April 8, 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

Too much revenue, too little flexibility.  Is this California’s fate? — California could face a strange budget problem in coming months — one resulting from too much revenue rather than too little. In a worst-case scenario outlined by legislative analysts on Tuesday, there could be a $1.3 billion budget gap as higher-than-expected revenue collides with California’s formula for funding public schools and community colleges.  LA Times article; Dan Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Democratic lawmakers unveil bills to protect, insure unauthorized immigrants — Continuing California’s reputation as a pacesetter on immigration, state lawmakers unveiled a package of bills Tuesday that would expand the rights of people who are in the country illegally.  Capitol Alert; LA Times article; KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article

State budget

Will California become a victim of its own success? — The latest scourge facing our state, some say, is a multi-billion dollar tax windfall that some say poses a fundamental threat to the state’s financial future. That’s right. Only in California (and Biggie Smalls songs) can billions of dollars in new money be cause for concern.  Grizzly Bear Project article

Watch income taxes flow to California treasury — Want to track the daily inflow of state personal income tax revenue during the all-important tax month of April? Follow along on the website of Controller Betty Yee. The controller’s site will feature daily updates of income tax receipts, comparing the actual total to the estimated $12.2 billion in April income tax revenue that the Brown administration built into its January budget proposal.  Capitol Alert

Valley politics

CD21: National center-right political group airs ads thanking Valadao — The next election is well over a year away, but the center-right American Action Network is spending $18,400 in a radio advertising campaign thanking Rep. David Valadao, a Hanford Republican, for his votes on the budget and bipartisan Medicare legislation.  Fresno Bee article

CD21: Valadao’s first opponent announced for 2016 – Out with Amanda Renteria, in with … Daniel Parra. Gearing up for a crack at the formidable Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the 21st Congressional District in 2016, Parra, a longtime resident of the San Joaquin Valley, declared his candidacy Monday.  Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno County GOP reverses trend, cuts into Democratic voter-registration edge – In newly released registration numbers, however, local Republicans have not only stopped the bleeding — at least for now — they actually closed the gap. Last October, Democrats held a registration edge of 13,280 voters over rival Republicans. The lead is now 11,399. That means Republicans closed the gap by 1,881 voters.  Fresno Bee article

‘Decline to state’ voters gaining in California, Kings — Kings County residents, like the rest of the state’s inhabitants, are slowly becoming less partisan and more likely not to identify with either major political party, according to numbers released last month by the California Secretary of State’s office. As of Feb. 10, 2015, in Kings County, 44 percent of those registered identified themselves as Republicans, 34 percent identified themselves as Democrats and 16 percent indicated no party preference.  Hanford Sentinel article


Judge refuses to lift hold on Obama immigration action – A federal judge in Texas late Tuesday kept a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action that sought to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, rejecting a U.S. Department of Justice request that he allow the action to go ahead.  AP article; LA Times article

Fresno County will provide specialty care for undocumented immigrants — Fresno County supervisors voted Tuesday to provide specialty medical care for undocumented immigrants and the poor by deferring repayment of road funds to the state. Supervisors Brian Pacheco, Buddy Mendes and Henry R. Perea voted to spend $5.6 million from the deferred payment for specialty medical care.  Fresno Bee article; KVPR report

Other areas

End of personal belief exemption for vaccines headed for key vote – A controversial bill that would prevent California parents from opting out of vaccinations for personal reasons is headed for a key vote in the Senate Health Committee Wednesday, and a majority of the lawmakers appear to still be undecided.  KQED report

Robert Kennedy Jr. warns of vaccine-linked ‘holocaust’ – With lawmakers preparing to vote on a bill blocking parents from skipping vaccinations for their children, prominent vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. arrived at the Sacramento screening of a film linking autism to the vaccine preservative thimerosal and warned that public health officials cannot be trusted. Sacramento Bee article

Assisted death bill passes Senate Judiciary Committee – The controversial bill that would give terminally ill Californians access to lethal drugs passed its latest legislative hurdle Tuesday. On a party-line vote of 4-2, Democrats advanced SB 128 from the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Capitol Alert

Judge rejects Legislature’s argument to protect records – A Superior Court judge has ruled for the first time that the state Legislature can be sued for access to public records under the California constitution.  AP article

