Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Brown Now "Open" To New Taxes Without Voter Approval

Jun 18, 2015

California Governor Jerry Brown says he’s changed his position on taxes now that he’s been elected to another term. He says he’s open to new taxes that would fund road maintenance and health coverage for low-income Californians. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Brown in 2010 TV ad: “I’m Jerry Brown. California needs major changes…”

It was a core promise of his 2010 campaign:

Brown in 2010 TV ad: “…and no new taxes without voter approval.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has appointed a new person to head the regulatory agency in charge of oil and gas extraction in California. David Bunn will head the Department of Conservation, replacing former director Mark Nechodom who resigned earlier this month.

The department has been at the center of intense scrutiny over its regulatory oversight on everything from fracking to the illegal injection of oilfield wastewater water into federally protected aquifers.

Brown, California Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal

Jun 16, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have reached a state budget deal.

The $115 billion general fund spending plan relies on the governor’s conservative revenue estimates. But it also includes money for some of lawmakers’ top priorities, including child care and higher education.

The governor called negotiations “strenuous” but says the budget is sound.

Brown: “All in all, I’d say it’s been difficult but very productive, and certainly I’m glad that we got this far.” 

Joe Moore/ Valley Public Radio

On the final day of budget negotiations, the Fresno City Council has an additional $4 million to spend.

The city is getting the additional money from a one-time fund from the state.

The city council voted to spend it on a variety of projects such as updating the parks master plan, re-painting the art museum, and putting one million away in reserve.

During discussion of the budget, Council president Oliver Baines said it is refreshing to have a stable growing revenue.

File Photo

The Chief of the Fresno Police department is asking for more help to fight a rising rate of some crimes in the city. Fresno Police chief Jerry Dyer says it is increasingly difficult to attract people to law enforcement.

Fresno Police Chief Dyer is asking for a bigger budget to hire up to forty more police officers to patrol the city’s streets.

The department may also double the signing bonus to $10,000 to lure more recruits.

Dyer says it has becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified officers citing a national mood against police officers.

Flikr-Victor, Creative Commons

There are roughly 1,000 fewer people in Fresno County who are on Felony probation. The County Probation Chief says that is due to changes brought about by Proposition 47.

By turning some felonies, especially drug convictions, into misdemeanors there are now only about 8,000 people under county supervision compared to 9,000 a year ago according to Probation Chief Rick Chavez.

Chavez says it is not necessarily a bad thing that fewer people are on probation as long as people who are now convicted of misdemeanors access treatment for addiction.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell is stepping down. FM89’s Joe Moore reports it’s the latest move in a city that’s been rocked by turmoil, corruption charges and a state investigation into the mayor’s actions. 

Vandalism, arson, and even death threats. Those are just some of the claims made by Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell who announced his resignation Wednesday. 

Immigrant Health Care Bill Passes Senate

Jun 2, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Many – but not all – of the people living in California illegally would be able to obtain health insurance under a scaled-back proposal that’s cleared the state Senate. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara’s bill is less comprehensive – and less expensive – than previous versions. But, he told senators, this would be a vote they would remember.

Caltrans

A popular route into Yosemite Valley is about to get a makeover. FM89's Joe Moore reports on the effort t fix damage that happened nearly 10 years ago.

In May 2006, a rockslide in the Merced River Canyon severely damaged Highway 140 between Briceburg and El Portal. Caltrans eventually reopened the road later that year with a temporary detour around the unstable mountain of rock, but that temporary detour is now almost a decade old. 

Google Maps

A local organization is asking the City of Fresno to build a new park for residents in an older part of town.

Jose Leon-Barazza with the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association will ask the city council on Thursday to spend $200,000 to do preliminary work to turn a largely vacant 48-acre parcel on South Peach Avenue into a park and soccer fields.

California Budget Proposal Raises Questions Of Vaccine Bill Retaliation

May 28, 2015
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Assembly Republicans want to know if Legislative Democrats are using their state budget proposals to punish a medical group that opposes California's controversial vaccine bill.

In separate proposals for the fiscal year that starts in July, Senate and Assembly Budget subcommittees voted last week to restore six of the seven optional Medi-Cal benefits that are currently unfunded by the state. There's only one benefit they're not proposing to restore: chiropractic services.

Kern County Homeless Collaborative Faces of Homelessness Facebook Page

On Wednesday, crews from the City of Bakersfield closed down a homeless encampment on South Union Avenue that many residents had called home for years. In recent months the area had become a growing concern for officials responsible for enforcing city codes. Homeless advocates estimate that at the close, around 24 people lived in the encampment. Officials estimate that all but five found some sort of housing, either through shelters, programs or with family members.  

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Police Department is moving forward with a plan to purchase 300 new body cameras for officers. The city council approved the $2.5 million purchase today which also includes 400 TASER devices. The cameras are in addition to 100 purchased earlier this year after the city received an anonymous $500,000 donation. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in two months the Fresno City Council has voted down a proposal to start a farmland preservation program. FM89’s Joe Moore reports. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s administration had wanted to apply for a $100,000 state grant to help start the effort, which is a key part of the city’s new general plan. 

Brown's New Budget Proposal Includes Tax Credit For Poor

May 14, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown will include a state earned income tax credit in the revised budget proposal he'll release Thursday morning, according to information provided by the Brown administration to Capital Public Radio.

The proposed tax credit would benefit an estimated two million Californians in deep poverty while reducing state budget revenues by $380 million a year. It was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Office of Rep. David Valadao

This week we take a look at the world of politics with John Ellis of The Fresno Bee. We talk about John's recent article that suggests how a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding redistricting in Arizona could shake up local congressional districts, including the hotly contested seat in CA-21 currently held by David Valadao. We also talk about what candidates are already jockeying for position for Assembly and other races throughout the regions. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has voted to move forward with an ordinance that aims to crack down on vacant blighted properties throughout the city. FM89’s Joe Moore reports backers hope the effort will improve struggling neighborhoods. 

No more boarded up windows. A new five person city “blight team” to assess the problem and daily fines for continued violations. Those are some of the measures of the new anti-blight ordinance that passed its first vote Thursday. 

Faith in Community

In many of Fresno’s older neighborhoods, blighted properties and boarded up homes are a big problem. FM89’s Joe Moore reports a proposed new law aims to crack down on those property owners.

Residents say abandoned, boarded up buildings drive down property values and often attract  illegal activity. That’s why the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a new ordinance tomorrow to crack down on vacant blighted buildings throughout the city.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno's Blackstone Avenue has seen better days. A drive down the six lane strip of asphalt that stretches from downtown past ramshackle used car lots and abandoned storefronts all the way to the booming River Park area on the northside, can tell you a lot about where the city has been and where it is headed. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the structure fire that seriously injured Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern last month. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports. 

Julia Harper is facing charges of unlawfully causing a fire which causes great bodily injury. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at a press conference Thursday.

Donis: “During the investigation, Harper admitted to her responsibility for starting this fire.”

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