sheriff

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation into the deadly shooting of a sheriff’s deputy late last year. The Sheriff still believes the shooting was an accident.

Sergeant Rod Lucas was shot and killed at a department satellite office near the Fresno airport in early November.

It’s been over two years now since California voters approved Proposition 47, a measure which categorized many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. It's led to a reduction in the state's prison population. But it's also led to other issues, like the many former felons who are now out of jail, but lacking support services to transition to freedom. That's the key finding from a new investigative report called Freed But Forgotten.

www.whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama is taking big steps in his final days in office, like banning oil drilling in the Atlantic. Now both friends and critics alike are asking if he might use his executive authority for another controversial issue – a potential pardon of undocumented immigrants. But how might that work?

Valley Public Radio spoke with USC law professor Niels Frenzen about the constitutionality of such a decision and how it might play out in the real world.

Is it within President Obama’s power to issue a mass pardon of undocumented immigrants?

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The City of Fresno has a new mayor. Lee Brand took the oath of office this morning at city hall.

At precisely 9:00 a.m. in front of the city council chambers, Lee Brand raised his right hand and swore the oath of office.

“That you will take this obligation freely. Without any reservation or purpose of evasion. And that you will and faithfully discharge the duties upon which you are about to enter?” asked City Clerk Yvonne Spence.

“I do” Brand replied.

Keep your hands on the wheel and off your smartphone – for any reason.

That’s the message behind a new California law that goes into effect Jan. 1 and builds on past distracted driving rules.

Drivers will be prohibited from holding and operating their phones for any purpose -- unless the device is mounted to a dashboard or windshield. Even then, it must be activated with only one finger tap or swipe.

http://www.fresnosheriff.org/admin/sheriff.html

The fate of undocumented immigrants is the subject of intense conversation nationally. Deporting millions of people is at the heart of president-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policy. Mr. Trump now says he wants to start by focusing on undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.  But how to go about finding them? One prominent local leader thinks she has the answer and is already putting it to work.

When you are arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail a couple of things happen.

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.

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