Will California’s new minimum wage law make sense in Bakersfield? – The prospect of a $15 minimum in every corner of California has raised questions about what the impact will be in areas of the state where wage levels are significantly lower. In parts of the Central Valley and inland Southern California, for example, average wages for all occupations are less than the statewide average, sometimes significantly so. That means the phase-in of the $15 minimum wage by 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees could well be more difficult to absorb for employers in those areas. Sacramento Bee article; Fresno Bee article
House intel chief Nunes calls Lemoore air base breach ‘alarming’ — Rep. Devin Nunes, the Tulare Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, Friday cited the “alarming security breach” at Lemoore Naval Air Station in which a couple fleeing authorities managed to drive into the base and crash into an FA-18E fighter jet. Fresno Bee article; Hanford Sentinel article
Fresno police, fire unions endorse Garry Bredefeld for City Council — Former Fresno City Council member Garry Bredefeld, who is seeking to regain the District 6 seat he held from 1997 through 2000, picked up the endorsements of two prominent city employee unions on Friday. Fresno Bee article
Merced registrar looks to clear up voter-drive questions — Merced County Registrar of Voters Office staffers said Friday that they want to clear up misconceptions related to voter-drive volunteers who go door to door. There are a number of organizations making a push to register voters, according to Registrar Barbara Levey, and her office has received an increase in questions about the volunteers. Merced Sun-Star article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
U.S. Senate race shaping up as Harris-Sanchez match — Electorate realities seem to ensure the seat will remain with the Democrats. In majorstatewide polls, no Republicans have been able to reach 10 percent support from likely voters. KPBS report
Ted Cruz to speak at California Republican Party convention — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who for months has prepared his political operation in California, will give the keynote address at the state Republican Party’s spring convention. Sacramento Bee article
‘It’s a nightmare inside’: Bill would place new restrictions on private immigration detention centers — In a political challenge to the use of private, for-profit detention centers, the Democratic legislator is proposing to bar cities from contracting with them on behalf of ICE, and to allow those detained to file civil actions against the facility’s operator if their rights are violated. LA Times article
Nikki Fortunato Bas and Roxana Tynan: Wins in cities paved way for California’s minimum wage hike – Bas, executive director of Partnership for Working Families, and Tynan, executive director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, write, “On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown plans to sign a historic bill to make California the first state to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. While the move from distant worker dream to undeniable reality happened quickly, there were many tough local fights along the way that made it possible.” Bas/Tynan op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Locals respond to new minimum wage law – California’s minimum wage law approved by California lawmakers on Thursday, which raises the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022 and improves living standards for low-wage workers, has people talking across the state and country. Yet not everyone in Kings County is talking about positive change or economic advantages. Hanford Sentinel article
Five Democrats got campaign checks from union the same day they voted to raise minimum wage – The same day they voted to raise the minimum wage, five Democratic lawmakers received big campaign checks from a local union of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the group that pressured lawmakers for the wage bill, according to documents filed with the state. LA Times article (scroll to article)
Joel Fox: Business and labor weigh next moves after minimum wage bill passes — Some in the business community might look at the bill and decide it is a better option than dealing with the initiative. Others may think the swift and sharp increase of the wage in the initiative can be stopped at the ballot. It seems labor is in the catbird seat and business has the tough strategic call to make. Fox in Fox & Hounds
$15 minimum-wage movement sets sights on more states — California and New York — where almost 1 in 5 Americans live — are on their way to raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the activists who spearheaded those efforts are now setting their sights on other similarly liberal, Democratic-led states. Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington are among the states with active “Fight for $15” efforts, and even economic experts who oppose the increased rate see it gaining momentum. AP article
Life in a city with $14 wage — Security guard Kenneth Lofton was among the workers who benefited last year when the East Bay city of Emeryville hiked its hourly minimum wage to nearly $15 for employees at large companies. LA Times article
Galgiani bill would offer tax relief – Several constituents in the Central Valley are faced with mounting mortgage debt, and San Joaquin County’s State Senate representative is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill that will relieve them of that burden. Stockton Record article
How California awards presidential primary delegates — California Democrats and Republicans award delegates in each congressional district. “So you’re gonna essentially have 53 small campaigns around the state,” says Paul Mitchell, who runs one of California’s most respected political data companies. Capital Public Radio report
