San Joaquin County News & Analysis Articles


Image caption: Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 20th), seen with Donald Trump (right), will resign from the Congress two months after fellow Republicans ousted him as House Speaker.
Race is On for Ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy's House Seat

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield announces he will leave Congress at the end of the year after fellow Republicans booted him as House speaker. Who might run for his seat? Could one candidate be former Rep. Devin Nunes?

Image caption: In a recent survey, less than half of California's likely voters approved of how the state legislature did its job.
Is Your Elected Representative Actually Representing You?

With few strict rules on what California lawmakers must do, politics, policy priorities and personal preferences determine how much they follow the wishes of voters who put them into office.

Image caption: Adventist Health recently backed out of an agreement to take over the closed Madera Community Hospital.
Bankrupt Hospital Still Closed Despite State Bailout Vote

Earlier this year, the state created a loan program meant to help struggling hospitals stay afloat and to help reopen Madera County’s only hospital. Almost a year after its closure, Madera continues its search for a buyer or partner.

Image caption: Tens of thousands of Californians depended on state help to pay rent through the pandemic. Now the state is letting them down.
COVID Rent Relief Delays: 70,000 Households at Risk of Eviction

More than 70,000 households who needed and applied for state aid to pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic by the March 2022 deadline still have their applications listed as "pending." Now they could be evicted from their homes.

Image caption: University presidents across the Cal State system have seen their pay rise substantially as compared to faculty members.
Cal State Presidents Enjoyed 43% Pay Raise From 2007 to 2022

Mildred García, the new Cal State chancellor, is earning a total compensation of nearly $1 million. Meanwhile, university president pay has increased at a greater rate than that of faculty, who are preparing to strike in early December, and the …

Image caption: 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.
Newsom, DeSantis Finally Square Off in Wild Fox News Debate

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.

Image caption: Cal State Sacramento is one of four universities where members of the faculty union plan to walk out.
Cal State Profs Plan Walkout in Fight for 12 Percent Pay Hike

Cal State officials offered a 5 percent increase for each of the next 3 years, though the raises are not guaranteed. The union plans strikes at four campuses.

Image caption: Ocean waves may be good for more than surfing. They may play a role in reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions.
California Looks to Ocean Waves For New Clean Energy Source

Only a few small demonstration projects off the West Coast have harnessed the power of waves and tides. Costs are high and hurdles are challenging.

Image caption: California's school buildings aren't what they used to be, after years or neglect and disrepair that the legislature now struggles to reverse.
California's Crumbling Schools: Legislature Crafting Huge Construction Bond

Small, rural districts often struggle to pass local bond measures to pay for school construction and repairs. In some cases, leaking roofs, dry rot and broken air conditioners haven’t been fixed in years.

Image caption: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (left) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right) will face off in a Fox News debate on Nov. 30.
Newsom vs. DeSantis Fox News Debate Set for Nov. 30

Governors Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) are set to face off in a debate Nov. 30 with unexpectedly high stakes, as polls now show both underwater in voter approval ratings.

Image caption: Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (right) waited until just before Thanksgiving to hit legislative leadership with a drastic overhaul.
Rivas Shakes up Legislative Leadership: Winners and Losers

Assembly Speaker Rivas puts key allies into leadership posts and shuffles the top posts on committees heading into the 2024 session of the Legislature. One big winner: pro-housing advocates.

Image caption: Despite rising homelessness, the state lifted its COVID-era eviction ban. Now renters are feeling the consequences.
End of Pandemic Ban Sends Renter Evictions Soaring

The number of Californians facing eviction was relatively low for years during a lengthy statewide moratorium. In the year after it ended, cases soared and still remain high in large counties.

Image caption: Even as the state has set ambitious clean energy goals, California is once again slashing incentives for rooftop solar power.
California Slashes Rooftop Solar Incentives‚ÄĒAgain

The utilities commission reduced payments to apartments, schools and businesses selling solar power to the grid despite a barrage of criticism. Commissioners say it reverses unfair subsidies.

Image caption: It's becoming more difficult to have a healthy childbirth in California as maternity wards close at an alarming rate.
California Hospitals Closed 46 Maternity Wards Since 2012

Hospitals all over California are closing their maternity wards, including in dense cities like Los Angeles and in more remote communities in the Sierra Nevada.

Image caption: A definitive federal report says California’s economy suffers more than almost all states from the effects of climate change.
California Among Top 5 Worst Climate Change States, Report Says

California ranks among the top states suffering economic damage from climate-related disasters. The report describes food shortages, floods, droughts, wildfires, pollution, disease‚ÄĒall linked to climate change.

Image caption: Under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California students must now be educated in media literacy and critical thinking skills.
How to Spot Fake News Now Part of California School Curriculum

A new law requires K-12 schools to add media literacy to curriculum for English language arts, science, math and history-social studies. Among the lessons will be recognizing fake news.

Image caption: Farm workers had argued that reforms now in place in California would reduce employer retaliation for unionization efforts.
Farmworkers in Stanislaus County Win Union Vote Under New Law

The United Farm Workers, which represents nearly 7,000 workers, won a unionization vote in Stanislaus County. It’s the first such win in six years and first under a law that went into effect in May.

Image caption: Lobbyists have been big spenders in 2023, with oil companies alone spreading around more than $15 million.
Led by Oil Companies, Lobbyists Flood State Govt With Cash

By the end of September 2023, more than $358 million had been spent this year on lobbying California’s Legislature, agencies, and Public Utilities Commission.

Image caption: There‚Äôs no ‚Äúmagic solution‚ÄĚ to the state‚Äôs homeowner fire insurance crisis, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara‚Äôs office says.
Despite Promises, Homeowners Still Face Fire Insurance Crisis

While state regulators craft new regulations and consult with the insurance industry, many Californians are paying extra-high premiums‚ÄĒor going without insurance entirely.

Image caption: Like last year, three different respiratory viruses threaten to infect Californians this season. How bad will it be?
COVID, Flu and RSV: California‚Äôs Outlook for the ‚Äô23/24 ‚ÄėTripledemic‚Äô

New vaccines for RSV and an updated booster for COVID-19 give Californians more tools to protect themselves from respiratory viruses this fall.

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