Ben Bradford

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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California’s largest water district has given key support to a 17-billion-dollar water project, long sought by Governor Jerry Brown. The vote Tuesday would fund twin tunnels under the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, which will send water to Central and Southern California.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreed to take on about two-thirds of the cost of the giant project. It calls for two forty-foot-wide, 35-mile-long pipes to extend under the Delta, carrying water from the northern end that can be pumped south and east.

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Fifteen counties in California will divide a half-billion dollars to build jails that can house long-term inmates. Locally, Butte County was conditionally awarded $40 million for its jail expansion project, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record.

The Board of State and Community Corrections awarded the funding Thursday. Corey Salzillo of the state Sheriffs’ Association says current facilities weren’t built to provide the necessary care.

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California regulators expect to recall as many as 1,600 more Volkswagen diesel vehicles for defeating emissions tests.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Air Resources Board sent letters to Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen Monday.

All are subsidiaries of Volkswagen Group, which has already admitted to installing emissions-evading software in almost a half-million of its smaller diesel engines.

Dave Clegern of the Air Resources Board says this time, it’s larger luxury and crossover vehicles, using different software.

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California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build dual tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could face a significant new hurdle—voters.

The Secretary of State’s office announced Monday that a constitutional initiative proposed by a wealthy Stockton-area farmer has qualified for the 2016 ballot.

The measure would require a statewide vote before a state agency could take out any bond of more than $2 billion for a public works project. Opponents of the initiative say requiring statewide votes will tie up projects and erode local control.

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Federal and California officials are warning that a combination of El Niño rains and damage from wildfires will cause flooding this winter.

State insurance commissioner Dave Jones says you should think about buying flood insurance, even if your home is not in a flood plain mapped as high-risk.

The truth of the matter is the water doesn’t necessarily follow the map,” Jones says. “The map is a nice way to try to assess what the risk is, but at the end of the day, the water’s going to go where it wants to go. And so you’ve got to also use commonsense.”

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Now that a World Health Organization agency has classified them as carcinogenic, bacon, ham and other processed meats could require warning labels in California.

Proposition 65, passed in 1986, requires California to compile a list of “chemicals known to increase cancer risk.” State health officials say they’re not sure if they’ll add processed meats.

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Advocates for the rooftop solar industry say a proposal under consideration by state utilities regulators could gut their growing business.

The Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to decide before the end of the year whether to end a policy known as “net-metering.”

It requires utilities to pay households with rooftop solar panels for excess energy that feeds the grid. Utilities must pay the same rate as they charge customers for energy.

PG&E has asked the commission to lower the rate, making it closer to what the company pays other generators. 

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California energy regulators want to change the light bulbs commonly used in stores. But the lighting industry’s taking a dim view of that rule proposed Monday.

In the exciting world of track lighting, LED is the next big thing. The bulbs cost more, but use a fraction the energy of other lights. So, the state Energy Commission wants to tighten track lighting standards, and only LED would fit through, says commissioner Andrew McCallister.

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