Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

Brown Talks Legacy In Start To Record Fourth Term As Governor

Jan 5, 2015
Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The longest-serving governor in California history took the oath of office for a record fourth time on Monday. And in his fourth inaugural address, Democrat Jerry Brown cited history as the basis for a cautious final-term agenda. 

Report from Ben Adler:

Cantil-Sakauye: “We’re all set? For the fourth, unprecedented term in California – no pressure! I, state your name…”

Brown:“I, Jerry Brown…”  

Governor Sets Ambitious Climate Change Goals in State of the State

Jan 5, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and environmental groups are calling the climate goals Governor Jerry Brown laid out in his State of the State speech ambitious. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, reaction is mixed on whether the goals are achievable.

The Governor wants to cut petroleum use in cars and trucks in half by 2030. He wants to double the efficiency of existing buildings. And he wants to increase from one-third to one-half electricity that’s generated from renewable resources.

Lawmakers React to Brown's Inaugural Speech

Jan 5, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

In his inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown touched on some themes that could bring the California legislature together. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there were also signs of partisan divide.

Brown’s wide-ranging speech hit on everything from schools, to prisons to pensions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it will set the tone for the year.

Brown Optimistic, Yet Cautious In Fourth Inaugural Address

Jan 5, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A rosy look back at California’s last four years and a cautious look ahead to the next four. That’s the tone Democrat Jerry Brown struck after being sworn in for a record fourth term as California governor today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Jerry Brown spent more than half of his fourth inaugural address looking not forwards but backwards.

Brown: “While we’ve not reached the Promised Land, we have much to be proud of.”

He touted the state’s balanced budget…

New Law Means It Could Be Ok To Dine With Your Dog

Dec 23, 2014
Flickr user https://www.flickr.com/photos/jillchen/ / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Dining out with your pet will be legal at some restaurants under California law starting January 1st. Steve Milne reports from Sacramento as part of our series on “New Laws.”

This new law is all about the dogs.

Yamada: “To all the cat lovers out there I do apologize. This does not extend to cats, at least at this time.”

That’s former state Assembly member Mariko Yamada who wrote the new law.

BCDOIC

Starting in 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles expects about 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver license. For many, this will be their first time legally driving in the state.

Immigration advocates applaud this change but also say there's a big concern. Some are worried they will fail the behind the wheel test since it won't be offered in the native languages many immigrants speak.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council approved a new general plan last night that for the first time attempts to but the brakes on suburban sprawl. 

Over the next two decades, the plan calls for about half of the city's future growth to take place within the existing city limits and the rest in new growth areas like west of Highway 99 and in Southeast Fresno. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the council's 5-2 vote historic, and a new direction for the city.

Scams Target Immigrants As New Benefits Roll Out

Dec 15, 2014
Kamala Harris
The Aspen Institute / Creative Commons

Undocumented immigrants are becoming eligible for more services and benefits in California. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, these developments make them targets for scams.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued several consumer alerts warning of scams targeting immigrants and their families. Harris says scams could center on the President’s recent immigration executive action or on the state beginning to issue driver licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

President Obama’s recent announcement that he will take new Executive Action on undocumented immigrants is already reverberating throughout the valley’s large immigrant communities.

The President’s executive order would affect around 4 million people who entered the country illegally before 2010, and have children who are either US Citizens or have green cards. It’s a similar order to one the President issued in 2012 regarding children who were brought to the country illegally by their parents, in that those who meet the requirements would be protected from deportations.

CA Department of Motor Vehicles

Beginning January 2, undocumented Californians can apply for driver licenses in the state. One-point-four million people are expected to apply for “AB 60” licenses over the next few years. From Sacramento, Katie Orr reports on how preparations are going.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Undocumented residents in the Central Valley are speaking out today after President Obama revealed his executive action on immigration Thursday. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, reactions to the president’s announcement are mixed.

For nearly 24 years, Lucia Aldarete says she has been living with the fear that one day she will be deported back to Mexico. The Fresno resident says she couldn’t imagine what life would be like without her three children, who were born in the United States.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Revised vote totals are in for some of the valley’s tightest political races. New numbers released Friday evening from Merced County for California’s 16th Congressional District have Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra now leading Democratic incumbent Jim Costa by 741 votes.

Costa increased his lead in Fresno County by around 1700 votes on Friday, but that was more than offset with gains by Tacherra in Madera and Merced counties.  Tacherra ended the day increase his overall lead by five votes.

Ezra David Romero

 

  

It was a good night for Republicans in the Valley with 21st Congressional District incumbent David Valadao declaring victory over Democrat Amanda Renteria and his Kings County colleague Andy Vidak leading over Fresno Democrat Luis Chavez in the state senate race.
 

“It was a fascinating and surprising evening in that California, you know the great blue state in the nation that’s in many ways is turning red, didn’t resist the red tide quite so much," says Fresno State political science professor Thomas Holyoke.

Brown Wins Historic Fourth Term

Nov 5, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As the clock struck eight last night, Brown’s cabinet and senior staff dining with him in the historic governor’s mansion rose to give the longest-serving governor in California history a standing ovation. A short while later, Brown came out to speak – and reflected on his great-grandfather, who sailed from Germany to Sacramento…twice.

Brown: “What I derive from that is grit, guts, imagination, being willing to sail into the unknown with the confidence that you can not only survive but you can create something wonderful.”

Voters Approve Three Propositions, Reject Three

Nov 5, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Besides approval of the $7.5 billion water bond, California voters approved two other ballot measures and rejected three. From Sacramento, Amy Quinton has this roundup of the how the propositions fared.

Voters said yes to Proposition 2, strengthening the state’s rainy day fund. They also approved Proposition 47, which will reduce prison overcrowding by changing felonies to misdemeanors for certain nonviolent crimes.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On a night when Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, the San Joaquin Valley's GOP leaders had some celebrations of their own. In the 21st Congressional District, Republican incumbent David Valadao declared victory over Democratic challenger Amanda Renteria. Valadao's Kings County colleague Andy Vidak also appears headed back to Sacramento in his state senate contest against Democrat Luis Chavez. 

California Voters Head To The Polls

Nov 4, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today isn’t a presidential election, but Californians will elect a governor, seven other state office holders and three-quarters of the state Legislature.

Democrat Jerry Brown is asking voters to give him a record fourth term as governor. He’s facing Republican Neel Kashkari, who led the federal government’s bank bailout program under Presidents Bush and Obama.

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler says there are several tight races for statewide office:

With the November election next week, we invited two political experts onto Valley Edition to talk about the propositions on the ballot.  Fresno Bee Editorial Page Editor and Columnist Bill McEwen and Fresno State Political Science Professor Tom Holyoke join Valley Edition host Joe Moore for a conversation about the measures including the water bond, indian gaming and more. 

http://bettyyee.com/

In a year when the lack of women in California politics has become a major theme in the November election, the state controller’s race is an exception, with San Francisco Democrat Betty Yee facing Fresno’s Ashley Swearengin. While the Fresno mayor is a familiar name to many valley residents, Yee is perhaps less well known in Central California. A former finance official in the administration of Governor Gray Davis, she currently sits on the state tax board.

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