Government & Politics

Government & Politics
12:10 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Analysis: Election Season Heats Up In The San Joaquin Valley

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Now that Labor Day has passed, election season is in full swing across California and the San Joaquin Valley is no exception. Fresno Bee political reporter John Ellis joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about some of the region's hottest races and what we can expect as the candidates race to the finish on November 4th - election day. Among the topics we covered:

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Government & Politics
5:28 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Fresno, FPOA Reach Agreement On Early Contract Extension

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno has reached an early contract agreement with the union representing Fresno police officers. If ratified by the members of the Fresno Police Officers Association, the deal would extend the current contract to 2017.

It would also include a two percent salary increase in 2015 and another in 2016. The city would pay 75 percent of employee health care costs, with any future increases shared equally between the city and the union. It would also increase the amount current employees pay for retiree pensions by two percent. 

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Government & Politics
10:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Brown, Kashkari Clash In Lone Gubernatorial Debate

The two candidates for governor of California have met for what appears to be their one-and-only debate of the fall campaign.
Credit Cal Channel

Republican Neel Kashkari got what may be his only debate against Democratic Governor Jerry Brown Thursday. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, neither candidate shied away from attacking the other.

The debate came two months before Election Day, during the National Football League season opener, in a cramped TV studio across the street from the state Capitol. Kashkari came out firing.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Governor's Debate: Kashkari Gets His One Shot At Brown

Jerry Brown (l) and Neel Kashkari debate Thursday night on Valley Public Radio
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The only debate in California’s 2014 governor’s race is just hours away, as Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown gets set to face his Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, it could be Kashkari’s best chance to narrow Brown’s lead in polls.

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Government & Politics
5:32 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Chowchilla Places City Manager on Leave

Chowchilla City Hall.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The city of Chowchilla has announced it is placing City Manager Mark Lewis on leave and replacing him with Police Chief Jay Varney.

In a press release, the City said it could not comment on the situation because it involves personnel issues. Before he came to Chowchilla, Lewis was fired from his position as City Manager of Stockton in 2006.

As for police chief Jay Varney, this won’t be his first time leading the city administration: he acted as City Manager for two years before Lewis was hired in 2011. Varney is also currently running for Madera County Sheriff.

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High Speed Rail
6:03 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

State Wins Another High Speed Rail Court Battle

Credit California High Speed Rail Authority

California may be one step away from selling bonds for its High Speed Rail project.

A California Court of Appeals has refused to grant a rehearing in a case challenging the use of bond funding to build High Speed Rail. The decision is a win for the state which is counting on selling bonds to help fund the project.

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Government & Politics
5:49 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Kern County Judge Censured for Relationship with Clerk

Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A state watchdog has censured Kern County Superior Court judge Cory Woodward for having a sexual relationship with a clerk.  The decision also states that Woodward attempted to mislead the court about the relationship.

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Government & Politics
10:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

It's "Gut-And-Amend" Time At The Capitol

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It happens every year in the waning days of the California Legislature: A bill is amended to address a completely different subject, then brought up for a vote without going through the full legislative process. It's known as “gut-and-amend.” And although the practice draws scorn from many, lawmakers insist there are good reasons to use it. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Perea Says Cap And Trade Plan Will Hurt San Joaquin Valley

Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) file photo
Credit The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California's landmark anti-global warming law will reach a new milestone in January 2015. That's when the state's cap and trade regulations begin to apply to transportation fuels like gas and diesel.

It's part of an effort to reduce the state's CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. But industry groups and the state's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office say the regulations could also drive up prices at the pump. 

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Government & Politics
6:14 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

California Bill Would Tackle Laborers' Working Conditions

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

Many California agricultural workers aren’t employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89’s Kerry Klein reports, it’s also the source of controversy.

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Government & Politics
1:00 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Water Bond Deal Draws Rare Unity At Capitol

Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers take a victory lap through the state Capitol Wednesday night after the Legislature passed a $7.5 billion water bond proposal for the November ballot.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The saying goes that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over. But a California Legislature that rarely shies away from a fight found itself in near unanimous agreement last night on a new water bond to replace the $11 billion measure on the November ballot. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

It was an issue that held the Capitol in suspense day after day. A deal was in doubt even into yesterday afternoon and a key election deadline loomed at midnight. But the end was surprisingly anticlimactic.

