Valley News

Around The Valley

Harder delivers $963,000 for Stockton public safety Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA-9) has garnered $963,000 for the Stockton Police Department. The money will go to the department’s Public Safety Program. With staff shortages threatening officer safety and timely responses to calls, the Stockton Police Department will apply new technology, including advanced license plate readers, to enhance public safety and improve quality of life for Stockton residents. Read more

Should fish have water? AG districts say “no” Agricultural water districts have filed an appeal to a judge’s order that the Kern River should have enough water for fish. Ironically, the AG users have argued that the order did not take into account all the various interests involved in Kern water use. Actually, the ruling was based on “Public Trust” doctrine filed by Bring Back the Kern and Kern River Parkway Foundation, along with the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon Society. In other words, the original judgment included the public interest as a legitimate beneficiary of Kern water use. Read more

275 workers to lose jobs in Fresno County
Closure of a garlic and onion processing plant in Fresno County will cost 275 jobs. The plant, located in western Fresno County near Firebaugh, was one of a few major processors of garlic and onions throughout California. In 2022, garlic was Fresno County’s ninth most valuable crop, bringing in almost $352 million. Onions produced $79 million on 10,780 harvested acres. Read more

Valley farmworkers find new labor laws give and take New labor laws have been a mixed blessing for Valley farmworkers. While some have benefitted from laws that expand the definition of overtime, others have found their wages and earnings have decreased. Overall, the effect of the new laws appears positive, but some farmworkers ended up earning less because they’re now working fewer hours. Read more

Tiny homes for ill and homeless in Modesto
A few seriously mentally ill and addicted homeless people will find shelter and services at the new homeless village on 9th and D streets in Modesto. With design and build features from Dignity Moves, based in San Francisco, the small village will be serviced by Stanislaus County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. The last Point-in-Time count for Modesto’s homeless population found over 1600 homeless people in Modesto, with well over half that total without shelter. Read more

Kern nut farmer protests $30 million penalty for pumping groundwater
Eastern Kern County is a desert that turned into a lucrative orchard after farmers planted pistachio trees there. Those pistachios were sustained by groundwater, not unlike nut orchards throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Now, after implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), farmers who fail to observe sustainable groundwater practices face mounting fines and penalties for overpumping. One such business, Mojave Pistachios, has protested payment of the $30 million penalty is owes for pumping without authorization, saying the fine will put it out of business. Read more

What’s behind Alvarado-Gil-Condit flap?
California State Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil has accused Stanislaus County Supervisor Channce Condit and his father of conspiring to acquire funding for infrastructure improvements in Condit’s south Modesto district. Among the more bizarre aspects of the controversy is Alvarado-Gil’s participation in a celebration of the $5 million dollar funding last year. The celebration included photographs of Alvarado-Gil and Condit holding a giant replica check for $5 million dollars to represent the acquisition. An added wrinkle to the controversy centers on Chad Condit, Channce Condit’s father. Chad Condit was Alvarado-Gil’s Chief of Staff when the acquisition was made. All in all, it’s a puzzling story with many inexplicable gaps in the narrative. According to Stanilaus County CEO Jody Hayes, the money is still in county coffers. Read more

Lodi grapevines removed as glut lowers prices
Lodi is one of the premier grape-growing regions in the world. Less renowned than  Napa/Sonoma producers, Lodi winemakers are nonetheless famous worldwide for voluminous production and niche wines like Zinfandel. Recently, however, Lodi grape-growers have been pulling out vineyards as falling demand for wine has made grape production a losing proposition. Read More

82-year-old driving instructor from Modesto in NYT story
82-year-old Gil Howard never dreamed that his retirement would include long days teaching Afghan women how to drive, but that’s how things worked out. The former professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey thought his retirement would feature a lot more gardening; however, his interest in the plight of Afghan immigrant women who needed to learn to drive for family needs like groceries and other necessities led him to offer free driving instruction. Read More

Congressman Harder and four others stand against Delta Tunnel
California Congressman Josh Harder has taken a strong stand against Gavin Newsom’s Delta Tunnel proposal. Harder and four other congress members have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the project based on alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Read More

New Friant-Kern Canal already sinking says lawsuit
When a ten-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal had to be replaced due to extreme subsidence that had reduced its capacity to deliver water, insiders knew the new structure would probably be subject to the same subsidence as the old one, they just didn’t expect the sinking effect to be so severe. Now they know. Read More

San Joaquin Valley to lose over 500,000 acres of farmland?
Shrinking surface water supplies and depleted aquifers throughout the San Joaquin Valley have led to forecasts that the Valley could be losing over half-a-million acres of farmland in the near future, with most of the loss in Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties. The forthcoming losses were described during a seminar at the 57th Annual World Ag Expo in Tulare County. Read More

