Courtesy Carl Bernstein

Few journalists have made a bigger imprint on American history than Carl Bernstein. Together with his Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward, Bernstein helped uncover the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED 3/5/14 - 6:46 PM

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced today that she has filed papers to run for the office of State Controller. Swearengin told Valley Public Radio she expects to make a final decision on her run by Friday.  

The two-term Fresno  mayor would be the only prominent Republican in the field. Two Democrats are also vying for the seat, current Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Current State Controller John Chiang is termed out of office this year. 

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

Feb 6, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities for the city and some of the biggest issues facing local residents, from homelessness to city finances to public safety. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On plans to raise water rates to pay for a new surface water treatment plant and replace aging infrastructure:

Office of Rep. David Valadao

Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) has renewed his call for the House to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform this year. He made his comments this week speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition.

The Hanford Republican says that the House GOP leadership should bring the bill, HR 15 up for debate. The measure would address a variety of immigration issues, including border security, a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally. 

Campaign Finance Fight Could Shape 'Dark Money's' Future In California

Nov 1, 2013
YouTube/Small Business Action Committee

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is trying to collect $15 million in penalties from two political action committees that accepted “dark money” contributions last year.  The PACs won’t pay, saying they’ve done nothing wrong.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that in this dispute, there’s a lot at stake.

The illegal donations last fall paid for ads like this from the Small Business Action Committee:

Yes on 32 TV ad: “Sacramento doesn’t work for our family.  Instead, it works for the big unions and corporations.”

Non-Profit Political Groups Must Pay California's Largest Election Rules Fine

Oct 24, 2013
FPPC - YouTube

Two Arizona-based non-profits must pay California’s largest ever election rules violation penalty. The Fair Political Practices Commission accused them of failing to reveal the donors of an $11 million contribution last year.

Ann Ravel is Chair of the FPPC. She says elections must be transparent to be fair.

“It’s very important that the true donors to campaigns be disclosed. The law requires it and it’s important to the public,” says Ravel.

On Recall's 10-Year Anniversary, Schwarzenegger's Legacy Up for Debate

Oct 7, 2013
Capital Public Radio

Ten years ago today, Arnold Schwarzenegger unseated Gray Davis in a unique election in California history.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the debate over Schwarzenegger’s legacy – and the Recall itself – persists to this day.

Schwarzenegger in 2003 TV Ad: “I want to be the people’s governor.  I will work honestly without fear or favor to do what is right for all Californians.”

Announcer: “Join Arnold and let’s bring California back.”

Crunch Time Begins for California Lawmakers

Sep 3, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature enters its home stretch today. Lawmakers have just two weeks left to debate hundreds of bills.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on some of the major issues still on the table.

The Evolution of Jerry Brown

Aug 22, 2013
YouTube & Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are voting on hundreds of bills in the final weeks of session.  And the man who will determine their fate is approaching a milestone.  In less than two months, Jerry Brown will become the longest-serving governor in California history.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on how the Brown of today compares to the Brown of 30 years ago.


The year was 1974.  Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles topped the movie charts.  Watergate finally felled Richard Nixon.  And 36-year-old Jerry Brown won his first term as governor.

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t officially announced if he’s running for reelection. But a newly released poll shows he’s got support should he choose to.

The Field Poll shows Brown has a 51 percent job approval rating among registered voters in California. But that’s actually a six point drop from last February. Still, 68 percent of rank and file Democrats support Brown’s job performance.

43 percent of registered voters would support his reelection bid if he decides to run.

GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race?

Jul 19, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

It’s less than a year until the first votes will be cast in the 2014 California governor’s race, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the campaign.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why the Republican field is shaping up so slowly to challenge Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Here’s how the race looks right now:

There’s Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party hero who announced his exploratory campaign on the conservative website Politichicks.tv

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

A new version of term limits, a new way to draw voting districts, a new system for running primary elections. Those three changes all took effect in 2012. Each was intended to moderate the California legislature. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there is hope the changes have been effective, but so far there’s no proof.

New lawmakers are frequently sworn in at the California State Capitol. But the class taking the oath of office last December faced a different legislative future from classes who came before them.

Andy Vidak

On Tuesday night Hanford Republican Andy Vidak scored what many are calling a surprise victory in the special election to replace former state senator Michael Rubio in the 16th senate district. Despite a sizable voter registration edge for Democrats, Vidak carried over 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a July runoff with the top Democrat, former Rubio staffer and current Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look at the future of politics in California, in the wake of a November election that saw Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, and Republican voter registration drop below 30 percent. FM89's Joe Moore brings us the second report a two-part series on the impact of California's new "top-two" election system. This week we learn how the new reforms may force some of the state's smaller political parties off the ballot entirely. 

This week on Valley Edition, we preview the upcoming June primary election and talk about this year's ballot measures and candidates. We also debate the pros and cons of attachment parenting with moms and with an expert in child development. And finally we get a preview of this year's Nights in the Plaza Friday night concert series at Arte Americas in Fresno.

On Valley Edition May 15, 2012: