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By Eric Johnson
Published Dec 04, 2023

Image credit: Eric Johnson

Building Democracy in California

Happy Monday. In this week's edition of The Newsletter, you will find the following:

• An introduction to "How California Works: Building Democracy in the Golden State," by our own Jon Vankin.

• Jon's coverage of the "debate" between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

• A local News Digest, curated by our own Sharan Street, from members of the California Local Media Alliance and other trusted sources. (Scroll down, but not yet.)

• A brief introduction to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which has launched its annual Give Back Tahoe campaign.

• Even more!

The State that is Shaping America's Future

Think of this book as a fun Civics 101 primer for students, community leaders and curious Californians. 

How California Works: an Editors' Note

True stories about how, at its best, California has resisted and pushed back against anti-democratic forces. The histories and policies, deeply human characters, and controversies that have led us to where we are today.

The Red vs. Blue Debate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom confronted a hostile "moderator" and a slew of Fox News "facts" in a melee that generated more heat than light. 

Newsom, DeSantis Finally Square Off in Wild Fox News Debate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faced each other in person at last in an acrimonious Fox News debate Nov. 30.
Governors Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) faced each other on a debate stage and traded blows, barbs, and zingers over the relative merits of their states in a Fox News debate that was nothing if not entertaining.

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San Joaquin County's Homepage

Our overview page for San Joaquin County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and San Joaquin County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

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Good Business Directory

Giving Back is Good Business
Support California Local and get listed in the Good Business Directory.
Use promotion code CALOCAL2020 to get $200 off your yearly listing.

Get to Know a Group

Chest of Hope logo Chest of Hope

Created in 2005 by friends and volunteers, Chest of Hope raises funds to support women and orphans who are suffering from domestic violence.

→ Learn more

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Recent Local News

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• Former Lodi Councilmember Can Challenge Appointment of His Successor

Former Lodi City Councilman Shakir Khan has been given the green light from the California Attorney General’s office to challenge the appointment of his successor.

(12/01/2023) → San Joaquin Valley Sun

• Tracy Arts Commission Searching for Two New Members

The Tracy Arts Commission has opened a recruitment to fill two openings on the board. The application window will close on Dec. 14.

(12/01/2023) → Tracy Press

• California’s First Black-led Conservancy Acquires Land in Placer County

The 40 Acre Conservation League has recently acquired hundreds of acres of land in Placer County, 70 miles northeast of Sacramento—a significant step toward making outdoor experiences more inclusive.

(11/30/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Local Candidates Line Up for a Run in March Primary

The nomination period to file candidacy papers for the March primary opened a little more than two weeks ago, and six San Joaquin County residents have already thrown their hat in the ring.

(11/30/2023) → LodiNews

• As Alzheimer’s Cases Grow, Sacramento Wants to Make Communities 'Dementia-Friendly’

In Sacramento County, a new initiative is underway to make the area “friendlier” for people who have dementia and attempt to lower rates of the disease in the first place. Officials want more businesses to be able to see the signs, and for families to have more clarity on local resources.

(11/29/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Sacramento Region Eyes New Round of Homeless Encampment Funds

Officials say they’ll consider applying for some of the $300 million in homeless encampment funds made available this week by Governor Gavin Newsom.
But the program by itself won’t pay cities and counties to remove the vast tent communities that line streets and sidewalks across California.

(11/29/2023) → CapPublicRadio

• Why “DoMo” Has More Mojo

As part of a series about what other Central Valley towns manage to do and Stockton bafflingly does not, Stocktonia looks at Modesto’s pleasant downtown, a lively, commercially diverse district of restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops.

(11/29/2023) → Stocktonia
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Recent Statewide News

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• DMV Shift Appears to Spur Drop in ‘No Party Preference’ Voter Sign-Ups

The California Department of Motor Vehicles changed its voter registration process in 2019 to put a party selection dropdown on the same page. Since then, the number of people registering as Republicans or Democrats has jumped close to 20 points.

(12/04/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• New Assembly Labor Committee Chair Faces Ongoing Worker Unrest, but Scores Some Wins

With nine months’ experience in the Assembly, Liz Ortega will lead the Labor committee after a strike-filled summer and several wins for low-wage workers.

