Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Labor and Consumer Groups Oppose Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

A proposed merger involving T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the nation’s largest mobile communication providers, is now under consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission. The first of three scheduled public hearings on the merger took place Tuesday in Fresno. Representatives from state and local labor and consumer advocacy groups who oppose the merger spoke out before the hearing. They contend the merger will result in store closures, cost thousands of jobs and reduce competition. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.

Wiener BIll Would End Many Felony Sentence Enhancements

A state senator has re-introduced a measure aimed at reducing mass incarceration, by ending automatic sentence enhancements for prior non-violent convictions. Scott Wiener of San Francisco has announced a bill to repeal a one-year sentence enhancement that is added for each prior prison or felony term a convict has served.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Yosemite and Mariposa Welcoming Visitors Despite Federal Shutdown

In the three weeks since the federal government shutdown California’s National Parks have been facing unique challenges. Most remain open but with restricted access, but some, such as Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Joshua Tree National Parks, have been closed due to health and safety concerns, and to protect the environment. For Yosemite, the state’s most popular park, visitors will find a blend of business as usual, along with some closed trails and restricted activities. KPFA’s Vic Bedoian visited the Park and its gateway community of Mariposa….

Governor Newsom Budget Hikes Health and Welfare Spending

Governor Gavin Newsom has unveiled his budget proposal, with plans to make major hikes in spending for welfare programs, homelessness programs, and health care. His budget marks a departure from the more fiscally conservative budgets of the Brown administration, taking advantage of new higher estimates of the state’s budget surplus.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Migrant Caravan Stalled in Tijuana

Thousands of migrants from Central America seeking asylum from violence and poverty in their home countries have settled into semi-permanent camps in Tijuana Mexico, supported by donations of food and clothing, with some minimal help from the Mexican government. For most of them, the prospects of getting into the U.S. are increasingly bleak, because of President Trump’s determination to block almost all immigration at the Mexico U.S. border. Tom Herriman reported in December from Tijuana. Photo: A young caravan member watches over children's classes, and adult discussions at El Barretal migrant camp in Tijuana.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

PG&E Troubles Spur Policy Debates

California utility company PG&E is exploring possible bankruptcy. The utility giant is facing the possibility of billions of dollars in liability from massive wildfires that may be related to its equipment. The utility company’s troubles put at risk energy prices, state climate change goals, and reimbursements for victims of wildfires.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Newsom Acts on Wildfire Preparedness

Governor Gavin Newsom used his second day in office to push for increased efforts to deal with wildfires and other disasters. He says he’ll ask lawmakers to spend an additional $305 million on wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness. He also signed two executive orders on wildfires and emergency preparedness.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Sequoia Park Closes While Yosemite is Open With Volunteers on Duty

The federal government shutdown is having a growing and significant impact national parks and forests. Stories are emerging daily of overflowing trash cans, human waste, off road vehicle damage and other bad behavior in the largely unsupervised parks. Two of the crown jewels of the park system are in California: Yosemite and Kings Canyon-Sequoia. Yosemite is still open and facing problems, but on Thursday Kings Canyon-Sequoia National Park closed due to health and safety concerns. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Brown Swears In New Supreme Court Justice

Governor Jerry Brown has sworn in Joshua Groban to serve in the California Supreme Court, marking the last of the governor’s judicial appointments before leaving office. The nomination process marks a glaring contrast to federal court appointments, such as Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial appointment to the US Supreme Court. Brown leaves office with a full slate of state judges that many say marks a reflection of California’s diversity.
Christopher Martinez files this report.

Friday, December 14, 2018

TJ Cox Discusses Priorities After His Upset Victory in CA-21

In a congressional district rated by political pundits as 'leaning Republican', Democrat TJ Cox won a Central Valley seat that almost nobody thought he could. California's 21st District encompasses Fresno, Bakersfield along with the rural towns, farmland and oil fields in between. Incumbent Republican David Valadao was considered a moderate, but he couldn't overcome the stain of Donald Trump and the Valley's changing demographics. Pacifica's Vic Bedoian met with Cox this week and reports from Fresno.