April 15, 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

With legalization possible, pot growers become lobbyists — California’s marijuana farmers have existed in a legal gray area during the 18 years since the state became the first to allow residents to use the drug for medical purposes. Now, veteran cannabis growers are emerging from the shadows to make their voices heard at the Capitol as the groundwork is being laid to legalize pot for recreational use in the state.  AP article

California Capitol on alert after anti-vaccine threats – The impassioned debate surrounding California legislation to remove the personal-belief exemption for vaccinations has bubbled over into threats against lawmakers and heightened security measures for at least one state senator.  Capitol Alert

Valley politics

Renteria officially joins Clinton presidential campaign team — Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, who returned home to the central San Joaquin Valley to try and oust Hanford Republican David Valadao from Congress, has officially joined Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. Renteria, 40, will be Clinton’s national political director, which is widely considered one of the top campaign posts for the former first lady and New York senator, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.  Fresno Bee article

Nunes adds to campaign account — Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare raised $123,675 in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission. He finished the three-month period with $2.17 million in his campaign account, a substantial sum for someone in a safe Republican district who has faced minimal competition in recent elections.  Visalia Times-Delta article

SD5: Davis out of Stockton mayoral race, into Senate campaign – Less than a month ago, Stockton businessman Steven Davis said he was launching his political career with a 2016 mayoral run, citing his leadership skills and a plan to spark the city’s economic revival. Now, however, the 44-year-old has decided to seek even higher office. Davis confirmed this week he will not run for mayor next year, after all. Instead, he will challenge incumbent state Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton.  Stockton Record article

Ceres council divided over district lines — City Council members on Monday night were divided over boundaries that will determine district voting populations.  Modesto Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: Our congressman whose plane was hijacked — Among the hitches to normalizing relations with Cuba are the fugitives who hijacked U.S. planes to that island. Including one 1971 flight carrying a young passenger named Jerry McNerney.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record


The key players in Obama’s appeal on deportation deferral program — State and federal lawyers on opposite sides of the immigration divide are set to square off in federal appeals court Friday before three judges who will decide whether to lift a temporary stay on President Obama’s executive action, which seeks to shield up to 5 million people from deportation.  LA Times article

Other areas

Richard Pan and Ben Allen:  SB 277 protects children from horrific diseases – State Sens. Pan (D-Sacramento) and Allen (D-Santa Monica) write, “We are the lucky ones. We have inherited the benefits of vaccines that protect our children from the suffering inflicted by polio, measles and pertussis. Thanks to vaccines, the truly horrific natures of these diseases are no longer in our collective consciousness. We are authoring SB 277 so they will never be there again.” Pan/Allen op-ed in Fresno Bee

Firefighters union opposes Grove tax-break bill for veterans – Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, has run into unexpected opposition to her efforts to help military veterans start a new business. California Professional Firefighters, a 30,000-member union, has come out against Grove’s Assembly Bill 328, which would give military veterans an extra two years’ exemption from paying the annual $800 Minimum Franchise Tax charged to California businesses.  Bakersfield California article

Lawmakers consider bill to fix another trouble California state computer system — Another budget-busting state computer system, another bill. This time it’s the Department of Consumer Affairs’ BreEZe project and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen’s measure, which would heighten scrutiny on the troubled IT projectSacramento Bee article

Joel Fox: Steve Glazer, blazing a trail – A Democrat will be elected in the Senate District 7 special election next month but depending on which Democrat is elected the result could change the course of California political history.  Fox in Fox & Hounds

State of Jefferson proponents again try to persuade Plumas County supervisors – State of Jefferson proponents bombarded the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday with revenue and expense projections, but did not win a commitment to support the proposed 51st state.  Sacramento Bee article

Ida Jones: Is tort reform really necessary? — Many business groups across the country routinely call for changes to the legal system to reduce what they call frivolous lawsuits – something called tort reform. But in this edition of FM89’s commentary series The Moral Is, Fresno State Business Law Professor Ida Jones says the current system, despite some well publicized exceptions, is working just fine.  Jones in KVPR

Hollywood likely to line up behind Hillary Clinton in presidential race — In the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hollywood’s loyalties were divided between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. This time, Clinton is expected to face little primary competition — and the left-leaning entertainment industry is poised to become a major source of campaign cash.  LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

