April 12, 2015


Receive the Maddy Daily in your inbox every morning! To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at ajovelmelendez@csufresno.edu.

Political Briefs

Top stories

Gov. Brown confirms change in water tunnels plan — Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed Saturday that his administration has changed its permitting approach for his controversial plan to build a pair of massive tunnels to divert water around the Delta to the south. Brown said he is no longer seeking a difficult, 50-year permit for the controversial project, instead pursuing approvals covering a shorter period of time.  Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Jerry Brown’s rural excursion underlines his support for farmers — The official reason for the governor’s trip was to help judge a cooking contest with his wife at a western festival. But it was also an opportunity for him to emphasize his support for farmers, who have faced increasing scrutiny for the amount of water they use.  LA Times article

Other areas

Susan Sward: Fight over low pay, unpredictable work schedules — Lawmakers and the public are becoming aware of the plight of fast-food and retail employees. Workers are staging protests across America and venting their anger over unpredictable schedules and low pay. With union membership at a low level, labor and its allies look to cities, states and Congress for action.  Sward in Sacramento Bee

Bill Dombrowski: Rigid scheduling proposal would tie hands of retailers – The president of the California Retailers Association writes, “For retail businesses across California, the challenge of scheduling employees is a widely contemplated effort that requires balancing the needs of employees, while also responding to customer demand. It’s a complex process that involves a delicate approach, which is why it’s unreasonable that a California legislator is attempting to apply a one-size-fits-all scheduling mandate with Assembly Bill 357.”  Dombrowski op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Pope calls Armenian slaughter ‘first genocide of 20th century,’ sparking Turkish ire — Pope Francis on Sunday called the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks “the first genocide of the 20th century” and urged the international community to recognize it as such, sparking a diplomatic rift with Turkey. AP article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Every day is fire season in drought-era California, experts say — Traditionally, the scorching, parched autumn was the period of greatest concern about wildfires, but experts say that after four desiccated years almost every day in the Golden State can be considered fire season.  LA Times article

Chronic diseases take their toll among central San Joaquin Valley residents – The central San Joaquin Valley is unhealthy. Valley residents are more likely to either suffer or die from chronic diseases than people elsewhere in California. Health experts say the reasons for the Valley’s ills are many: poverty, bad air, foul water, urban sprawl, unsafe places to play, food deserts. And when combined with harmful health habits, they create a landscape for poor health.  Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

States tighten conditions for receiving food stamps as the economy improves – During the recession, most states took advantage of a provision that allows them to waive it when unemployment is persistently high, which meant poor adults could stay on the program regardless of their work status. Maine is one of eight states that qualified for waivers in 2015 but decided to use them only in parts of the state or not at all. And, as the economy improves, more states will cease to qualify for the waivers, even if they want them.  New York Times article

Bay Area food stamps recipients can soon shop online — Bay Area residents who rely on food stamps will soon be able to use them to buy groceries that they order online.  KQED report

Marcos Breton: Sacramento suit against the arena is taking money from your wallet — For months, high-ranking Sacramento officials have been frustrated by the last remaining lawsuit blocking completion of the downtown arena. Headed to trial on June 22, the lawsuit purports to be about saving taxpayers money – but it may actually cost city taxpayers as much as $80 million.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Florida Gov. Scott heads to California on job-seeking trip — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is heading out on a two-day trip to California in an effort to convince businesses from that state to move east. Scott leaves Sunday for the Los Angeles area, where the Republican governor will try to convince shipping companies to shift their business to Florida ports.  AP article; LA Times article


Kern water regulations slowly coming together – The state’s draft water conservation requirements won’t be released until Friday, or approved until next month. But one thing is already clear: the upcoming three-days-a-week residential watering limit for Bakersfield city water users — and customers of the other four agencies serving the metro area — will make lawns and parks more brown.  Bakersfield Californian article

Farmers to city dwellers: We’re all in this drought together –  As the months have worn on, drier and drier but for the very occasional gift from above, it has been hard to avoid a looming civil war in California over a common enemy, the drought. Last week, like an almost invisible white flag waving for peace on the battleground, came a radio ad over the airwaves in Southern California, the state’s largest urban market. It was meant to calm things down before everyone does what they always do: go to their corners convinced that they are right.  LA Times article

Lois Henry: Will folks cut water use, or is wazoo tack required? – Tucked into Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order mandating Californians cut back on water consumption was a tidbit directing the State Water Resources Control Board to direct water suppliers to develop rates that would “encourage” water conservation. Typically, that means charging water hogs more.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

For drinking water in drought, California looks warily to sea – Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.  New York Times article

Wall Street Journal: California’s farm-water scapegoat: Bay Area greens have been starving agriculture for years – Perhaps the only issue on which Bay Area liberals and conservatives down California’s coastline agree is that farmers use too much water and should be rationed. The fortunate in Silicon Valley and Marin County need a tutorial in Golden State water allocation.  Wall Street Journal article

