April 6, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Your gas costs – and pothole repair – depend on Jerry Brown’s political skills — As a young governor, Jerry Brown pilloried Proposition 13 as a “fraud” and a “rip off,” and aligned himself against what became the landmark 1978 measure by Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann to cut property taxes. Brown, now a self-described apostle of common sense who is turning 79 on Friday, this time wants to raise taxes, pressing for a gas tax increase as the lynchpin of a 10-year, $52 billion program to fix rutted roads. The fourth-term Democrat says the spirit of the deceased anti-tax crusader still influences debate in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; KQED report; Dan Morain column in Sacramento Bee


Do you trust the media? Depends on which political planet you’re one — Voters’ views on the news media are so divergent that a statewide survey is describing California Republicans and Democrats as living in “alternate universes.” The Berkeley IGS Poll, released late Wednesday, found nearly 80 percent of Republicans have little or no trust in the media and even more think coverage of President Donald Trump has been too critical. Sacramento Bee article; San Jose Mercury News article


Gov. Brown


Brown administration proposes merging medical and recreational pot rules and licensing — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has proposed a plan for merging regulations for medical and recreational marijuana ahead of licensing the growing and selling of the latter next year. LA Times article


Police object to California marijuana regulation revamp — California law enforcement officials objected Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown‘s proposed streamlining of the state’s marijuana regulations, saying his plan could endanger public safety.  AP article

Valley politics


Mathis demands apology — Assemblyman Devon Mathis is demanding an apology from Assembly Judiciary Chairman Mark Stone (D- Monterey Bay) for his conduct during a hearing. Mathis said Stone was “unprofessional and disrespectful” while Mathis presented AB-150, which provides small business owners a six-month grace period to correct any Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA violations. Visalia Times-Delta article


Jeff Jardine: Pence adhering to Graham’s ‘Modesto Manifesto’ by not dining alone with woman except his wife — As often is the case, whenever something happens nationally or internationally, there is a Modesto connection. Modesto resident Susan Cassidy was reminded of that last week when she read a piece on National Public Radio’s website. It quoted Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker, who tweeted (and remember, this a tweet), “Mike Pence never dines alone w a woman not his wife nor does he attend events with alcohol w/o her by his side.” Jardine column in Modesto Bee; Robin Abcarian column in LA Times


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Marcos Breton: If Antonio Villaraigosa wants to become governor, he needs to make history and overcome it — If he somehow wins in a crowded field that includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Treasurer John Chiang and businessman John Cox, Villaraigosa would become the first state governor to have personally benefited from affirmative action programs that paved his way into UCLA. Breton column in Sacramento Bee




Tulare County deputies won’t join immigrant roundups or enforcement, sheriff vows — Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux announced that his agency will not participate in immigration enforcement. The sheriff’s statement, made in a video posted Tuesday on Facebook, is a response to the promise by President Donald Donald Trump during his presidential election that he would deport millions of illegal immigrants. Fresno Bee article


Trump administration concedes border wall won’t be ‘from sea to shining sea’ — President Trump’s central campaign promise — a “big, beautiful wall” along the border with Mexico — will not actually stretch across the entire border, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly told a Senate committee Wednesday. LA Times article; New York Times article


This group wants to bar children in the U.S. illegally from attending some schools — While President Trump awaits the authorization and funds to construct his promised 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border wall, an organization has proposed a local initiative that would keep immigrants who are in the country illegally out of some Inland Empire schools. LA Times article


Other areas


George Skelton: Opponents of Gov. Brown’s transportation plan say road money has been misused in the past – they’re wrong – It’s a convenient excuse to vote against unpopular tax hikes. It plays well with the public’s perpetual-but-rising mistrust of government. And more than that, it feeds the natural desire of people to make someone else pay for things they want. Skelton column in LA Times


Allan Zaremberg: Now is the time to fix California’s pothole ridden roads – The president and chief executive officer of the California Chamber of Commerce writes, “One way or another, the roads must be fixed. And who better to pay for them than those who use the roads? That’s exactly what Senate Bill 1 does. The Fresno Bee’s editorial Wednesday missed the mark. Zaremberg op-ed in Fresno Bee


In chaotic hearing, lawmakers skeptical that California tax agency can fix itself – At a chaotic budget hearing for an agency that collects a third of California’s taxes, two lawmakers said Wednesday they don’t believe the Board of Equalization can be trusted to fix the accounting deficiencies and misuse of public resources that a recent audit describedSacramento Bee article; LA Times article


California’s watchdog needs watching, whistleblower says — Lawmakers have delayed the reappointment of California’s longtime chief watchdog, State Auditor Elaine Howle, amid a review prompted by an anonymous letter that raised sharp questions about her management of the department.Sacramento Bee article


GOP and Democrats set to collide on filibuster and Supreme Court — The Senate barreled toward an institution-rattling confrontation on Thursday over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, with Democrats preparing to filibuster the selection and Republicans vowing to change longstanding rules to bypass the blockade. New York Times article; LA Times article