Drought unlikely to harm California economy in short term, analyst says — California’s punishing drought has fallowed farmland and yellowed front lawns, yet it will have little noticeable impact on the state’s overall economy or government revenue, at least in the short term, according to a new report by the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst.  Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

$261 million set aside for potential high-speed rail cost overruns in Valley — More than $260 million has been set aside for possible cost overruns for high-speed rail construction between Fresno and the Tulare-Kern county line. California High-Speed Rail Authority directors established the contingency for the 65-mile Construction Package 2-3 at their meeting Tuesday in San Francisco.  Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Debate over Kern libraries, and a possible tax votes, heats up – The debate about how to improve Kern County’s libraries is collecting momentum. Should voters consider a library tax? Should the county outsource? Should cities help pay for libraries?  Bakersfield Californian article

Atwater considers economic incentive program touted by similar city – Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell drove nearly 80 miles to Atwater to speak to the City Council about a plan he says saved his city from economic collapse, a program he believes can help Atwater.  Merced Sun-Star article

CalPERS contributions to rise more than 9 percent – CalPERS is about to raise pension contribution rates again, this time by more than 9 percent, a move that will cost state government and local school districts nearly $600 million.  Sacramento Bee article

Keep Your Home California expands two mortgage-help programs — Keep Your Home California continues to expand its programs to help low and moderate-income homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. The state-run $2 billion mortgage assistance program has changed the requirements for two of its four programs.  Fresno Bee article

Two Vons stores set to close next month — Two Bakersfield supermarkets — the Vons stores on Olive Drive and Stine Road — will close within about a month as part of a cost-cutting measure following the acquisition of their parent company by Idaho-based Albertsons LLC.  Bakersfield Californian article

San Jose takes fight against MLB to U.S. Supreme Court – San Jose is hoping it can persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to play ball. In an expected development in the city’s frustrated quest to lure the Oakland A’s to the South Bay, San Jose’s lawyers on Wednesday plan to ask the Supreme Court to consider the city’s claims that Major League Baseball has violated federal antitrust laws.  San Jose Mercury News article

State of City: Garcetti focuses on public safety; wants Uber, Lyft at airport — The Los Angeles Police Department will reassign hundreds of officers to new roles in mobile crime-fighting and community policing, a broad reorganization effort aimed at suppressing a surge in violent crime, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced during his 2015 State of the City speech Tuesday night.  LA Times article

Lawmakers give special permission to LA County to raise taxes – A state Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill that would give the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) special power to seek voter approval of a half-cent increase in the county’s sales tax to pay for transit projects.  LA Times article

Low-wage workers plan walkouts, call for $15 an hour – Heartened by growing support for their cause and recent pay hikes by large corporate employers, America’s low-wage workers will continue their fight for higher pay Wednesday with protests, rallies and one-day walkouts scheduled in more than 200 cities.  McClatchy Newspapers article

San Francisco City Hall calls attention to women’s lagging pay – San Francisco already has taken steps toward closing that gap. Supervisor David Campos’ equal pay ordinance passed last year, requiring city contractors with at least 20 employees to provide the city’s Human Rights Commission with pay information by job and gender.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Mayor, Ferrell offer new restrictions on Airbnb rentals — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell are stepping into one of the city’s most contentious issues, suggesting ways to toughen and streamline regulations of short-term rentals in private homes.  San Francisco Chronicle article

CalPERS says it trimmed fees to Wall Street — The California Public Employees’ Retirement System said investment costs for managing its massive portfolio shrank by $90 million in the last five years, and that costs are now below those of its peers. LA Times article


Valley looks to D.C. for drought relief — Fresno-area officials and business leaders hope to turn on the financial and water taps during their annual federal lobbying trip this week. But so far, they’ve hit some dry wells.  McClatchy Newspapers article

State water regulator flexes new muscle in response to drought – Long considered timid and politically weak, California’s Water Resources Control Board is flexing new muscle in response to a dry spell that threatens to be the worst in modern California history. LA Times article

April drought update: How do the reservoirs look? Low, and getting lower – At least one of the state’s 10 biggest reservoirs — the mammoth New Melones Lake, on the Stanislaus River — may be emptied entirely before next fall’s hoped-for rains.  KQED report

How water cuts could affect every community in California – Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to cut water use by 25 percent will have varying effects on residents across the state. Communities with the highest per capita use could be forced to cut daily consumption by as much as 35 percent, under a preliminary plan released by state officials.  New York Times article

