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

Hallinan announces for Supervisor
Tom Hallinan, attorney for the City of Ceres and a Ceres resident, has announced he will run for Supervisor in Stanislaus County’s District 5, currently held by Jim DeMartini. Earlier this year, DeMartini announced he would be stepping down and moving out of the area. Hallinan enters the race a strong favorite, especially since Anthony Canella decided not to run. Read More

Marijuana and illegal drugs in Denham-owned building
Police found guns, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and butane hash oil in a building owned by a company in which former congressman Jeff Denham is a partner. Located in an industrial district in Turlock, the building is adjacent to a separate Denham-owned building used for Denham’s plastics business. Read More

Costa faces primary challengers
Conventional wisdom has always said the only way Valley Democrats can win is by leaning conservative. Thus, from Congressional District 9 on down to 23, either Republicans or “Blue Dog” (conservative) Democrats have held sway for years. But recent wins by Josh Harder in District 10 and TJ Cox in 21 may have presaged a transformation in the Valley’s long conservative tradition. Read More

Nunes sues Fresno Bee, McClatchy
Continuing a rampage of lawsuits, Congressman Devin Nunes has sued the Fresno Bee and its parent company, McClatchy. The suit alleges the Bee pursued a “scheme” to “defame” the congressman and “destroy his reputation.” Nunes has also sued the people who objected to him calling himself a farmer during his campaign for congress; he defeated Andrew Janz by a five percent margin. Read More

City of Modesto denies Straight Pride event permit
Citing the organization’s lack of liability insurance and safety concerns, the City of Modesto has denied the National Straight Pride Coalition permission to hold a parade and meeting in Modesto’s Graceada Park, site of famed Mancini Bowl and 100 years of summer concerts by the city’s volunteer-staffed MoBand. The application for a permit by the group dedicated to what it calls heterosexual Christian values ignited a firestorm of protests amid details that would strain credulity if featured in a daytime soap drama. Read More

Gallo takes the lead on community values
In a bold and unequivocal letter to employees at E&J Gallo, its leaders both repudiate the bogus pretenses of advocates of “Straight Pride,” and reaffirm the values contained in the national motto, “E Pluribus Unum.” Gallo’s statement is yet one more indicator that no one is fooled by the thin garment of camouflage that supporters of Straight Pride hope will conceal the white supremacist values of an organization that isn’t just nativist and nationalist, but homophobic, bigoted, and hateful. Read More

Books, drugs, data and more
Sam Quinones’ Dreamland has been out since 2015. It’s still the best overview of the opioid epidemic anywhere—how it got started, how the pharmaceutical companies pushed it, and how gangsters capitalized on it with black tar heroin from Mexico. Now, the rest of the media world is catching up with Quinones and offering more specific detail about the mind-staggering extent of a marketing scheme that the drug pushers—aka Big Pharma—knew was resulting in financial ruin, addiction, and death. 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

Homeless count keeps growing
Stanislaus County’s “Focus on Prevention” program is five years old now. The latest “point in time” count, conducted in January, showed 1923 homeless people, a record since the count began. The previous high was 1800. That was in 2009, during the Great Recession. Read More

Stapley scorches Modesto Irrigation District
Some of us lamented Garth Stapley’s promotion to Editor of the Modesto Bee’s Editorial page, not because we thought Stapley didn’t deserve the job but because we lamented the loss of the Bee’s best reporter. Turns out Stapley is still on task as a superb investigative reporter. Read More

Harder slams DeVos for hypocrisy
Newly elected Representative for California’s Congressional District 10 Josh Harder hasn’t wasted any time getting to work. He’s already made more high profile visits to his district than former rep Jeff Denham did over a year’s time, and Harder has also been promoting legislation that would help Valley citizens. Read More

Selling out to Westlands Water District
Donald Trump’s acting Secretary of the Interior is David Bernhardt, former lobbyist for Westlands Water District and dedicated foe of sustainable fishing and farming. The Trump administration’s plan for the San Joaquin Delta and San Joaquin Valley rivers is to ruin them so Westlands corporate farmers can continue growing nuts for export. Read More

Harder hits the right note (again)
Most anyone who followed Josh Harder’s brilliant campaign last year knew he would apply tremendous energy and focus once in congress—he’s one of those people whose cruising speed is several levels above the recommended maximum. Read More

“The threat of climate change is both ominous and abstract”
Congressman Jerry McNerney in California’s 9th District is one of our most-informed leaders on energy and climate. An engineer and former consultant for traditional energy utilities as well as clean power sources, McNerney is well-versed in the science and economics of energy and climate change. Read More

Time to lose half a million acres of farmland?
While insiders have been saying for years that the realities of water supplies should dictate how much land we farm, public discussion rarely ensued. Now, realistic proposals for fallowing farmland are finally out in the open. Read More

Got smog?
Despite decades of talk and proposals to do something about it, air pollution is still a major threat to public health in the San Joaquin Valley, even in the northern portion, where Modesto and Merced routinely rank in the top ten cities in concentrations of particulate matter.  Read More

Harder forwards bi-partisan bill for vets
Despite lip service to veterans, both political parties have failed to provide them adequate compensation for the harm many suffer in service to their country. Mental illness is especially rampant among vets, and too seldom acknowledged as a factor in divorce, bankruptcy and homelessness. Read More

Latino vote made a difference
Despite conspiracy theories from the likes of Ted Howze and Donald Trump, November’s surge of Democrat wins is easily explained by one word—turnout. And a key factor in turnout was the Latino vote. For years, and especially in the San Joaquin Valley, insiders have despaired at getting out the Latino vote. Read More

Bee doubts Berryhill can serve
In a powerful editorial, the Modesto Bee suggests newly-elected Stanislaus County Supervisor Tom Berryhill should step down. Berryhill, who has been absent from public view for most of the last year, recently broke his hip and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Read More

Will OID double down on dumb?   
Just off a big loss to the Oakdale Groundwater Alliance (OGA) in Fresno’s Appellate Court, Oakdale Irrigation District’s (OID) Board of Directors are apparently eager for another hefty payout to water attorney Tim O’Laughlin, followed by an almost certain defeat. OID Directors are considering suing the state for thwarting OID’s practice of abandoning its water rights so it can sell water to buyers far south of the San Joaquin Delta. Read More

Inside TJ’s big win
While Republicans from Paul Ryan on down to Jeff Denham and Ted Howze keep insisting there must have been dirty pool involved in the come-from-behind victories of Democrats like Josh Harder and TJ Cox, insiders knew all along that Harder and Cox applied relatively simple tactics to bring about their upset wins. First and foremost, both Harder and Cox were gluttons for work. Read More