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Several of our local legislators played key roles in the passage of a tax policy overhaul that will encourage businesses by altering for the better the wasteful, $750 million-a-year enterprise zone tax breaks.
One picture doesn't tell the whole picture. A video of the clearly marked Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department helicopter dropping golf balls on a Calaveras County course looks like a questionable use of government property. The fact that the charity event raised money to help sixth graders from needy families go to outdoor education camp is an ameliorating factor, but still, the flight on May 15 appears to violate a county policy that prohibits the use of any county vehicle "for any purpose other than county business."
The Oakdale Irrigation District's offer to transfer some it its water to the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts as well as the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is a welcome gesture.
Modern forensic technology has dramatically improved the ability for law enforcement to identify and prosecute people for their crimes.
The real scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service is not about the overblown allegations that officials in a field office targeted tea party groups.
Relief from this exhausting, debilitating heat is still several days away, and we urge residents to do two things: Take care of themselves and reach out to others who may not be able to take care of themselves.
There is no app on how to run for public office. Candidates and those thinking about running need to meet and talk to people who have done it.
The deaths of 19 fire- fighters in Arizona Sunday are a wrenching reminder of the dangers these crews face trying to protect lives and property in the arid, increasingly populated West.
Given the steadier budget and the sacrifices that Stanislaus County employees have made, The Bees editorial board thinks it is appropriate for them to get back some of their lost pay.
A developer wants to fill wetlands on his property to build a shopping center. He needs a permit. The local government agency tours the site and tries to negotiate a deal that would permit him to build, while offsetting the harm to the protected wetlands. In a narrow 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has made such negotiations much less likely.
Modestans have a well-earned reputation for generosity. But there's one way in which generosity is causing far more problems than it solves giving to panhandlers.
The rise in property values is going to translate to a rise in property taxes for some people, but it has two pluses it increases revenues for schools, cities, the county and it increases the equity of many homeowners or reduces the extent to which some people are underwater with their mortgages.
The current prison standoff between Gov. Jerry Brown and a federal three-judge panel reflects basic contradictions.
It's almost certain that the Modesto City Council will go to voters with a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase that would be spent on well, what the council thinks it needs to be spent on.
Candidates and those thinking about running need to meet and talk to people who have done it. That's the purpose of a free workshop scheduled July 13, just two days before the filing period opens for the dozens of school board and council seats to be filled in the Nov. 5 election.
San Joaquin County gains and Stanislaus County loses with the announcement that Monica Nino is headed to Stockton to be San Joaquin's new county chief executive officer.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California, but didn't decide anything about same- sex marriages in other states.
Some Californians think that state prison inmates are pampered. A federal judge didn't see it that way at all, and in 2006 ordered California to substantially improve the medical treatment provided to inmates and to reduce prison overcrowding.
Senate Bill 7, sponsored by the trades unions and other labor groups, challenges the independence of charter cities in ways that are heavy-handed and unfair, and violate the principle of local control.
Would reopening Tenth Street Plaza to vehicular traffic reinvigorate the retail businesses there? Would it bring more people downtown? In all likelihood, the answer to each of these questions is "no."
This week, by the numbers: On upcoming elections, high school graduates and the opening of the MoBand and wildfire season.
The most significant recommendations from the Modesto Irrigation District's Water Advisory Committee are not the proposed 20 percent increase in water charges for next year or the flat fee per irrigator to cover the basic costs.
Following a statewide outcry, it now appears the Assembly will redo Assembly Bill 76 so that local governments won't have the option of disregarding open records laws. That's a good step. Senate leaders want to enshrine the Public Records Act in the state constitution. That's also a good step. Yet these proposals don't deal with the larger problem of murky budget trailer bills loaded with troublesome provisions.
After years of a struggling economy and news of layoffs and closing businesses, it was heartening Wednesday to read some good financial news in The Bee.
Whatever crimes they committed, the inmates at two state prisons in the San Joaquin Valley weren't given death sentences. Yet state officials' sluggish response to a continuing outbreak of valley fever is putting prisoners at an unacceptable risk of serious illness, even death.
The current Legislature and the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown is shaping up to be the worst in recent memory for transparent government. Friday, lawmakers approved a pair of budget trailer bills that would free local governments of the obligation to comply with certain aspects of the California Public Records Act.
Sugar is sweet, but the sugar industry is sweeter when it comes to getting what it wants in the federal farm bill. The Senate this month passed its version of the legislation. The bipartisan bill is about $24 billion less expensive than the farm bill of 2008. Nonetheless, it will cost about $955 billion over 10 years, and sugar supports will remain intact. Sugar is the only commodity program that remains untouched in the farm bill now under consideration.
Journalists shouldn't be prosecuted for just doing their jobs and informing the public. It's past time to enshrine that principle with a federal shield law to protect reporters and their confidential sources.
While we share his concerns about the cost of California's high-speed rail project, we think Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, was way out of line with his comment that $6 billion in federal and state money earmarked for the California project should go to the Northeast corridor of Amtrak instead.
What's better for Modesto than a new employer in a new building? We think it's a new employer moving into and refurbishing a long vacant facility. The Central Valley Specialty Hospital has done just that, opening in the former Kindred Hospital that longtime Modestans know better as City Hospital.
The state budget deal crafted by legislative Democrats and the governor contains much to praise and much to criticize, and much, much more that is unknown. Part of the good: The governor handed counties a partial victory by not imposing new programs on them, including child care and CalWORKS.
