Government & Politics

News about government and politics

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.

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.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In most years, the race for state controller is largely overshadowed by contests for other statewide offices. But this year, the contest between Betty Yee and Ashley Swearengin has attracted wide interest, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Yee, a Democrat and a member of the Board of Equalization narrowly edged out John Perez for second place in the June primary. And with Democrats splitting their vote between two candidates, Swearengin, who is in her second term as Fresno’s mayor, finished in first.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

In just a few weeks Proposition 48 will ask California voters to approve or reject a plan to build a new Indian casino on Highway 99 north of Madera. Members of the North Fork Rancheria say it’s a vital importance to the future of their tribe while critics, largely backed by other casinos, say it would set a dangerous precedent for what they call "reservation shopping." FM 89’s Diana Aguilera explains what this proposal means for the county and the city of Madera.

With the November election just two weeks away, we invited two political experts to bring us the latest buzz around the candidates, from Andy Vidak and Luis Chavez to Ashley Swearengin and Betty Yee.

Fresno State Political Science professor Jeff Cummins and Capital Public Radio’s Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler joined the discussion on Valley Edition in a special election preview. 

California Supreme Court Declines To Hear High Speed Rail Case

Oct 15, 2014
High Speed Rail Authority

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of two lawsuits that challenged the way California plans to pay for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the decision paves the way for the project to move forward.

Supermajority Fight Shapes California Legislative Races

Oct 15, 2014
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

The California governor’s race and statewide ballot measures may claim most of the spotlight this election season. But below the radar, a handful of pivotal legislative races could shift the balance of power at the state Capitol. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on the battle for a Democratic supermajority.

Proposition 46 Has Physicians and Attorneys At Odds

Oct 10, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

As the November election approaches, one state proposition has drawn the most money from top contributors. Proposition 46 would raise the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the measure could change the way doctors practice.  

California Hospitals Preparing For Potential Ebola

Oct 9, 2014
US Centers For Disease Control

There have not been any diagnosed cases of Ebola in California. But hospitals are preparing, just in case. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Emergency rooms in California are now asking for travel histories from patients. The change follows the case of a man in Dallas who contracted the Ebola virus in Africa and then flew to the United States. 

Potential School District Reserve Cap Drives Debate Over Prop 2

Oct 9, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This November, California voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition 2 – the constitutional amendment that would create a state budget reserve. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, a little-known new law tied to Prop 2 has some school officials and parents upset.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A measure on the November ballot would give California’s elected insurance commissioner power to reject health insurance premium increases for people in individual and small group plans. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento explains, that policy change would be more complicated than it seems.

When the Affordable Care Act set up a state-run health insurance marketplace, it created a framework through which more than a million people signed up for health care within months. But it also created a new state agency that insurance companies must answer to. 

Diana Aguilera / Vall

It was a classic political stump speech at CSU Bakersfield Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden worked to lend some White House prestige to congressional hopeful Amanda Renteria and Secretary of State candidate Alex Padilla. 

Biden: "Ladies and gentleman, you're not going to get two better choices than the two people standing behind me, so don't let them down."

Speaking before a packed crowd at CSUB's Icardo Center the Vice President delivered a speech that hit on two major issues, immigration and the middle class. 

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.