The Numbers Crunch: Trues, lies and Donald Trump – Truth is the first casualty of war, the saying goes. Truth has also been beaten up and bloodied in this raucous presidential campaign. As we head into Tuesday’s potentially pivotal primary in Wisconsin, three guesses who’s telling the most whoppers, and the first two don’t count. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee
On campuses across the country, students are standing up for Donald Trump — Although vastly outnumbered nationwide by left-leaning classmates chanting “Feel the Bern,” the youngest supporters of the GOP front-runner say they are similarly inspired by the hope of a radically different future and eager to support a leader who strikes them as anti-establishment and willing to speak his mind. LA Times article
Donald Trump is now the least popular American politician in three decades — Controversy over Trump has failed to dent his standing with his core supporters in the Republican primaries, but his image among the rest of the electorate has plunged. The share of Americans with an unfavorable view of Trump is extraordinary: 68% in the most recent Bloomberg poll, 67% in the CNN/ORC survey, 67% in the ABC/Washington Post poll, 65% from Gallup. LA Times article
How California lawmakers dominate oversight of U.S. spy agencies — Three disparate California lawmakers lead Congress’ oversight of the U.S. spy services, sharing secrets but not the same spin. One is a former San Francisco mayor and the state’s deal-making senior senator. Another comes from the rural Central Valley, holding a master’s degree in agriculture. The third is a Harvard Law School-trained former federal prosecutor with statewide political ambitions. McClatchy Newspapers article
Valley’s Westside farmers seethe over tiny water allocation from feds — Westside farmers got dismal news Friday when the U.S. Bureau Reclamation announced a 5 percent water allocation for 2016. Farmers say the paltry allocation will mean thousands of acres in one of the nation’s most productive farming regions will continue to be fallowed. Fresno Bee article; Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; The Business Journal article; KVPR report; AP article; Modesto Bee article
Merced council members say city-county deal key to spurring economic growth — The growth of Merced’s economy is being limited by its inability to annex land on its borders, including property near UC Merced, according to members of the City Council who are pressing for an agreement with the county that is needed to move forward. Merced Sun-Star article
Jobs and the Economy
Job-seekers return at fastest pace since before recession — Americans are flooding back into the job market at the fastest pace since before the Great Recession, encouraged by steady hiring and some signs of higher pay. The flow has halted, at least temporarily, one of the economy’s more discouraging trends: the sharp decline in the percentage of people either working or looking for work. That figure fell last year to a four-decade low. AP article; LA Times article
California sues Morgan Stanley over ‘massive’ investment losses – California officials Friday sued investment banking giant Morgan Stanley & Co. over huge losses suffered by the state’s public pension funds when the housing market crashed. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article
McClatchy stock regains compliance with New York exchange – The McClatchy Co. said Friday it has regained compliance with New York Stock Exchange regulations and its shares will continue to be listed on the exchange. Sacramento Bee article
Turlock milk facility names CEO — A new company planning to build a state-of-the-art powdered milk facility in a Turlock industrial park has hired its first chief executive officer. Patricia Smith will oversee operations at Valley Milk LLC. Modesto Bee article
New River Cats menu takes a swing at farm-to-fork fare — In its second season affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, the Triple-A minor league baseball team continues to play up its connections to its agriculturally rich surroundings. This season, Raley Field’s former “Kids Corner” play area moved to a new location behind right field and has a new name – “Down on the Farm.” That farm-fresh take extends to Raley Field’s catering menu and its concession stands, which got off-season upgrades along with the stadium. Sacramento Bee article
Google Ventures won’t fund North Carolina startups till anti-gay law is gone – Google Ventures will not invest in North Carolina startups as long as a new law limiting protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people remains in place. “I am not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this,” Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris wrote in a note to the company’s partners, according to tech website Recode. San Jose Mercury News article
Hundreds of thousands could lose food stamps as states restore limits – Hundreds of thousands of people could soon lose food stamps as states reimpose time limits and work requirements that were suspended in recent years because of high unemployment, state officials and advocates for the poor said Friday. New York Times article
San Francisco’s crabbers are back in business after toxic algae subside — With a well-practiced choreography of hoists and chains, bins and forklifts, each vessel quickly deposited thousands of pounds of flailing Dungeness crabs. The next morning, they would head back out for more. This was on Thursday afternoon, a breezy, cloudless spring day in San Francisco. Two days earlier, after a delay of more than four months, the crabs offshore had been determined by state officials to be free of a toxic acid that had raised food safety concerns. LA Times article