Do fish need water? Some say no…
Peter Drekmeier, Policy Director for the Tuolumne River Trust, has a difficult job. He’s spent years trying to convince people that fish, and especially salmon, need water. It would seem obvious to most everyone that fish without water die, but most everyone is not involved in the ongoing fight between the various interests that claim water from the Tuolumne River belongs to them and them only — forget the fish. Read More

Duarte and McClintock support Jordan for Speaker
In one more sign that the Republican Party has become the willing tool of Donald Trump’s totalitarian dreams, Tom McClintock and John Duarte supported Jim Jordan in a recent vote for Speaker of the House. Jordan, who John Boehner has described as a “legislative terrorist” has been one of Trump’s point men and a staunch election denier since the orange man ascended to the highest office in the land. Read More

Valley water everywhere and still dry wells
In one of many ironies that have seeped into Valley lives, those who pump groundwater throughout the Tulare Lake region may be saddled with penalties if they keep pumping, which they are almost sure to do, depending on the prices of commodities like grapes, almonds and pistachios. Tulare Lake, that vast body of water which once made it the largest lake west of the Mississippi, reappeared during last year’s heavy rains. Read More

Valley homeless numbers continue to rise
Continuing a Valley-wide trend, homeless numbers in Fresno and Madera Counties showed a seven percent increase from the 2022 Point in Time Count. The 2023 Count registered a total of 4,493 homeless people in the two counties, after counting 4,216 the previous year. Of that total, 1,431 were staying in emergency shelters. Read More

California legislators join Congressman Harder in Delta Tunnel opposition

Congressman Josh Harder isn’t the only lawmaker providing stiff opposition to Gavin Newsom’s Delta Tunnel proposal. A host of California legislators are also balking at the Governor’s attempts to ram the proposal through the budget process through “trailer bills” that avoid the usual scrutiny by the peoples’ elected representatives. Read More

Duarte may face a Republican challenger
John Duarte’s narrow victory over Adam Gray in the 2022 race for California Congressional Disrict 13 may not protect him from a challenge by a fellow Republican. As one of two votes against the Secure the Border Act, Duarte has angered Republicans who see the border wall as a key campaign issue for 2024. Read More

Josh Harder challenged by Ripon Pastor in Congressional District 9
California Congressman Josh Harder has been a Republican target ever since he upset incumbent Jeff Denham in 2018. In 2020, he was challenged by Ted Howze, who lost support from the Republican Party after supposed racist remarks on social media. Howze also had conflicts about his actual place of residence, described variously as Stockton or Turlock. Read More

Save Mart employees sue after broken promises
In one of the more brazen cases of corporate malfeasance, the Save Mart corporation broke promises to long-term employees about providing health and other benefits. Now, many of those employees have brought a class-action lawsuit against their former employer. Read More

Madera Community Hospital files for bankruptcy
In yet another sign of the health care crisis throughout the San Joaquin Valley, Madera Community Hospital filed for bankruptcy April 8. The hospital’s closure last December resulted in the loss of 106 hospital beds and over 700 jobs. Read More

Kevin McCarthy sinks even lower
Kevin McCarthy, arguably the most powerful politician in the San Joaquin Valley, keeps achieving new standards of political and personal malfeasance. McCarthy’s test of character came during and after the January 6 Insurrection in 2021. Faced with a choice between telling the truth and upholding the Constitution or kissing Donald Trump’s fat ass in an act of servile cowardice, McCarthy chose the ass. Since then, he’s sunk even lower. Read More

Stanislaus County gets another failing grade
When the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury gave the county failing grades on its response to homelessness, it was only one of several markers that county leadership is floundering. The latest bad mark comes from the county’s low participation figures in  California’s dual-enrollment program, which enables high school students to take college classes before they graduate high school. Read More

For Kevin McCarthy, groveling might not be enough
Kevin McCarthy’s abject surrender to Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021 Insurrection might not be enough. Amidst a weaker than expected midterm campaign, Republican extremists are already sending messages that McCarthy’s willing servitude to Trump is no guarantee he will become Speaker should Republicans eke out a House victory. Read More

McCarthy/Gingrich tag team bodes ill for America
Kevin McCarthy, the Valley politician willing to sell his soul to be Speaker of the House, spent the last weekend before the November 8 election campaigning with Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s flair for self-promotion and today’s ever-lower standards of political discourse have enabled him to hang around as an eminence grise of the Republican Party, despite being reviled by fellow party members during his term in Congress. Gingrich’s bomb-throwing assaults on the nation’s institutions and standards of fair play in the early 90s now look like early portents of today’s political jungle of lies, lawlessness, and lib-baiting that have replaced the party platform. ReadMore

