Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Voters To Decide Fate of $7.5 Billion Water Bond

Oct 7, 2014
US Bureau of Reclamation

On November 4th, California voters will decide the fate of a $7.5 billion bond intended to improve the state’s water system. Proposition 1 is one of the most closely watched measures on the ballot. Proponents of the bond say it would provide safe and reliable water, opponents say it wrongly focuses on building more dams. And as Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, the bond has divided some environmental groups.

Prop 47 Seeks To Reduce California Prison Population

Oct 7, 2014
Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

Proposition 47 on the November ballot would reduce some drug possession and theft-related felonies to misdemeanors. Opponents say it would put dangerous criminals back on the streets or in local jails. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 47 would change felonies to misdemeanors for some nonviolent property and drug crimes: Grand theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks, check forgery and drug possession.

Voters To Decide On Off-Reservation Casino In Madera

Oct 7, 2014
North Fork Rancheria

Proposition 48 on California's November general election ballot would allow a Madera County Indian Tribe to build an off-reservation casino along Highway 99. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has announced that she now supports gay marriage. Swearengin, a Republican who is running for state controller had been a supporter of Proposition 8. She announced her new position last week at a meeting of an LGBT conservative group in Southern California. 

Kevin Gilhooley is the president of the Orange County Log Cabin Republicans. Swearengin spoke to his group last week and took questions from the audience.

Lemoore Naval Air Station will be the next home base of the US Navy’s new F-35c joint strike fighter jet. Several squadrons totaling 100 aircraft with be based at Lemoore, replacing the aging FA-18 Hornet. Lemoore beat out El Centro Naval Air Facility in Imperial County in the bid to host the jets. 

In a written statement announcing the decision, Congressman David Valadao said the move will result in new jobs and a boost to the local economy."

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to sign three immigration reform bills into law is drawing praise from local immigration experts. 

Senate Bill 1159, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara and signed by Brown, will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for professional state licenses to work as doctors, nurses, dentists, and in other fields.

Jessica Smith-Bobadilla is the director of the New American Legal Clinic at San Joaquin College of Law.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

An unusual partnership bridging across political party lines was made Friday in front of Fresno’s City Hall. 

Fresno Mayor and candidate for California Controller Ashley Swearengin is a republican. But today she endorsed democrat Fresno City Councilman Blong Xiong who is running for Fresno County Supervisor, District 1.

SWEARENGIN: “I have to say he took a fair amount of political flak from people in his base about asking for my support and receiving my support.”

Xiong also announced his support for Swearengin.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

After struggling to keep its accreditation back in 2004, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo got a boost from voters with a special sales tax. Now a decade later the zoo is again asking voters for their help on the November ballot. But as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, some say Fresno’s zoo is already being saved.

Nearly eleven years ago Angel Arrellano wrote a letter to her local newspaper.

“Dear Fresno Bee. My name is Angel and I am nine. I heard that the Chafee Zoo is having money problems.”

Along with her letter, Angel sent something extra.

Office of Alex Padilla

Californians may soon need to give up one staple of the trip to the grocery store - the single use plastic grocery bag. Governor Brown has indicated that he will most likely sign a new bill on his desk that will effectively outlaw the bags.

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:

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. 

Brown, Kashkari Clash In Lone Gubernatorial Debate

Sep 5, 2014
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.

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

Sep 4, 2014
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.

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.

State Wins Another High Speed Rail Court Battle

Sep 2, 2014
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.

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.

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

Aug 28, 2014
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.

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. 

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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Water Bond Deal Draws Rare Unity At Capitol

Aug 14, 2014
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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