Poor residents were promised WiFi service. The Times found they didn’t get it — In a report to the California Public Utilities Commission in March of 2015 documenting what it did with nearly $500,000 in ratepayer fees, the company said it had deployed free Wi-Fi hot spots at eight parks and 16 community Wi-Fi networks, “enabling over 100,000 community based unique end-users the opportunity to connect to the Internet.” But today, most of those networks and hot spots don’t link to the Internet. LA Times article
Stockton to get zero New Melones water – This winter’s El Niño played an April Fool’s joke on two water districts that serve Stockton and farmers east of Stockton. For the second year in a row, Stockton East and Central San Joaquin water districts will receive no water from New Melones Reservoir, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday. Stockton Record article
Fresno Bee: California’s most pressing need still is water supply – Californians have never much liked sharing water. But some people are not giving up trying. The rest ought to jump in. There is no more pressing issue for California’s future. Fresno Bee editorial
Stanford study: California moving toward more extreme weather — Stanford researchers who studied trends in the atmospheric circulation patterns that affect California’s rainfall have found that conditions linked to the hot, dry weather during our latest drought have become more frequent in recent decades, according to research published Friday. San Jose Mercury News article; San Francisco Chronicle article
Mike Dunbar: Is water wasted if you’ve got nowhere to keep it? – Tired of playing the water-saving game – shorter showers, browner grass, dirtier cars? Me, too. So let’s join those playing the “wasted-water” game. Instead of bragging about how much we’ve saved, we can shout about how much is going to waste. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee
Phil Isenberg: Parting thoughts for Delta water warriors – The outgoing vice chairman of the Delta Stewardship Council writes, “More than 50 years in public policy have taught me a lot of lessons. Maybe the most enduring is that regular folks as well as hired lobbyists talk differently in public than they do in private conversation. The most common refrain in public is ‘me, and my interest first.’ When I talk to these people in private, however, they are far more reasonable.” Isenberg op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Sierra Nevada’s white, wonderful watershed – For Pacific Gas & Electric Co., knowing how much water will be coming out of the mountains helps the power company plan for spring and summer runoff through its hydroelectric power plants. Bee photographer John Walker accompanied hydrographer Matthew Meadows and communication representative Evelyn Escalera on a helicopter ride into the Sierra to measure snow levels and water content at sites in the Kings River watershed, including a spot at 10,300 feet. Fresno Bee article
Visalia City Council reverses decision on walnut trees – Visalia City Council is going into the farming business. The council decided to reverse an earlier vote and will go ahead with plans to plant 17 acres of walnutsjust north of Highway 198 on the city’s west side. Visalia Times-Delta article
Merced’s annual Cesar Chavez march to highlight farm labor — The Cesar Chavez Committee will honor its namesake this weekend with a march to continue pushing for the rights of farm laborers. Merced Sun-Star article
One of LAPD’s preferred weapons to help officers avoid shootings often doesn’t work — As two Los Angeles police officers wrestled with a vandalism suspect, one grabbed her Taser and pressed the stun gun against the 38-year-old man’s body. The device was supposed to deliver a jolt strong enough to stun him so the officers could take him into custody. But the Taser had no effect, police said. LA Times article
Police body cameras: What do you see? – Public frustration with policing has led to calls nationwide for more cameras worn by officers. But what do those cameras actually reveal? Below, you’ll answer questions about three videos of simulated interactions involving police officers. This is not a scientific survey, answer the best you can. To get started, tell us a little about your views. New York Times article
Saluting Latinas in law enforcement — Seven Tulare County women — most in uniform, some in business attire — earned plaudits, awards and admiration this week when they were saluted by the United Women’s Organization and the Latinas in Business & Professions Association as top Latinas in law enforcement. Visalia Times-Delta article
Was San Francisco Police Department’s latest racist-texts scandal hidden for months? — With a new group of San Francisco police officers accused of exchanging racist and homophobic text messages, the city’s criminal justice leaders are fighting again, this time over whether police properly notified prosecutors and defense attorneys of the texts last year and that they might harm officers’ credibility as they testify against crime suspects in court. San Francisco Chronicle article; KQED report
A bite by a San Diego police dog could be a severe use of force, appeals court rules – A police dog that bit through a woman’s lip as she slept in her office after hours could be viewed as a severe use of force, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, and that question and whether it was appropriate force should be considered by a jury. LA Times article
Cab driver who was kidnapped by Orange County jail escapees didn’t get a reward – so he plans to sue — The cab driver who was kidnapped by three Orange County jail escapees said Friday that he planned to sue the county for discrimination. LA Times article