Valley town will soon be out of water
Coalinga, a small Valley town tucked away on the edge of the way to somewhere else, will soon run out of water. Located southeast of Salinas, west of Visalia and north of Lost Hills and Blackwell’s Corner, Coalinga is home for farmworkers employed by Stewart Resnick’s Paramount Farms, employees at a state hospital for the mentally ill, cowboys, and oil workers. Total population is 17,000. With fire hydrants spewing dirt and some residents painting their lawns green, Coalinga is technically already out of water, at least based on the ratio of demand to reliable delivery. ReadMore

Congressman Josh Harder’s bill to stop the Delta Tunnel
Though he denied it, former Congressmember Jeff Denham voted in favor of the California Water Fix and Delta Tunnels whenever he had a chance. He had to if he wanted to stay in favor with the Metropolitan Water District and Kevin McCarthy, whose political power comes from land barons like Stewart Resnick, the Boswell Corporation, and John Vidovich, all of whom wring dollars out of northern California water sources and tuck them away in their southern California and Bay Area pockets while continuing to pump the last drops from Valley aquifers. ReadMore

Former Valley Congressman indicted for fraud
TJ Cox, who served one term in the California Congressional District now represented by David Valadao, was arrested August 16 for fraud related to several businesses he was involved in prior to his term in Congress from 2018 to 2020. Cox is accused of laundering money and diverting funds from the businesses, as well falsifying documents in order to obtain a loan now in default for $1.28 million. Read More

Modesto near rock bottom in education rankings
Only four cities of similar size rank lower than Modesto in educational achievement, according to a new study published in WalletHub. The study ranked 150 cities throughout the United States. Two of the cities with lower rankings, Visalia and Bakersfield, are in the San Joaquin Valley. Two more San Joaquin Valley cities, Stockton and Fresno, are in or on the line of the bottom ten in ranking, with Stockton at #144 and Fresno #139. Read More

Allegations of affairs rock popular Assemblymember Flora
Republican Heath Flora is often considered one of the Valley’s most secure office holders. The Assemblyman from Ripon went unchallenged in this year’s primary election, and has been top-listed as the local Republican most likely to win a seat in the House of Representatives should he ever choose to run. Now, accusations of infidelity and multiple affairs threaten the political future of the popular firefighter. Read More

Mensinger to step down from MID Board
Long time Modesto Irrigation District Board Member John Mensinger will not run for another term. Citing a desire to turn over management of the company business to his son, Mensinger said in a public statement that he and his wife would like to spend more time in England and Europe. His wife was born in England. Mensinger’s departure had been rumored for a few months, but he didn’t announce until July 5. Read More

Stanislaus County cities to receive larger tax share
Since 1996, Stanislaus County has received 70% of property tax revenue while cities within the county receive only 30%. That gross imbalance has been a major reason the county’s cities have had to reduce services and defer maintenance of infrastructure. Under a new agreement, cities and the county would split tax revenue equally. Read More

Former Modesto Councilmember rips Stanislaus County Government
In a point by point review of Stanislaus County Government, Bruce Frohman offers convincing evidence that a dearth of leadership and action has left county residents with a huge shortfall of services, despite a budget surplus of over a quarter billion dollars. Frohman cites bad roads, inadequate services for the mentally ill, and a burgeoning population of homeless people with nowhere to go as among the many failings of a government flush with money but short on performance. Read More

Foster Farms put profits over people during Covid
According to a recently released Congressional Report, “Foster Farms worked with Trump administration officials to keep workers in unsafe conditions at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.” The report claims Foster Farms and other meatpacking firms used Trump administration officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help keep employees working under hazardous health conditions. Read More

Lyin’ Kevin McCarthy put power over principle and country
No one should be surprised that Kevin McCarthy’s lust for power enables lies. His ambition to be Speaker of the House is well documented. What is surprising is the scope and magnitude of the lies. It now turns out that McCarthy was so angered by the January 6 Insurrection he was ready to support impeachment of Donald Trump on the grounds that Trump had incited a violent movement to overturn a presidential election. Read More

Faithful Trump flunkey flounders in flailing fail at TRUTH Media
How long before Devin Nunes is out of work? The fake farmer left the House of Representatives last year to work for Donald Trump on the launch of Truth social, an internet platform that was touted as a serious rival to Twitter and Facebook, both of which banned Trump for harm caused by his serial lying about everything from Covid 19 to the January 6 Insurrection. The platform has never really gotten off the ground. Read More