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Government & Politics
11:02 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Storage, Tunnels Clog Water Bond Talks As Deadline Nears

Mary Wells (left), her daughter (center) and her granddaughter (right) - the 5th, 6th and 7th generations of the family to live on the family's Colusa County ranch.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown and California lawmakers are already living on borrowed time as they negotiate a measure to replace the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot. The official deadline under state law passed six weeks ago. Any deal would have to waive election laws, and be signed by the end of this week. But two huge sticking points are clogging up the water talks, as Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.

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Government & Politics
11:39 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Rising Gas Prices Could Be Bad News For Politicians

California’s Cap and Trade program could lead to an increase in gas prices next year. That’s causing some to call for a delay. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gas is already expensive in California. And upcoming changes to the state’s Cap and Trade program could increase prices at the pump even more. As Capital Public Radio’s Katie Orr reports, that could be bad news for drivers and politicians.
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Katie Orr:  “I’m standing at a busy Arco station in Sacramento. And with regular gas going for $3.69 a gallon, filling up my 15 gallon tank is going to be pricey. And coming changes to California’s Cap and Trade program may make it even more expensive.”

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Brown Calls For New, Smaller Water Bond

California Governor Jerry Brown has broken his silence on water bond talks. He’s opposing the $11 billion measure currently on the November ballot and proposing a $6 billion bond instead.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown wants to scrap the 11 billion dollar water bond scheduled for California’s November ballot and replace it with a smaller proposal of his own. Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.
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Six billion dollars. That’s what the governor says he’s willing to spend. Not 11, like the existing bond; not eight or nine billion, like some of the proposals floating around the Legislature. Six billion. In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Brown put forth an argument of fiscal prudence for a state already 30 billion dollars in debt.

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Water
7:38 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Clock Ticking on California Water Bond Deal

Senate President Darrell Steinberg says the exact amount for a revised water bond is still up for debate. (file photo)
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are back from their summer break and facing pressure to craft a deal on a new water bond. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, time is running out.
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Legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown want to replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot with a smaller bond. Senate President Darrell Steinberg says the exact amount is still up for debate. Another big sticking point: which state agency will manage the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.  

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Wildfires
7:39 pm
Sat August 2, 2014

More Than 25 Percent Of California's Firefighting Budget Already Up In Smoke

The state of California is burning through its fire fighting budget – less than a month into the new fiscal year.
Credit Capital Public Radio

Less than a month into the new fiscal year, California has already used up more than a quarter of the money set aside in the state budget for fighting wildfires.

CalFire has spent $47 million since July 1st, out of 209 million for the fiscal year that ends next June.

But H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance says if the money runs out, the state will just turn to its budget reserve.

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Government & Politics
7:24 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Faced With Measure W, Fresno Council Revokes Water Rate Increase

Fresno City Hall (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to repeal a city water plan they introduced in 2013, after a referendum petition known as Measure W threatened to put the repeal before voters.

Measure W began as a grassroots campaign and eventually collected 5500 signatures, enough to become a ballot measure. The water plan it helped repeal involved increasing Fresno residents' water bills to pay for a $410 million-upgrade to the city's water infrastructure. City Councilmember Steve Brandau:

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Government & Politics
3:32 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Kashkari Takes Poverty Message To Fresno, Spends Week Living On Streets

Neel Kashkari posed as a homeless person in Fresno looking for work as part of a new campaign video released this week.
Credit YouTube/ Kashkari for Governor

Update: 8/5/2014
Neel Kashkari spoke with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore for the program Valley Edition about his Fresno video and his thoughts on poverty in the San Joaquin Valley. 

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Original post:

Neel Kashkari has taken his campaign to become California's next governor to the streets of downtown Fresno in a viral video attacking Governor Jerry Brown's message of a "California comeback."

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Government & Politics
6:16 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

In Kern County, Voting Rights Bill Meets Opposition

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Last week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors went on record against AB 280.  It’s a California bill that would require counties with high minority populations to get approval from Sacramento before making major changes in election procedure. 

For instance, before moving a polling site location, Kern County would need to get the ok from the California Secretary of State to ensure that it’s not discriminating against minorities and low-income voters.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez says that would be far too costly.

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Government & Politics
1:13 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors Vote To Oppose High Speed Rail

file photo
Credit California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors reversed course on Tuesday morning, voting to officially oppose California's controversial high speed rail project. 

The 3-2 vote comes just days after contractors working for the rail authority began demolishing buildings in Fresno to make way for the train. 

Since 2007, the county has officially held a position in support of the project, though in 2012 the supervisors sent a letter to the authority that was critical of the effort. 

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