Lawsuit by strip club dancers against San Diego police can advance, judge rules — Exotic dancers who claim they were held against their will and photographed by San Diego police officers during a compliance raid can move forward with their lawsuit, a federal judge ruled this week. LA Times article
Kings County school districts consider bonds – Local school districts hope to piggyback on the possible approval of a state school bond for construction projects in November by passing their own bonds for school construction money. The idea would be to use the state and local bond money together to increase the amount of construction possible. Hanford Sentinel article
UC Davis students march to pressure Kaheti to step down – At least 250 students marched across the UC Davis campus Friday afternoon demanding the resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi for what they see as ethical lapses in her acceptance of board seats of private corporations. Sacramento Bee article
UC Irvine builds eSports arena and offers gaming scholarships — Gamers, it’s time to get a jump start on your college applications. The University of California, Irvine announced on Wednesday it will be the first public institution to offer video gaming scholarships. Bakersfield Californian article
Middle school students’ project soars – The weather conditions on Friday were just right. Light winds; low humidity and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky. A perfect day to launch a weather balloon 100,000 feet and beyond into the atmosphere. Stockton Record article
Student put 50 million stolen research articles online (for free) — Alexandra Elbakyan is a highbrow pirate in hiding. The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is operating a searchable online database of nearly 50 million stolen scholarly journal articles, shattering the $10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers. Washington Post article
Kimberly McCoy: Enough! South Fresno’s pollution stinks – The community organizer for Communities for a New California Education Fund writes, “For years, hundreds of residents of south Fresno have told the city ‘Enough is enough.’ I have since moved to north Fresno, but the residents who remain in south Fresno simply cannot tolerate any more bad neighbors like toxic facilities. And they shouldn’t have to.” McCoy op-ed in Fresno Bee
Over protests, South Coast Air Quality Management District hires industry consultant as executive — Over strong objections from environmentalists, the Southland’s air quality board appointed an industry consultant as its new executive Friday in the latest expression of a shift toward relaxing pollution regulation in the nation’s smoggiest region. LA Times article
San Joaquin County health officials fear measles outbreak – San Joaquin County Public Health Services is hoping to avoid a measles outbreak after discovering someone who would have been contagious with the disease ate at a Stockton restaurant on March 22. Stockton Record article
Fentanyl cases in Sacramento region rise to 36 overdoses, 9 deaths – As of Friday morning, 36 overdose cases and nine deaths linked to the synthetic opioid fentanyl have been reported to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article
Sacramento fentanyl overdoses show opiate addiction’s toll knows no boundaries – The victims, authorities said, are from a wide variety of backgrounds and neighborhoods and may not fit the stereotype of what many consider to be an addict. Sacramento Bee article
Visalia Times-Delta endorses Measure H – A hospital is one of those local commodities most of us take for granted — until we need one. Then we are eternally grateful that it’s there, particularly if located nearby. But what if there isn’t one close by when a medical emergency hits? What would you do then? Visalia Times-Delta editorial
Former Tulare hospital medical leadership vows to continue legal fight – An ongoing legal battle between the Tulare Local Healthcare District and former leaders of the Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) Medical Staff appears unlikely to wind down anytime soon, with both sides accusing the other of endangering patient safety. The Business Journal article
Feel the Burn: A play on Bernie Sanders’ campaign slogan becomes ad promoting STD testing — With some sexually transmitted diseases on the rise locally and nationally, a local AIDS advocacy group is turning to a popular political phrase to get the message of safe sex out. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has new billboards across Los Angeles with the phrase “Feel the Burn?” a play on the Bernie Sanders campaign slogan “Feel the Bern.” LA Times article
State report slams Denti-Cal – A California oversight board is calling the state dental program for low-income people “baffling, frustrating,” and “harmful.” The Little Hoover Commission writes in a report released Friday that outdated regulations and bureaucracy create “high levels of havoc” for the 13 million Californians enrolled in Denti-Cal. Capital Public Radio report
Films in Modesto highlight sexual, child abuse — Stanislaus County organizations join forces this month for a pair of film screenings to help raise awareness about two serious issues. Because April is both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month, the Stanislaus Family Justice Center, Haven Women’s Center and the Stanislaus County Community Services Agency are collaborating to present the movies. Modesto Bee article
Handicapped playground on Hanford agenda — The much-discussed issue of Freedom Park’s disabled-accessible playground surface is on Monday’s Hanford Parks and Recreation Commission agenda. Hanford Sentinel article
GET adds bus service to outlet mall — Golden Empire Transit has added the Outlets at Tejon to its weekday service, the bus company announced Friday. Bakersfield Californian article