Sierra snowpack just 38% of average
With the looming prospect of a torrid summer and low reservoir levels, recent measures of the Sierra snowpack offer yet another warning sign that climate change will bring about huge alterations in the California economy, and especially in the San Joaquin Valley, where agriculture is the driving economic force. Exhausted groundwater basins and cutbacks on state water allocations have already resulted in fallowing tens of thousands of acres of Valley farmland and many experts believe that the final tally for lost agricultural lands will be well over 500,000 acres. Read More

Hernandez vs Harder? Forget about it
Jose Hernandez, the former astronaut who took a beating from Jeff Denham last time he ran for congress is apparently considering a run against Josh Harder. Why Hernandez, a fellow Democrat, would choose a run against Harder is anyone’s guess. In addition to having been one of the few candidates on earth who could have taken out Denham, Harder has been a popular and very well-funded Democratic stalwart ever since his 2018 upset win over the Republican most thought invincible. Read More

Valley counties running dead last in boosted residents
Once again, San Joaquin Valley counties have the distinction of leading the state in vaccine resistance. The big three leaders — Stanislaus, Merced and Mariposa — where fewer than 26% of residents have received booster shots, are worse than San Joaquin County (27.35%) by only a few percentage points. California as a whole has a dismal record for boosters; despite crowded hospitals and rising infection and death rates from the Omicron variant, state residents seem to be suffering from vaccine and Covid fatigue. Read More

Truth may mean the end for David Valadao
David Valadao was one of only ten Republican Congressmembers who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection of 2020. Today, Republican voters in Valadao’s hometown of Hanford are still fuming about the vote and determined to see him out of office, despite his support for almost all of Trump’s policy positions. Read More

Bee finally mentions the unmasked supervisor
After repeatedly ripping Turlock School Board Trustee Jeffrey Cortinas for his refusal to wear a mask during meetings, the Modesto Bee has  finally  mentioned that Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow appeared bare-faced at a recent board meeting. In fact, Withrow has defied mask orders and his own public health officer since the beginning of the pandemic. Read More

Waste to energy? Just another toxic pipedream
Touted as a marvel of sustainable energy production that would turn trash and garbage into clean electricity, Stanislaus County’s biomass incinerator sparked controversy from the very beginning, when plans to site a huge dump nearby sparked protests from concerned Valley residents, especially those in the City of Patterson who felt threatened by the massive project. Read More

Modesto among worst Valley cities for Covid death rate
Modesto and Stanislaus County continue to do worse than the national average for controlling Covid-19. The most recent statistics show Modesto’s Covid infection rate is 14% worse than the national average. California’s San Joaquin Valley has been a Covid hotspot since the outbreak first appeared in the United States, especially in comparison to more populated regions like the Bay Area. Read More

Valley groundwater: It’s worse than you think
Though we’ve long known that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) poisons groundwater, until recently we didn’t know the extent and severity of the damage. Recent research suggests storing wastewater from fracking in unlined ponds has had far worse effects than we could have imagined. It is bad enough that industrial agriculture has drained Valley aquifers so severely that many will never recover. Read More

Three Pinocchios for lying Kevin McCarthy
Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy will do almost anything to become Speaker of the House, as he’s demonstrated since groveling at the feet of Donald Trump even after the Trump-instigated insurrection of January 6. Knowing that President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” program is popular with an overwhelming majority of voters, McCarthy’s best hope to defeat it is through lies. Read More

Covid stresses Valley hospitals and ICUs past capacity
Though more sparsely settled than major cities along its coast, California’s San Joaquin Valley is once again leading much of the rest of the state in Covid-related hospitalizations. On September 3, the Department of Public Health ordered “Surge Protocols” throughout the Valley, insuring that hospitals with more capacity than those in the Valley will accept patients from cities and counties where hospitals can no longer handle the influx of patients. Read More

The well digger’s hard truth about Valley groundwater
Almost no one who truly understands the truth about Valley water is willing to tell it. Mark Arax is a rare exception. The Valley’s greatest historian is still writing the hard truth about agriculture, more and more tolling a death knell for groundwater. In addition to his genius as a historian, Arax has the reporter’s rare gift of getting people on the ground to talk. Read More

Stanislaus County educator shows rare courage and common sense
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, most Stanislaus County leaders have rejected science in favor Trumpian political posturing. They’ve consistently argued against mandatory mask requirements and in favor of keeping schools open. Like Trump, they’ve been anti-science. Their most common justification for defiance has been. “We’re different and should be allowed to set our own standards.” Yes, Stanislaus County is different. Read More

Frank Carson case an indelible stain on Stanislaus County
First there was the podcast. Now the series in the Los Angeles Times. As much as Stanislaus County authorities might wish it, the Frank Carson case isn’t going away. In fact, our bet is that Christopher Goffard’s deep dive into the framing of defense attorney Frank Carson for murder will end up as a book and could even become a best seller. Goffard’s meticulous research into the case has already resulted in an eight-segment podcast. Read More

Homeless in Fresno? Follow the Money
In a recent article in Fresno’s Community Alliance, Bob McCloskey asks some reasonable questions about the routing of federal and state money for homelessness.  He also cites numbers released by Fresno authorities that lead the reader to wonder whether those authorities have divorced themselves from reality. Read More

Marie Gallo: a champion of the arts and more
It may only be a coincidence that Modesto has such a vibrant arts culture, including poetry, music, painting and design, but it’s also more than probable that Marie Gallo’s lifelong support and patronage played a strong supporting role. There’s certainly no denying that that the city’s crown jewel, the Gallo Center for the Arts, is almost solely due to Mrs. Gallo’s endless drive and financial support. Read More

TJ bows out, Nunes swimming in oceans of cash
TJ Cox has apparently decided against running for another chance at Congress in 2022. Cox defeated David Valadao in 2018, lost to Valadao in 2020, and was considering another run for California Congressional District 21 until a disappointing fundraising quarter this year. Read More

City of Fresno fires Proud Boy cop
Last Friday, April 9, Fresno City Police Chief Paco Balderrama announced he had fired Rick Fitzgerald, an 18-year veteran of the Fresno police force. Fitzgerald had been placed on leave on March 14, after a video showed him participating in a Proud Boys demonstration. Read More

Harder among top House members who exceed expectations
Josh Harder, California’s Congressional Representative for the 10th District, has once again landed near the top of the list for his achievements in the House of Representatives. This time, Congressman Harder is ranked number four on a list of House members who have “exceeded expectations” while in office. Read More

RIP Carol Whiteside
Though she will most likely be best remembered as one of Modesto’s finest mayors ever, Carol Whiteside may have had the peak of her influence as Director of the Great Valley Center, a position she took on after serving both the City of Modesto and the State of California. Among Ms. Whiteside’s greatest passions, smart growth and sustainable land use were near the top. Read More

Mark Arax on the history of racism in the San Joaquin Valley
Mark Arax whose The King of California and The Dreamt Land are two of the finest chronicles of Valley history anywhere, offers an insider’s look at racism in the San Joaquin Valley. Of Armenian ancestry, Arax grew up in Fresno, where he was taunted with the labels “Fresno Indian” and “Dirty Armenian.” Read More

Stanislaus County still at extremely high Covid risk
According to the New York Times risk assessment tool, Stanislaus County remains in the highest category of risk for infection by Covid-19. Lifting of shelter at home restrictions may have led Valley residents to believe risk factors have diminished, but that’s not the case. Read More

Sacramento Bee calls Valley Congressmen “fascists”
Like many around the nation, the editors of the Sacramento Bee believe that elected leaders who supported claims that Joe Biden was put in office by a fraudulent election are de facto fascists. They called out Valley Congressmen and Tom McClintock for encouraging the domestic terrorism that occurred on January 6, and added that, “it’s not clear whether the GOP is a political party or a terrorist group.” Read More

Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy ascends new heights of hypocrisy
Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Republican leader of the House of Representatives, is calling for unity after endorsing false election fraud claims over the last month, including voting for an investigation on January 6, even after armed insurrectionists invaded the halls of Congress. Read More

Judge orders Foster Farms to implement Covid protection
Foster Farms’ Livingston plant has been issued a temporary restraining order and closure after a farmworkers’ union protested the lack of safety precautions for the Covid-19 virus. Nine people died and hundreds got sick at the plant as they worked without proper PPE and sanitation measures. Read More

TJ Cox ousted in CA-21
David Valadao has made a successful comeback and defeated popular Democrat TJ Cox in their battle for California Congressional District 21. As was the case in 2018, the winner’s margin is thin — Cox won by under a thousand votes, and when the last ballot is tallied, Valadao’s margin may be just as close. Read More

Newsom blunders in Grewal appointment
Gavin Newsom has compounded a week of ugly optics resulting from his bare-faced visit to the French Laundry Restaurant by appointing Mani Grewal to replace Supervisor Tom Berryhill in Stanislaus County’s Fourth District. Grewal was recently eliminated in a race for a California Senate seat won by Susan Eggman. Read More

Modesto’s Mayor raises the ante on dumb, opts for more spreading events
Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold decided to push for reopening businesses and schools almost on the same day Donald Trump was hospitalized with Covid-19. What better way to show the abject failure of Trumpism everywhere? Brandvold, a proud supporter of both Trump and Candidate for Congress Ted Howze, has been emblematic of everything that’s wrong with today’s PoT (Party of Trump) heads. Read More

Trump order tried to force Foster Farms to stay open
According to Merced County public health officials, U.S. Government authorities attempted to force Foster Farms’ Livingston Plant to stay open after a severe outbreak of Covid-19 forced closures. Merced County Health Services ordered the plant shut down in August, but were told they weren’t permitted to close the plant because the Trump Administration had invoked the Defense Production Act to keep meatpacking plants open. Read More

Covid Statistics shine a bright light on Stanislaus County failures
San Joaquin Valley conservatives love to bash the Bay Area for any number of sins, not least of which is that it’s the home of Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, both of whom are at or near the top of the Republican Party’s hate list. But when it comes to leadership in controlling the devastating effects of Covid-19, the Bay Area has a clear edge. Read More

Covid scandal at Livingston Foster Farms’ plant
A vigil last Thursday in Livingston featured speakers who offered support and mourning for workers at the Livingston Foster Farms plant who had died or been infected during one of the largest outbreaks of Covid-19 in the San Joaquin Valley. According to Merced County health officials, more than 400 people have been infected and eight have died as the plant resisted measures to control the virus. Read More

How to deal away your water rights and come out very liquid
Water sales are nothing new in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Euphemistically known as “transfers,” water sales have gotten more controversial as drought, groundwater depletion, and population growth have put greater demands on  a diminishing resource. Read More

Reedley school opens, defies public health orders
Immanuel Schools in Reedley has defied state and county public health orders by reopening. The private Christian high school was still open August 14, despite orders to close because Fresno County’s Covid-19  infection rate remains above state and county standards for reopening. Read More

Local nurse delivers hard truth about Covid-19 in Stanislaus County
The virus that just a few months ago was called a “hoax” by the President and many of his supporters is ravaging Stanislaus County. While local leaders dragged their feet, routinely disdained masks and social distancing and pushed the governor to reopen, the Corona virus was fulfilling the expectations of health professionals and digging deep into the respiratory systems of people throughout the Valley. Read More

Suit alleges Valley meat  company forced infected people to keep working
A class action lawsuit against the seventh largest meat company in the United States claims that Central Valley Meat Company withheld information about infected workers and forced other sick workers to keep working. Maria Pilar Ornelas claims she was told to come in to work while severely ill with the Corona virus last April. Read More

Merced County gives up, stops tracing efforts
Public health experts agree that tracing contacts of infected people is one of the best tactics for reducing the spread of the Corona virus. As cases burgeon, it’s becoming more and more difficult to continue tracing. In the case of Merced County, the degree of difficulty has risen to the point that the county officials just gave up. Read More

Bublak still under pressure to rescind Howze endorsement
Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak probably thought the controversy over racist posts on Ted Howze’s Facebook page would have died down by now, but it hasn’t. Bublak is still under pressure to withdraw her endorsement of Howze and she still refuses to do it. Read More

Ah You runs for Mayor of Modesto
Modesto City Councilmember Kristi Ah You has announced she’s running for Mayor of Modesto. Only recently, Ah You announced she wouldn’t run for a second term on the Modesto City Council because of family and business concerns. During her term in office, she has consistently sided with incumbent Mayor Ted Brandvold in a contentious split with other councilmembers. Read More

Harder still hoping for help on giant invasive rat
Josh Harder, Representative for California’s Congressional District 10, made history when he brought a stuffed nutria to the House of Representatives last February. The nutria, also known as a “swamp rat,” has caused tremendous damage to farms, canals, and the San Joaquin Delta. Read More

Alarming rise in cases of Covid-19 in Fresno
Fresno hospitals recorded a 61% rise in cases of Covid-19 over the last week, a surge that threatens local hospital capacity. “It’s a concern. It means we don’t have any room to absorb a very much larger number of (coronavirus) patients,” said Dr. Rais Vohra on June 26. Read More

Nunes loses to the Twitter Cow
Devin Nunes, the Trump lackey who tries to outdo Donald in conspiracy theories, has lost his lawsuit with the Twitter Cow. Nunes made the cow famous after employing the Trump “sue everyone” tactic against a fictitious persona that attacked him for being a fake farmer, among other things. Read More

$11, 579, 704 for homeless in Stanislaus and San Joaquin says Harder
California Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10) has announced that over $11 million in federal funding will be sent to Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties to help address homelessness during the Corona pandemic. $3,360,962 of the total funds are targeted for the City of Modesto. Read More

Congressman Harder receives Lincoln Award for free enterprise
California’s Congressman for District 10, Josh Harder, has been awarded the Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America award by the United States Chamber of Commerce. He’s one of only twenty members of Congress to receive the honor, which is awarded for support of pro-business policies in government. Read More

Militia? “No thank you,” say local authorities
Alarm spread fast via social media when a group of camouflaged “militia” members appeared in Oakdale Sunday, June 7.  Rumors were that the militia had been called in to provide security for a Black Lives Matter demonstration, but no one could discover who had made the call. It was difficult to imagine local law enforcement would want amateur help during situations that call for high levels of training and coordination. Read More

Thank you David Boring
Among the major casualties of common sense in our politically polarized environment, one of the most absurd is the controversy about wearing a mask as a way of inhibiting the spread of Covid-19. President Trump, with his refusal to don a mask, is an instigator and perpetrator of an ongoing war on science. Read More

Memo to Ted Howze: your party beat you up, not the Bee
Ted Howze is determined to out-Trump Trump. His latest foray into the “fake news” fever swamp has the Modesto Bee and an unnamed “insider online news blog” (most likely Politico) responsible for some of his supporters withdrawing public support. Hey Ted, the surge that broke the dam came from your own party. Read More

Merced County Sheriff’s rebellion receives rebukes from UC Profs
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, who favors a western black hat and bandana neck tie, has joined the City of Atwater in defiance of Governor Gavin Newsome’s restrictions on business openings and public gatherings. Read More

Atwater to reopen all businesses as “sanctuary city”
Atwater Mayor Paul Creighton and Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said Friday, May 15, that they won’t be enforcing Governor Gavin Newsom’s “shelter-in-place” orders for Atwater businesses that want to reopen now. Under the city’s “sanctuary for business” policy, hair and nail salons, churches and any other entities that wish to reopen will be permitted to do so without penalties. Read More

Fresno City Councilman cited for battery in reopen protest
Miguel Arias, Fresno’s President of the City Council, was cited for assault Tuesday, May 12, after protestors came to his home demanding to speak with him about the city’s shelter-in-place orders. Two of the protestors, many of whom were wearing “MAGA” emblazoned clothing, attempted to climb the stairway to Arias’s second story apartment when Arias shoved them backward. Read More

Harder proposes Coronavirus Service Corps
Congressman Josh Harder of California Congressional District 10 has proposed a Coronavirus Service Corps modeled after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. As the nation faces unemployment figures similar to those during the Great Depression, Harder is proposing employment for people who will help fight the biggest disease threat in the last 100 years. Read More

Health experts rip Bakersfield doctors on Corona
The research of two Bakersfield doctors whose You Tube claims that Covid-19 is no more dangerous than the flu has been condemned by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Read More

City of Fresno and County to coordinate homeless effort
With an agreement that should expedite and improve efforts to help homeless people during the Covid-19 crisis, Fresno’s city and county leaders have agreed to work together. While it’s not uncommon for cities and counties to go their own ways on any number of issues and programs, Fresno’s leaders have realized the multiple benefits of focusing funding and services with a joint effort. Read More

Corona infects 10 Los Banos health workers
The San Joaquin Valley in general has escaped the major harm done by Covid-19 in many other parts of the nation. Most likely thanks to quick action by Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, many residents practiced social distancing and avoided crowds early in March. Read More

Gallo and Enviro Tech step up in this time of the virus
Will and commitment are too often lacking any time, but especially in times of crisis. That’s why E&J Gallo and Enviro Tech are standing tall for their recent contributions to the fight against the Novel Coronavirus. Read More

Nunes to Trump: “See your deranged and raise two crazies”
Devin Nunes, who has established new standards for fawning and bootlicking during the Trump administration, now seems determined to outdo even the master as he’s been suing everyone he can and urging people to go out during the pandemic. Suing McClatchy’s Fresno Bee and Twitter apparently weren’t enough for the congressman from the southern San Joaquin Valley as he’s now gone after CNN, The Washington Post, The Campaign for Accountability and several more. Read More

Lyons exits Newsom administration
Modesto rancher and developer Bill Lyons has left his position as Agricultural Liaison in the Newsom administration. His abrupt resignation was announced on February 25 and sparked speculation that he’d left because of the growing discord between Governor Newsom and President Trump, who has promised more water to farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Read More

Grewal tied to Big Oil
According to the Modesto Bee, candidate for California Senate District 5 Mani Grewal has been the beneficiary of over $500,000, “in spending to promote Grewal’s senate campaign.” The money’s been provided by The Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class Research Committee, a group funded by oil and natural gas companies. Read More

Update on fundraising for Valley’s congressional candidates
Is Democrat TJ Cox in trouble in California’s Congressional District 21? Could be, as former incumbent David Valadao has taken the fundraising lead after a huge fourth quarter during which he brought in $632,051.17. Read More

Lyin’ Ted does it again
Ted Howze, already on record for claiming he would produce evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 election and failing to do so, has been exposed for another lie. Read More