(12/04/2023) → CalMatters

• Oakland Might Have to Pay Developers Millions Over Coal Terminal

An Alameda County judge ruled on Nov. 22 that the city of Oakland thwarted a proposed coal export terminal. The judge will rule if the developer who sued is entitled to $159 million in damages or moving forward with the project.

(12/04/2023) → KQED

• Stolen Blue Shield of California Data Could Hit Dark Web

Hackers stole data this week from Blue Shield of California. Historically, this type of data has sometimes wound up for sale on what’s known as the dark web, the part of the internet not typically included in search engine results.

(12/01/2023) → The Mercury News

• Retailers Boost Pay Ahead of California Minimum Wage Increase

California’s minimum hourly wage will rise from $15.50 to $16 on Jan. 1. Ahead of this, retailers like Costco and Target have raised their minimum pay in recent years.

(11/29/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• DOE Analysis Confirms Salton Sea Is a Rich Domestic Lithium Resource

An analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy found that with expected technology advances, the Salton Sea region’s total lithium resources could produce more than 3,400 kilotons of lithium, enough to support over 375 million batteries for electric vehicles—more than the total number currently on U.S. roads.

(11/28/2023) → YubaNet

• Naked Man at Disneyland Shuts Down ‘It’s a Small World’

A man stripped naked at the Disneyland ride “It’s a Small World,” causing it to be shut down for nearly an hour. He could face charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and indecent exposure.

(11/27/2023) → SFGate

• Data Explores Whether California or Florida Handled COVID Better

California and Florida took starkly different approaches to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Data shows that more Floridians died per capita of COVID than did Californians.

(11/27/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• California Schools Need Funding for New Math Guidelines

State officials passed a 1,000-page document in July outlining new guidelines for teaching math in California. Funding has not been allocated, though the state superintendent intends to introduce legislation that could change this.

(11/27/2023) → EdSource

• More Migrants Getting Hurt Climbing Border Wall in California

Seven times as many patients have been admitted to the trauma unit at UC San Diego Health since the Trump administration raised the height of the border wall to 30 feet in California. The hospital also notes that 23 people have died in falls from the wall since 2019.

(11/27/2023) → New York Times
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (11/30/2023)

City of Tracy Offers Free Tracer Fixed Route Bus Service this Winter

Tracy, Calif. – Take advantage of free TRACER Fixed Route bus rides to your holiday and winter Tracy destinations beginning December 1, 2023, through February 29, 2024. The TRACER Public Transit System’s Fixed Routes serve all major holiday shopping...
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (11/29/2023)

With nonprofit partnership, City of Lodi expands funding opportunities for local small businesses

The City of Lodi launches its partnership with Sacramento-based nonprofit California Capital FDC to create a new loan program for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the City of Lodi.
Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (11/13/2023)

City of Tracy Makes History by Becoming Home to America’s First Commercial Direct Air Capture Facility

Tracy, Calif. – The Tracy City Council proudly welcomed Heirloom, the country’s first commercial Direct Air Capture facility, to the Tracy community at their ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier today. Located at 4750 South Holly Drive in Tracy, the...
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (11/07/2023)

Annual Leaf Removal Program

The City of Lodi will begin its Annual Leaf Removal Program on Monday, November 27, 2023. We need your cooperation for a successful program.
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (11/07/2023)

Community Videos Coming Soon

We are pleased to announce our partnership with CGI Digital to coordinate and produce a series of educational videos highlighting all we have to offer to residents, visitors and businesses.
Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/24/2023)

Notice of Open Public Comment Period and Hybrid Public Meeting: City of Tracy Draft Housing Element

Tracy, Calif. – The City of Tracy Draft Housing Element is now available for public review and comment through November 6, 2023. Physical copies of the Draft Housing Element are available at Tracy City Hall (333 Civic Center Plaza) and the Tracy...
Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (10/13/2023)

Lodi Energy Center Hydrogen Project

Lodi Energy Center Hydrogen Project Part of Proposal Awarded Hydrogen Hub Funding By U.S. Department of Energy
Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/11/2023)

Draft Housing Public Comment Period Open Through 11/6/23

Image of City of Tracy seal. City of Tracy   (10/02/2023)

2023 Restaurant & Retail Survey Results

The results are in! Over 900 of you participated in our 2023 Restaurant & Retail Survey to let us know what dining, shopping, and entertainment options are most-wanted here in Tracy. The winners are… Top Dining Picks : The...