Turlock tightens watering rules – The city’s tighter rules on outdoor watering start Wednesday – only two days a week because of a drought that just keeps getting worse.  Modesto Bee article

Sacramento-area water agencies push back against proposed water cuts – Water agencies representing hundreds of thousands of Sacramento-area residents are pushing back against a state plan that calls for their customers to sharply reduce water use while other parts of California face smaller cuts.  Sacramento Bee article

Water suppliers OK 15 percent cut to cities, water districts in Southland – The agency that typically provides Southern California with about half its water supply tightened the spigot Tuesday when its board voted to cut regional deliveries by 15%.  LA Times article; AP article

Ag water tug-of-war goes viral – Seems like everybody is jumping into the red-hot California water debate. Ever since Gov. Jerry Brown announced on April 1 that cities like Hanford and Lemoore would be forced to conserve in a big way to cut the state’s water use by 25 percent, the accusations have been flying, with major non-California blogs, newspapers and pundits jumping into the ring last week and asking whether California agriculture – the largest private source of jobs in Kings County and a $45 billion industry statewide – is sharing the pain.  Hanford Sentinel article

Modesto Bee: Gray’s water bill passes first crucial test – His Assembly Bill 1242 passed its first committee vote Tuesday, 8-4 – the barest of margins. Next, it goes to the Natural Resources Committee, where it faces another tough battle. To understand the importance of this tiny step, consider two things that happened last year.  Modesto Bee editorial

Readers say: My lawn is brown, why isn’t yours? – Readers are reacting to Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for water cutbacks in cities, basically saying: “My lawn is turning brown, why isn’t yours?” The shaming and finger-pointing stage probably isn’t peaking yet, but it’s coming on strong. They’re not just talking about their neighbors.  Fresno Bee article

Gerawan workers protest outside Court of Appeal in Fresno — Several hundred Gerawan Farming workers protested outside the 5th District Court of Appeal in downtown Fresno on Tuesday, angry over nearly a two-year delay in resolving an election that could remove the United Farm Workers as their union.  Fresno Bee article

Lois Henry: Can we justify pouring water on fireworks fires? — California’s drought has become quite handy for pointing the finger at things people don’t like — ­almonds, fracking, the Central Valley in general, etc. Since I hate being left out of any trend, I’ve got one, too: personal fireworks.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

LA councilman looks to leftover bath, laundry water for conservation — City Councilman Paul Krekorian doesn’t want the leftover water from daily showers, dish washing and laundry to go to waste. As this historic drought drags into its fourth year and public officials practically beg Californians to reduce water usage, Krekorian introduced a motion calling for new city standards that would allow more use of greywater. LA Times article

Winegrape acreage flatlines in state — California’s winegrape acreage changed little last year, according to estimates released Tuesday by state and federal farm officials. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Fresno Bee: Fresno Police Department is on the right track – We will need more answers about the Foster situation and more details about changes that should be made. But we shouldn’t lose sight of this truth: Fresnans are safer today than they have been in several years because of the efforts of their police department.  Fresno Bee editorial

Lawmakers, police officers disagree on body camera rules – Despite opposition from law enforcement groups, a state Assembly panel approved legislation Tuesday that would set strict rules for police officers wearing body cameras, including a prohibition on officers reviewing video footage before they make their initial statement on use-of-force incidents.  LA Times article

Merced considers incentives for police recruits – Merced officials say they’ve had a rough time trying to fill vacancies in the Merced Police Department, so they want to look at incentive programs and a greater recruitment effort to bolster the police force.  Merced Sun-Star article

Sex-offender limits no longer tied to voters’ initiative — California parole agents will have to find a specific link to child victims if they decide to bar sex offender parolees from living near schools and parks, under a new policy issued Tuesday.  AP article

Steve Lopez: Curbing use of deadly force by police calls for new policies, training – “When the community trusts the police and wants to see them succeed, you get a lot less use of force. Police aren’t having hair-trigger reactions because they think everyone coming at them is a threat,” Rice said. Right about now, in Los Angeles and beyond, we could use a lot more of that kind of thinking. Lopez column in LA Times

Defendants in Chukchansi casino raid file civil rights claim — Fourteen members of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino tribal police force and security team have filed legal claims against Madera County saying they were falsely arrested and jailed for trying to take back a casino gaming office from an opposing faction.  Fresno Bee article