Presidential Politics


Schwarzenegger blasts Trump for proposed education cuts: ‘That’s not how you make America great’ — In the latest round of the simmering feud between Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Trump, the former California governor on Wednesday blasted the president’s proposal to slash federal funding for after-school programs. LA Times article


Schwarzenegger picks a 2020 primary challenger for Trump: John Kasich — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that Ohio Gov. John Kasich should campaign for the White House in 2020, essentially calling for a primary challenge to his fellow Republican, President Trump.  LA Times article


Schwarzenegger laughs off Trump jabs: ‘I think it is helping us, putting the spotlight on all the issues I care about’ — Schwarzenegger seemed amused as he compared the back-and-forth to playing ping-pong in a wide-reaching interview with The Times on Wednesday, saying he doesn’t care about Trump’s jabs as long as the attention helps him highlight causes close to his heart, such as climate change, immigration policy and redistricting reform. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


California’s high-speed rail system could be first operated by a foreign firm — Five international teams of companies – all from nations with well-established passenger rail systems – have submitted their qualifications to handle the early ramp-up operation of California’s future high-speed rail program. Fresno Bee article


Even under adjusted funding formula, California’s poorest schools still lose out, report says – A funding formula signed into law four years ago has mostly leveled the playing field among the state’s school districts, a report released Thursday found — but the money is not necessarily going to the neediest students. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Another rate hike? 11 percent increase on tap – Officials will recommend another substantial water rate hike for Stockton city customers later this year, which was not unexpected but also is not the result residents might have hoped for. If approved by the City Council, the 11 percent increase would be on top of an 18.5 percent increase that kicked in last summer. California Water Service Co. customers are not affected. Stockton Record article


Payless ShoeSource bankrupt, closing three Fresno stores, Los Banos store – Payless ShoeSource has filed for bankruptcy and is immediately closing three stores in Fresno. The discount shoe retailer is the latest to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. AP article; Merced Sun-Star article


Two Payless stores closing in Bakersfield – Two Bakersfield Payless stores will soon be closing as a result of the company filing for bankruptcy Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article


California exports continue to ‘defy conventional experience’ — California’s merchandise export trade continued its hot start to the year, with an 11 percent year-over-year gain in February, according to Beacon Economics. The Los Angeles-based research and consulting firm said California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $13.46 billion in February, up from $12.13 billion in February 2016. Sacramento Bee article


Raiders owe Coliseum up to $800,000 in parking fees, audit shows – The Oakland Raiders owe the Coliseum authority as much as $800,000 in back parking revenue from stadium lots, according to an audit. San Francisco Chronicle article


Volkswagen’s required $800-million investment in California draws criticism – For California engineers who usually toil in obscurity in state laboratories, the Volkswagen investigation was a rare moment in the spotlight. They helped discover how the German automaker was illegally evading emissions rules, leading to billions of dollars in settlements and an international recall of vehicles that were falsely promoted as running on “clean diesel” engines. But the money generated by the Volkswagen case has been the source of increasing criticism from some lawmakers, advocates and regulators. LA Times article


Hanford native takes leadership reins — Just how many people want to get into 41-year-old Angel Galvan’s downtown business, FTG Creative Embroidery, to talk to her? Look at it this way: When she comes in before the official 10 a.m. opening to get some work done, she has to sneak in to the Douty Street storefront and keep the lights off in the front. Hanford Sentinel article




Will 2017 be the wettest year? Watch the skies – This year is running neck and neck with 1983 for the wettest on record in watersheds supplying the Northern San Joaquin Valley. How the spring weather plays out — including a potent storm expected Thursday through Saturday — will determine whether 2017 ends up on top. Modesto Bee article


How much water are residents conserving these days? – Customers of the City of Bakersfield water system are far exceeding their 9 percent water conservation goal, both recently and over time. The city’s water resources manager reported on Wednesday that city water customers — generally in the southwest — used 25.7 percent less water in February than they did in February 2013. That is better than the 11.1 percent savings reached in January compared to January 2013. Bakersfield Californian article


Environmental groups challenge Trump over nervous system toxin used on California crops — Escalating a fight over a pesticide popular on California farms, environmentalists took President Donald Trump’s administration to court Wednesday in a renewed effort to get the chemical banned.Fresno Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Protestor: We want answers, we want results — A cement wall separated dozens of protesters from their loved ones housed at Tulare County’s Bob Wiley Detention Facility. On Wednesday, family and friends demanded better treatment for inmates inside. Visalia Times-Delta article


Officer who saved choking child honored as police recognize dozens — Stockton police Officer David Padula never expected to be honored by his superiors and peers for his efforts to save a life, but that is what happened Wednesday afternoon. Stockton Record article