Identities released of two killed when SUV crashed into fighter jet on Lemoore base — The two people who died when the Jeep Cherokee they were in sped into Lemoore Naval Air Station and crashed into a F-18 fighter jet have been identified by the Kings County Sheriff’s Department. Driver Anthony Raymond Castillo, 29, was from Campbell and passenger Melissa Marie Miller, 36, from San Jose. Fresno Bee article
Kern County’s first public defender dies at 83 – Willard L. Weddell, who served as Kern County public defender from 1969 to 1995 — in a county where advocates for criminal defendants were not always seen as popular — died at home Thursday after a struggle with cancer. He was 83. Bakersfield Californian article
Andrew Fiala on Ethics: Education is the solution to climate change, Syrian refugees and ISIS – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “Education is the cure for the twin diseases of indifference and wickedness. Indeed, education is an act of preservation and conservation. We need to learn more about science, history, politics, religion, art and ethics. We need to criticize greed, hatred and indifference. And we need to understand the fragility of civilization.” Fiala column in Fresno Bee
Carmen George: Fresno-born tigers growing up across California – Life is going well for four tigers born at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The cubs that were met with much fanfare after their birth in January 2014 are now large, healthy teenagers who like climbing trees and checking out the opposite sex. It’s been a year since brothers Berani and Cinta were moved to the San Diego Zoo and five months since sister Batari was moved to the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond. Arya remains at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. George in Fresno Bee
Robin Abcarian: Open-air urinal in San Francisco park has no designs on privacy — From his kitchen window, at the southwest edge of the park, Sullivan, 63, a retired personal trainer, has a spectacular view of the skyline and the Oakland Hills, unobstructed, thanks to the park’s steeply raked sloped. These days, his view includes the backs of dozens of men relieving themselves in a new open-air urinal, the city’s latest solution to a pervasive lack of restrooms. Abcarian in LA Times
Valley Editorial Roundup
Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down; Californians have never much liked sharing water. But some people are not giving up trying. The rest ought to jump in. There is no more pressing issue for California’s future.
Merced Sun-Star – Californians have never much liked sharing water. But some people are not giving up trying. The rest ought to jump in. There is no more pressing issue for California’s future.
Visalia Times-Delta – A hospital is one of those local commodities most of us take for granted — until we need one. Then we are eternally grateful that it’s there, particularly if located nearby. But what if there isn’t one close by when a medical emergency hits? What would you do then?
Sunday, April 3, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Political Influence in California Politics: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” – Guests: John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, April 3, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Is the Valley’s Political Influence Growing?” – Guests: Fresno Bee Opinion Page Editor Bill McEwen; Paul Hurley, former editorial page editor of the Visalia Times-Delta; and Fresno State political science professor Tom Holyoke. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, April 3, at 7 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV)– El Informe Maddy Report: “California’s End of Life Law” – Guests: California State Senator Bill Monning,
The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel. Check http://www.calchannel.com to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area. You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at http://www.maddyinstitute.org/policy-analysis/the-maddy-report-tv.
- Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and other university officials will participate in a Community Conversation at the Reedley College Student Center in Reedley on April 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Seating for this free event is limited, so RSVPs should be made by Tuesday, April 5, at www.fresnostate.edu/presidentrsvp using the code “Reedleyforum.”
- The CalEITC4Me campaign will hold a free tax prep and resource fair at the Manchester Center in Fresno on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information is available here.
- The 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit will be held at Bitwise South Stadium in Fresno on Thursday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration launches March 1. More information: Jenna Chilingerian at email@example.com.
Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge – For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance. However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs. Budget choices affect us all. Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from. Next 10 California Budget Challenge
Next 10: Federal budget challenge — The Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms. Next 10 Federal Budget challenge at www.federalbudgetchallenge.org.
Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone? Next 10 California Water Challenge
LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link. http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/
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Maddy Institute Updates List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials – The Maddy Institute has updated its list of San Joaquin Valley elected officials. The list is available here.
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