Danny Morrison: It’s a tough job, but that doesn’t get police officers off the hook — Dear Police Officers, I still support you. I will still defend you. All I ask is that you please start using better discretion in the future. You can’t continue to practice a 20th century mentality in a technologically-advanced 21st century. Everyone has a camera. They’re all around you. Conform or suffer the consequences. All it takes is for the people we’ve hired to “protect and serve” to start protecting and serving. Fairly.  Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

Patterson to get new police chief – Police Chief Tori Hughes has accepted a new assignment to run the sheriff’s investigations division, so this West Side city will get a new chief soon. Modesto Bee article


LA County supervisors call for Sheriff’s Department hiring plan — As the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launches a major hiring push, county officials are concerned that it will have a hard time filling hundreds of positions without compromising hiring standards.  LA Times article

Black Lives Matter: Protest briefly closes Pacific Avenue — A small group of protesters seeking an end to what they described as police injustice and “police murder” caused some large headaches Tuesday afternoon for thousands of motorists along Pacific Avenue when they went into the street, bringing traffic to a standstill between West March Lane and West Swain Avenue. Stockton Record article


Is earning a college degree worth the expense? Experts weigh in – No one questions that college can be a life-changing experience intellectually and socially. But in a recent flurry of books and studies, economists and other experts focus on whether lifelong earnings are boosted enough by a diploma to make all the tuition costs and student debt worthwhile.  LA Times article

Heald College facing $30 million fine on job placement claims — The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday it will fine the for-profit Heald College $30 million and will bar the once venerable business school from enrolling new students because a federal investigation found that its owner, Corinthian Colleges Inc., made nearly 1,000 misleading job placement claims.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Heald College fined, barred from enrolling more students after federal investigation — In another blow to the Heald College chain as it teeters on the brink of closure, the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday barred it from enrolling more students and fined its parent company $30 million, citing a federal investigation that found it routinely misled prospective students about their job prospects.  San Jose Mercury News article

LA Unified board approves multibillion-dollar benefits package — The Los Angeles Board of Education approved a multibillion-dollar benefits plan Tuesday that will maintain the current package of healthcare services for employees for the next three years.  LA Times article

Fresno Pacific University to open nursing program in Merced – Fresno Pacific University is expanding its nursing program to its Merced campus in August. The 18-month program will allow registered nurses to obtain their Bachelor of Science in nursing, preparing them for leadership positions in the health care industry. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Merced Connect: Professor gets grant to study NGOs in Honduras — UC Merced sociology professor Paul Almeida has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to study nongovernmental organizations and their role in community well-being in Honduras.  UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star article

After-school programs could be cut at 4 Sacramento schools – The city of Sacramento is considering closing 4th “R” after-school programs at four Sacramento City Unified School District campuses and severing its ties to another after-school program at 18 schools.  Sacramento Bee article

Clinton owes no debt to Pacific, university says — Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton does not owe any debts to the University of the Pacific for a campaign rally held there in 2008, university officials said Tuesday. One day earlier, a university employee posted on Facebook that Clinton still owed $12,000 for her rally seven years ago, according to a News 10 report. Stockton Record article


Sacramento Bee: Record fine is a good start, but PG&E is too big – The problem may be that PG&E is just too big, as Picker suggested.  Sacramento Bee editorial

South Modesto recycler seeks scrap-metal growth – A south Modesto business seeks a land-use permit for a scrap-metal recycling operation that generated complaints and a county code enforcement action in 2013.  Modesto Bee article

Kevin de Leon: California can reach petroleum reduction goals – The state Senate president pro tem writes, “California is what the future of America looks like, and achieving significant reduction in petroleum use will be one of the greatest examples we set for the world. We are a global leader because we face challenges head-on. We cannot afford to stop now.”  de Leon op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Commission seeks Edison emails — The California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday ordered Southern California Edison to turn over all documents related to the potential settlement of the San Onofre closure dated between March 2013 and November 2014.  U-T San Diego article

Health/Human Services

Senate overhauls doctors’ Medicare payments in groundbreaking vote – Medicare is poised to overhaul the way it pays physicians and create new systems to reward high-performing doctors under legislation approved by the Senate late Tuesday. LA Times article

New bills renew California’s anti-smoking effort – California has become a battleground between the tobacco industry and health groups as lawmakers push proposals that include increasing cigarette taxes by $2 a pack and raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.  LA Times article