Should California spend 4 billion gallons to save a few fish?  — In the heart of California’s drought-parched Central Valley, fruit and vegetable supplier to the nation, a water district is defying a federal order to give some endangered trout a 3.9 billion gallon water ride out to sea. And it could be the first skirmish in a much wider conflict. Wired article

Gerald Haslam: Conserving water now becomes a shared responsibility – The Valley author writes, “Agriculture certainly deserves considerable irrigation, but not at the cost of destroying everyone else’s interests. Water to drink should come before water to pile up profits. And water to enhance quality of life – streams, lakes, groundwater – needs to have a stake, too.”  Haslam op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Richard Waycott: Farmers do share in drought sacrifices – The CEO of the Almond Board of California writes, “Californians always solve our biggest problems by working together. Farmers know they’ll need to be part of the solution. But when someone says agriculture has gone untouched by the drought, I say they should come see the state’s fallowed fields and uprooted orchards or talk to an unemployed farmworker.” Waycott op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Jeff Jardine: Anger flows with water woes – This year, we’re not even a month into spring and the city’s phones are ringing with complaints about neighbors overwatering.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Michael Hiltzik: The wrong way to think about California water – Water is complicated. Nowhere is that more true than in California, and never more than during a major drought. That may be why so much of the debate about how to manage California’s scarce water supply is misguided. Hiltzik column in LA Times

Dan Morain: Recovery from energy crisis provides lessons on the drought — Turn to the drought, a slow-motion crisis and more serious. If species of fish go extinct, or if housing tracts sprout on farm fields, there is no return. But decisions being made today will determine how the state handles future droughts. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Fresno Bee: Southern California shows how to save water – Many of us in the rest of the state still see Southern California as the land of swimming pools and lush lawns. But that image is way out of date as we deal with the record drought.  Fresno Bee editorial

Wealthy enclaves, especially in LA area, slow to save water – In the sun-splashed communities that define the Southern California high life, where money flows freely and costs often don’t matter, boosting water rates and socking water hogs with penalties might not do much to fight the growing drought.  San Francisco Chronicle article

How Google, Facebook are altering campuses to fight drought – Google has begun replacing grass with drought tolerant plants and upgrading to irrigation systems that adjust for the weather. When the company let a section of grass along Charleston Road die off to replace it, the scene was so ugly that Google was moved to post signs offering an answer to the frequent inquiry: “Why is this grass brown?”  San Francisco Chronicle article

Suburban Roseville emerges as area leader in water conservation — The “gold star” list projected on a big screen at last week’s meeting of California’s State Water Resources Control Board heaped praise on several water agencies whose residents had made major strides in conservation and were now among the communities using the least water per capita.  Sacramento Bee article

In California, the grass is greener at Coachella — All across the state, the big worry is about the dwindling water supply. But at Coachella, the annual music festival here in the desert east of Los Angeles, tens of thousands of well-hydrated fans are dancing the weekend away on green grass.  New York Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Robert Price: We’re not laughing at this alleged ‘tickle’ by Bakersfield Police Department officer – This alleged incident is a black eye the BPD didn’t need. The only acceptable salve is strong action and earnest self-reflection. Get rid of those who have no respect for their profession or the people they serve — even civilian residents who are alleged to have broken the law — and promote and protect those who have the courage to step up, against what must be uncomfortable pressure to stay quiet, and do the right thing.  Price column in Bakersfield Californian

San Francisco Police Department says racist messages hidden by federal order — The San Francisco Police Department says that racist and homophobic text messages written by some of its officers were obtained by the department’s Internal Affairs Division in December 2012, but that the information was shielded by a federal secrecy order, leaving the officers on the job, while even Police Chief Greg Suhr was kept in the dark.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Police and the mentally ill: LAPD unit praised as model for nation – The incident marks another successful intervention for the LAPD’s Mental Evaluation Unit, a nationally renowned operation that’s credited with defusing potentially explosive encounters with people in the midst of a mental health crisis. The unit’s work also results in the diversion of hundreds of people each year to treatment instead of jail.  KPCC report

Few prosecutions among thousands of fatal shootings by on-duty police — In an overwhelming majority of the cases where an officer was charged, the person killed was unarmed. But it usually took more than that. When prosecutors pressed charges, The Post analysis found, there were typically other factors that made the case exceptional, including: a victim shot in the back, a video recording of the incident, incriminating testimony from other officers or allegations of a coverup.  Washington Post article


Majority of California Latinos highly value school testing — Latino voters consider California’s standardized tests an important measure of student growth and school performance, according to a new poll that shows the state’s largest minority group also feels strongly about teacher accountability and investing additional dollars in public education.  LA Times article

Fresno State president joins dancers at First Nations pow-wow — Fresno State’s 24th annual First Nations Powwow kicked off Saturday with a rhythmic procession of American Indian dancers that included Fresno State president Joseph Castro. Castro, the son of a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, celebrated with more than 100 attendees.  Fresno Bee article

Program propels students to success – Three years ago, 17-year-old Jordan Mitchell was a drug-dealing gang member with a bleak outlook on life and little hope for the future. Now, he’s getting ready to graduate from Edison High School with a 3.5 grade-point average and preparing to study music composition along one of California’s most beautiful coastlines at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Stockton Record article