San Francisco police union claims bias in promotions — The San Francisco police union is calling for an investigation into Chief William Scott’s decision to appoint only men to his command staff in his most recent round of promotions, signaling one of the first challenges from the rank-and-file to the new outside-hire chief.  San Francisco Chronicle article




Sacramento school district’s anti-deportation efforts spread across California — Sacramento City Unified drew high marks Wednesday from state schools chief Tom Torlakson for its “safe haven concept” that is spreading among districts around the state. Sacramento Bee article


Fresno State’s Bartko opens up to campus community with story of abuse — Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko talked about being molested as a child during a Fresno State event, “Retaking our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation,” on Wednesday evening as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Bartko spoke alongside Tim Mousseau of CampusSpeakFresno Bee article


Personal stories of sex assault victims may change minds in Merced – Thousands of students in Merced this week are walking past a clothesline meant to change their thinking about sexual violence, and there’s evidence it may be working, according to researchers. Merced Sun-Star article


Visalia Adult School: Roadway to success — Every day, between 600 and 700 students walk through the front gates at Visalia Adult School. The school, which opened 70 years ago, offers career technical training, high school diploma, GED, Licensed Practical Nurse, medical assisting, and English as a Second Language courses. Visalia Times-Delta article


The Vista student housing rises across from Stanislaus State — Construction of a four-story student housing complex is heading into the home stretch across the street from California State University, Stanislaus. Modesto Bee article




Local wind energy expert to head up Midwest conference — Who knew one of the world’s leading experts in wind energy also happens to be a resident of Bakersfield? Organizers of the 13th annual Small Wind Conference kicking off next week in Minnesota know. They’ve chosen local author and renewable energy advocate Paul Gipe as the event’s keynote speaker. Bakersfield Californian article


Health/Human Services


$500,000 gift to help Valley Children’s expansion in Modesto – Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo Winery is donating $500,000 to Valley Children’s Healthcare to support its expansion efforts in the North Valley, specifically the construction of the Pelandale Specialty Care Center in north Modesto. The Business Journal article


Dr. Ken Bird: The 8 Pillars of Public Health can boost Fresno County’s health rankings – The Fresno County Health Officer writes, “For three years as Fresno County Health Officer, I have worked with staff at the Fresno County Department of Public Health to develop a way of visualizing our, and our partners, respective roles in public health, which is our collective health and well-being. This visual symbol encompasses the role of our personal responsibility, along with the equal role society plays in ensuring our individual successes.” Bird op-ed in Fresno Bee


Extra doses of this vitamin make cancer treatment more effective, study finds – A team from the University of Iowa examined the impact high doses of vitamin C have on patients undergoing cancer treatment. The 11 people with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, received vitamin C three times a week via vein injection. People with the disease are usually given about one year to live, but all 11 are still living two years later. Sacramento Bee article
Kumar takes the stand in Tulare Regional Medical Center case — Dr. Parmod Kumar, long-time board member of Tulare Regional Medical Center, described what he called a brutal meeting with a state health official as the trigger that led to the ouster of the committee that managed the hospital’s medical staff.  Visalia Times-Delta article


Land Use/Housing


General Plan vote postponed — A vote expected this week on an overhaul of Hanford’s general plan and zoning ordinance update has been postponed. The Hanford City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to wait until April 18 to vote on whether to approve the comprehensive overhaul, which Community Development Director Darlene Mata and other city employees have been working on for months. Hanford Sentinel article


Other areas


Kevin Valine: Modesto has new leadership at the top — It’s now official. The City Council unanimously appointed Deputy City Manager Joe Lopez as acting city manager Tuesday to replace Jim Holgersson, who departed last week after nearly three years as Modesto’s top administrator. Modesto Bee article



Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – We hope that the horrific events in Syria are a wake-up call to the president about the life-and-death importance of foreign policy. To his credit, Trump said Wednesday that Syria “is now my responsibility.”


Sacramento Bee –- The financial disclosures that the White House tried to bury show how many really rich people are in President Donald Trump’s inner circle. The filings also demonstrate an utter disregard for potential conflicts of interest that starts at the top; Bill O’Reilly’s fans may age in place, but in corporate America, sexual harassment just doesn’t sell like it used to. Advertisers are fleeing in droves.


Maddy Events


Sunday, April 9, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “California’s Future: Part Two” – Guests: Public Policy Institute of California experts Sarah Bohn, Alvar Escriva-Bou, Paul Warren, Magnus Lofstrom and Brandon Martin. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, April 9, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “California’s Future: Part Two” – Guests: Public Policy Institute of California experts Eric McGee, Shannon McConville, Caroline Danielson, Alvar Escriva-Bou, Sarah Bohn, Paul Warren, Magnus Lofstrom and Brandon Martin. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, April 9, at 7:30 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “California School Libraries: Are We Failing Our Kids” – Guest: Margarita Fernandez, PIO with the State Auditor’s Office. Host: Maria Jeans.


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.




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 challengeThe 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 linkhttp://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/