Report: Medical data breaches are rising, with no end in sight – High-profile health care data breaches, like the recent attack on medical insurance giant Anthem that compromised the personal information of as many as 80 million Americans, are on the rise and expected to increase with the use of new technologies employed by criminals, a study by Kaiser Permanente researchers has found.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Hidden side effect of cancer treatment: Big bills – High-deductible health plans and soaring drug prices are to blame, he says, and a sea change happened when a new generation of drug therapies got FDA approval for treatment in the late 1990s.  KQED report

Tulare planners approve permit for new health facility — The Tulare Community Health Clinic received planning commission approval to build a new 7,379 square-foot building to house a primary care facility in West Tulare.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Land Use/Housing

Downtown Bakersfield apartments approved, appeal planned — A modern four-story apartment building slated for one of downtown’s oldest residential areas won approval Tuesday from a divided Board of Zoning Adjustment after 11 neighbors and nearby property owners spoke against it and promised to appeal the decision.  Bakersfield Californian article

Bill to restrict Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco hangs by a thread — A state lawmaker’s effort to severely restrict a new landlord’s right to evict tenants in San Francisco using the Ellis Act was hanging by a thread after a legislative committee rejected the bill Tuesday but kept open the opportunity for a second vote.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Sacramento County considers spending $6 million to reduce black youth deaths – About 250 people crowded into the chambers of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to support a plan aimed at reducing deaths among black children.  Sacramento Bee article

Marcos Breton: Sacramento area’s deaths vary by race — Sacramento could be one incident away from exploding in the kind of strife that has afflicted other communities with vast racial disparities in poverty, health outcomes and mortality rates.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Forum looks at helping the homeless – It was standing-room-only Monday night during the 210 Connect Forum that addressed homelessness within Tulare County.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Navy shows off F-35C at Lemoore Naval Air Station – The F-35C jet fighter made its first appearance at the Navy’s West Coast air base Tuesday, providing an up-close look at the nation’s newest generation of jet fighter.  Fresno Bee article

‘Leaker’ who released Pentagon Papers draws standing ovation – Dr. Daniel Ellsberg flashed peace signs as he was greeted with a standing ovation at Cal State Bakersfield’s Dore Theater Tuesday night. Known for his release of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, Ellsberg spoke to a standing-room-only audience at the 29th Annual Charles W. Kegley Memorial Lecture.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Edition Interview: Daniel Ellsberg on Edward Snowden — Today Ellsberg is known as an influential whistleblower. He recently joined us to talk about his life, and about his thoughts on the actions of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.  KVPR report

A carousel horse of a different color? – Is the Hanford Chamber of Commerce repainting all the horses on the city’s iconic carousel the same color just to save a few bucks on maintenance? A Facebook group called “Save Hanford’s Horses” claims the chamber plans to do exactly that. The group had more than 250 members as of Monday. But Chamber CEO Mike Bertaina says the rumor is false and he’s not sure how it got started. Hanford Sentinel article

Grand jury urges Central Coast city of Guadalupe to dissolve – In a report titled “Guadalupe Shell Game Must End,” the grand jury concluded that more than a decade of financial mismanagement, a declining tax base and increasing debt obligations have all but ensured the doom of the 1.3-square-mile working-class town that was first established in 1840.  LA Times article

Sacramento Japanese Americans protest auction of internment camp art — Yoshinori “Toso” Himel said he felt sad at first when he saw his late mother’s photo online, listed for sale in an upcoming auction. The picture was taken during a difficult time, when many Japanese were locked up in internment camps during World War II. His sadness soon hardened into outrage. Sacramento Bee article

San Francisco board votes to ban wild, exotic animal performances in city — If the circus is coming to town, that town won’t be San Francisco under a new regulation that would ban all performances by wild and exotic animals in the city.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We will need more answers about the Foster situation and more details about changes that should be made. But we shouldn’t lose sight of this truth: Fresnans are safer today than they have been in several years because of the efforts of their police department.

Merced Sun-Star – Assemblyman Adam Gray’s water bill passes its first crucial test.

Modesto Bee – Assemblyman Adam Gray’s water bill passes its first crucial test.

Sacramento Bee – Record fine is a good start, but PG&E is too big.

Stockton RecordJail time in distracted-driver case would have been appropriate.