The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to begin formal debate on the first immigration overhaul since 1986. It is long past time to create a new system that reflects our history as an immigrant nation and the needs of our changing economy. After years of contentious debate, the Senate's bill (S. 744) truly is a bipartisan effort that will make our immigration system better.
At long last, the Modesto City Council is scheduled to have a tough talk later this month about its budget outlook, providing Mayor Garrad Marsh the perfect place to make his pitch for a sales tax increase. What isn't clear to us is whether the discussion will be a long-overdue description of reality or is politically timed to pressure the council to put a tax measure on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Members of Congress are calling for the prosecution of 29-year-old Edward Snowden in connection with leaking the existence of far-reaching U.S. surveillance programs. Given that Snowden says he knew he was breaking the law to expose what he considered to be governmental abuse, he surely will be prosecuted. He may even desire it.
Newcomers and visitors to Modesto can guess that the downtown arch has special significance, but now they can learn a little of the history, explained on a monument that has been placed nearby.
Friday's edition of The Valley Report will focus on the high-speed rail project. Guests will be Tom Richards, vice chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board, and Brian Weatherford from the legislative analyst's office.
At its meeting this morning, the Modesto Irrigation District board will consider selling some of its water. A year ago, that would have set off a firestorm. But this proposed sale is one-time, rather small and amounts to helping out a partner agency, the Turlock Irrigation District.
We wish bride and groom well, and forgive that we weren't on the guest list that included Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris and 300 other beautiful people. The happy couple also forgot to get Coastal Commission approval before bringing in a nuptial bulldozer to grade a public campground.
Local governments have been feeling the pain. They've endured the worst recession in California since the Great Depression. They've spent years cutting and cutting. Now they're eager to swing for the fences and recruit glitzy job creators. This is fully understandable. But they have to be cautious about people making big promises on which they can't deliver.
If you're angry at government right now, you have every right to be. We are, too. Under the U.S. Constitution, Americans are supposed to have privacy and the dealings of government are supposed to be public. In practice, the situation is too often reversed.
We're finally coming to realize the value of water in our dry state. And because water is so valuable, it is being bought, sold, fought over and, occasionally, stolen.
Real estate, education, salaries ... get the numbers behind the stories.
As the troubled San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge project nears completion some $5 billion over budget and a decade late Gov. Jerry Brown has belatedly ordered an independent external review of operations within the state Department of Transportation.
Dave Cogdill Jr. and Stephanie Burnside continue to cement their reputations as the fiscal hawks on the Modesto City Council. The two business owners regularly show themselves as business friendly, but Wednesday they asked for more evidence that proposed incentives to encourage private sector jobs downtown will be effective.
Modesto can boast of many native sons and daughters and former residents who have gone on to celebrity. But by far, the person with the most worldwide recognition to come from our area is George Lucas, creator of a beloved movie for the baby boomer generation ("American Graffiti"), the man who became the inspiration for millions of boys and girls to think beyond the stars ("Star Wars").
President Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans have fallen into the usual tug of war over the nation's student loan program.
As the World War II veterans and their contemporaries in "The Greatest Generation" continue to pass away, there will be fewer people who remember the significance of June 6. It is the day in 1944 when U.S., British and Canadian troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, in an invasion that turned the corner in the European Theater of World War II.
Protecting public health is a basic government function. Unfortunately, this essential public health function is being lost in the budget battle between Gov. Jerry Brown and the counties in the jostling over preparing for the federal Affordable Care Act.
The governor portrayed himself as a skinflint and wisely promised prudence after California taxpayers flooded state coffers with billions of dollars in unexpected revenue. Then the demands came.
Apparently, the California Department of Transportation isn't the only state agency that needs thorough scrutiny. Evidence is mounting that the state Department of Toxic Substances Control could use a good scrubbing as well.
Californians can breathe a sigh of relief over a crucial first step in implementing health care reform. State officials last week unveiled the health plans and premium rates that will be available under the California health exchange. They show the market is working as intended actually better.
The Modesto Chamber of Commerce has put forward some bold ideas about land use and transportation, under the grand but appealing label of "The Pathway to Job Growth and Prosperity in the Greater Modesto Area." Like most big ideas, this one is being met with a mix of enthusiasm and sarcasm.
Regular readers of the Opinions pages know that we devote a lot of space to local and state government issues, so we offer a few more notables for the calendar.
What happens to offenders who finish a state prison term? Unless they have a life-without-parole sentence, they all eventually go home. They get $200 in "gate money" and have to find jobs and housing. They also are supervised for three years.
Apple Inc. isn't doing anything illegal, or different, than lots of other U.S. corporations are doing to shave their tax bills. It's just being more ingenious and aggressive than most about playing every possible angle.
Many trees died to produce the environmental impact report for the Delta Plan. That's because hundreds of groups and individuals from across the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed felt compelled to send in reams of comments to the Delta Stewardship Council.
With a new chairman, Jonathan Thomas, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine claims it has turned a page. Thomas has vowed to be aggressive in avoiding conflicts in dispersing millions of public dollars for stem cell research.
The late Peggy Mensinger left a lasting impact on Modesto in several regards. Before and during her years as a councilwoman and mayor, from 1973 to 1987, she spearheaded significant efforts to preserve farmland by slowing growth and to reduce the influence of developers on city politics.
This week was full of caps and gowns as high school graduates walked the stage. It's a little soon to rain on their parade and tell them this is just the beginning of their lives rather than the end of it; after all, they've looked forward to this moment for years.
A new era in the history of California State University, Stanislaus, has begun. Some would argue it began with the departure of the previous president; we think it began when Joseph Sheley first stepped onto the campus as interim president.