Newsom sends millions to Fresno for homeless
After visiting some of Fresno’s facilities for the homeless and mentally ill, Governor Gavin Newsom is sending $11.5 million to California’s fifth largest city as he tries to stem the state’s rising tide of people experiencing homelessness. Read More

Ceres rejects help for homeless
In a move typical for those favoring punishment over help, the Ceres City Council has remained united against declaring a homeless emergency crisis. The council rejected the declaration a year ago, when the state offered funding to those who declared a local emergency. Read More

RIP Dave Lopez
Though he was only 53, it seemed like Dave Lopez had been around forever. He was a big man and bigger presence in Modesto and Stanislaus County. A two-term member of the Modesto City Council, Lopez could easily be caricatured as the kind of back-slapping, deal-making politician of days gone by. Read More

Harder acquires money for homeless veterans
With homeless numbers rising to an all-time high and veterans especially vulnerable, Congressman Josh Harder was able to acquire almost $150,000 for 15 veteran families in Stanislaus County. Read More

Devin Nunes falls down the Trump hole
From the very beginning of the Trump administration, Devin Nunes made it clear that his loyalty to the Grifter in Chief was absolute. It now appears that Nunes may even have been, or at least attempted to have been, an accomplice in the Trump/Giuliani extortion scheme to fabricate dirt on Joe Biden. Read More

AG bill would protect farmers and farmworkers
Reliable estimates suggest almost a quarter million of California’s farm workers are undocumented immigrants. Congressmen Josh Harder and TJ Cox have sponsored a bill that would lead to citizenship for farmworkers with a history of steady employment. The bill is among a few current California proposals that enjoy bipartisan support. Read More

Local districts proposing another water sale to San Francisco?
A credible report from a source described only as “a whistleblower” claims representatives from three local water districts met on October 29 to discuss a water sale to San Francisco. The meeting included Steve Knell, General Manager from Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) and Tom Orvis, Chairman of the OID Board of Directors. Read More

Hundreds of thousands of acres to be fallowed
While Valley farmers and water agencies have a twenty year window to achieve groundwater sustainability, restrictions on pumping will actually begin next year. Gary Serrato, former General Manager of the Fresno Irrigation District, said recently that he expects “between 800,000 and 1,000,000 acres” to come out of production throughout the Central Valley. Read More

Denham, McCarthy, and Valadao received Ukraine money
Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao, two recipients of money from donors now accused of violating campaign finance laws, say they will divest themselves of the money they received from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Read More

Democrats fail to endorse Costa
Valley delegates for the Democratic Party were split on whether to endorse incumbent Jim Costa or Esmeralda Soria, the Fresno City Councilmember who is challenging him from the left. Costa pulled 49.8% of the ballots on the first vote October 6, then had a two vote margin on the second round. Read More

OtPR still the go-to on water and environment
Anyone mystified or wanting the most informed inside information on Governor Newsom’s veto of SB 1 and the multiple ramifications of the now-sanctified voluntary agreements from water districts in the San Joaquin Valley can check in on On the Public Record. Read More

Turlock considering allowing homeless tent camp
Turlock city officials are considering allowing a homeless camp for a portion of the city’s estimated 250 homeless people. Though no one thinks allowing homeless people to camp in tents at designated sites is an ideal solution, it’s proving to be an effective interim solution for people who would otherwise be in downtown streets, neighborhood parks, and along our rivers, canals, and freeways. Read More

Bad as it is, Valley air is getting better
Even though air quality in the San Joaquin Valley ranks among the worst in the nation, it’s better than it used to be. In fact, a recent study argues that the reason the notorious Valley Tule Fog has almost disappeared in the northern part of the Valley is due to improved air quality. Read More

Fresno Grizzlies losing sponsors
The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team has lost at least two major sponsors because of an ad featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a group photo with Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un. The group is described as “enemies of freedom.” Read More

Bad air costs Valley $6 billion
The southern San Joaquin Valley has the worst winter air particulate levels (PM2.5) and summer ozone levels in the United States. The northern part of the Valley is better, but still hazardous to health. The pollution has punishing effects on Valley residents in the form of high incidences of childhood asthma, heart and lung disease, and a host of other maladies. Read More

Denham takes lobbying job
Turns out those rumors Jeff Denham would run again for congress in California’s District 10 were ill-founded. Denham has joined the hordes of other “retired” politicians and taken on a job as a lobbyist—the job description won’t be much different than his role as a congressman. Read More

Newsom administration bans popular pesticide
A pesticide used widely throughout the San Joaquin Valley has been banned by the Newsom administration. Chlorpyrifos, used on a range of crops including almonds, is believed to harm brain development in babies. Read More

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