Victor Davis Hanson: Is the modern American university a failed state? — Administrators should decide whether they see students as mature, independent adults who handle life’s vicissitudes with courage and without need for restrictions on free expression. Or should students remain perennial weepy adolescents, requiring constant sheltering, solicitousness and self-esteem building?  Hanson op-ed in Fresno Bee

Health/Human Services

Clinics need doctors for 64,000 newly enrolled in Medi-Cal in Stanislaus County — A shortage of primary care physicians created a painful symptom when Emanuel Medical Center said last week it will close its family practice clinics in Turlock and Patterson next month.  Modesto Bee article

Vaccine fears haunt LA’s west side as parents face off over personal exemption rule — As California lawmakers pursue legislation erasing the personal belief exemption that allows parents to avoid vaccinating their children, the issue has dominated lives and reconfigured the behavior of parents in the affluent environs of west Los Angeles.  Sacramento Bee article

UCSF Fresno celebrates 40 years – When the San Joaquin Valley was hurting for doctors four decades ago, a unique medical education campus was created in Fresno to bridge the gap. Now, one-third of the physicians trained through the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program remain in the Valley after graduation, helping to ease the region’s long battle with a doctor shortage and the need to increase training for existing physicians.  Fresno Bee article

Doctors at UC health clinics go on strike — Unionized doctors began a strike Saturday at student health clinics on University of California campuses in Southern California, saying administrators had acted unfairly during negotiations for the physicians’ first contract. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Modesto Bee: Trying to overturn LAFCO vote is wrong — The building industry must be expecting a boom. Why else would it be so intent on lowering its cost of doing business in Stanislaus County? Modesto Bee editorial


Fresno bus rapid transit in cross hairs of funding battle – A fight in Congress over transportation funding isn’t dampening City Hall’s enthusiasm for Fresno’s new bus system. City Manager Bruce Rudd said he knows some representatives are vowing to end federal funding for selected rail and bus systems across the country, including Fresno’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.  Fresno Bee article

Modesto eyes putting College Avenue on a diet – The Modesto City Council is expected to decide Tuesday whether to put College Avenue on what is called a “road diet,” which is a traffic-calming technique used nationwide to slow and improve the flow of traffic, reduce accidents and make streets friendlier for pedestrians and bicyclists.  Modesto Bee article

BART can’t keep pace with rising ‘crush loads’ — Weekday ridership now averages about 420,000 — 100,000 more than five years ago. But BART hasn’t kept pace with that growth and is hobbled by its inadequate infrastructure.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Local governments grapple with ‘Clinton’ email issue – In Kern, Deputy County Counsel Mark Nations agreed the county’s email policy needs updating in light of the proliferation of personal email accounts. The county’s policy doesn’t prohibit employees from using their own email accounts and it says nothing about whether those accounts could be subject to public records searches.  Bakersfield Californian article

‘Dynamic duo’ saving Stockton institutions – They call themselves the “dynamic duo.” Tony and Carol Noceti don’t wear capes or masks. Yet this opposites-attract pair has pulled off two impressive Stockton rescues during the past decade. Stockton Record article

In a cameras-everywhere culture, science fiction becomes reality – With each technological advance, more of our lives — from the humdrum to the hyper-dramatic — is being caught on camera.  LA Times article

For downtown LA’s pedestrians, citations send a ‘don’t walk’ signal — As gleaming new condominium and apartment buildings replace parking lots, L.A.’s streets swarm with pedestrians who increasingly refuse to accept a subordinate role to the automobiles that have traditionally ruled L.A. And some of these urban pioneers say the city’s vigorous enforcement of pedestrian laws is just another sign that the city is still biased in favor of the car-centric status quo.  LA Times article

Pentagon Papers leaker Ellsberg to give CSU Bakersfield Kegley ethics lecture — Presented by CSUB’s prestigious Kegley Institute of Ethics, Daniel Ellsberg will discuss National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the American tradition of civil disobedience, and why the nation should be grateful for the Snowdens, Chelsea Mannings and other whistleblowers of the world.  Bakersfield Californian article

Cal Fire opens Ione academy for training exercise, gives Bee tour of facility – Come for the training, stay for the tour. After putting off Sacramento Bee requests to see Cal Fire’s Ione Academy for nearly a month, the department granted an impromptu tour Saturday when a reporter (your humble blogger) showed up for an open-to-media training session on the facility’s grounds.  Sacramento Bee article

Mike Klocke: Icon gets stamp of approval from Stockton — On Saturday morning, young and old in Stockton — a community with distinct ties to Maya Angelou’s life — celebrated the stamp in a moving ceremony at the library branch that bears her name.  Klocke in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Many of us in the rest of the state still see Southern California as the land of swimming pools and lush lawns. But that image is way out of date as we deal with the record drought.

Modesto Bee – Trying to overturn Stanislaus LAFCO vote is wrong.

Sacramento Bee – Many of us in the rest of the state still see Southern California as the land of swimming pools and lush lawns. But that image is way out of date as we deal with the record drought.