Labor unions give 32 legislators 100 percent ratings – Twenty-seven Democrats in the Assembly, half of the majority party’s membership, voted 100 percent for CLF’s position on bills, but only five Democratic senators made the 100 percent club, just a fifth of the party’s upper house ranks.  Capitol Alert

California political losers have hard time paying debt – The Sacramento Bee’s story about lawmakers’ campaign debt showed that it can take months or even years to pay off personal loans and unpaid bills. And that’s for candidates who won. For losing candidates, the task becomes much harder, experts say.  Capitol Alert

Assembly utility committee chair goes on controversial junket — The leader of a powerful state Assembly committee that oversees utilities and telecommunications last week traveled to Singapore for an Easter break “study trip” sponsored by a nonprofit foundation that’s financed by business, labor and environmental groups.  LA Times article

Billionaire Tom Steyer testifies for sweeping climate bill – A far-ranging climate change measure cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday, as billionaire environmental benefactor Tom Steyer appeared at the Capitol to trumpet the bill’s economic benefits.  LA Times article

Ed Hernandez, Richard Pan and Rob Bonta: California must renew fight against tobacco – State Democratic Sens. Hernandez and Pan and Democratic Assemblymember Bonta write, “We represent distinctly different parts of a diverse state, but we stand together when it comes to keeping communities safe and healthy, reducing the risk of illnesses associated with tobacco and increasing access to health care.” Hernandez/Pan/Bonta op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee: Progress made in effort to disarm illegal gun owners — We support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. But we refuse to accept any rationale that would allow deadly weapons to remain in the hands of those judged unacceptable to have them.  Sacramento Bee editorial

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

California sets water use targets amid record low savings – California cities face mandatory targets to slash water use as much as 35 percent while regulators warn voluntary conservation hasn’t been enough in the face of a devastating drought.  AP article; AP: ‘Areas that conserved most, least amid drought’; KQED report; LA Times article; Stockton Record article

Metro Bakersfield water districts face full 35 percent reductions – California’s cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules released Tuesday, the state’s first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use amid ongoing drought. All water districts serving metro Bakersfield are slated to face the full 35 percent reductions, according to a still-developing conservation plan posted on the State Water Resources Control Board website at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.  Reuters article

Jobs and the Economy

City Hall, Grizzlies to consider new lease – The Fresno Grizzlies and City Hall are on the verge of a lease that finally makes sense. It took a mere 17 years. The City Council on Thursday will consider a new deal at city-owned Chukchansi Park that would cut the official rent for a new Grizzlies owner in half.  Fresno Bee article;KVPR report

Report: Valley home prices increase in February – Home prices, including distressed sales, increased throughout the Central Valley in February 2015 compared to February 2014, according to a report by CoreLogic, a national real estate transaction tracker. The Business Journal article

Is Bakersfield ready to Maserati? Apparently so – Maserati has planted its iconic trident on the Bakersfield auto mall, giving a city better known for its love of trucks and SUVs the Central Valley’s first dealership devoted exclusively to the Italian luxury carmaker. Launched by a two-family partnership well familiar with local vehicle sales, Maserati of Bakersfield offers three models, the least expensive selling for as little as $72,000 and, at the other end, one starting at about twice that much.  Bakersfield Californian article

Gas prices to drop to lowest level in six years this summer, agency predicts – An ongoing glut of crude oil will give U.S. drivers this summer the lowest seasonal gasoline prices in six years, the government predicts. Even in California — where prices recently surged a dollar above the national average, sparking accusations of collusion by oil refineries — analysts expect gasoline to be the cheapest it’s been in years.  LA Times article

Driver’s license suspensions push poor deeper into poverty, report says – Traffic-court fines layered with escalating fees and penalties have led to driver’s license suspensions for 4.2 million Californians — or one in six drivers — pushing many low-income people deeper into poverty, a reportreleased Wednesday by a coalition of legal aid groups found.  LA Times article

Eating Out:  Closures hit Fresno restaurants, but not for reasons you think — It’s been a rough week for fans of local restaurants. News that beloved Charlotte’s BakerEatery will close shocked its loyal customers and word continues to spread about the closures of California Wok and Big D’s Tri-tip. Closures like these sometimes inspire snide comments about how Fresno can’t support local restaurants. Not true.  Fresno Bee article

California enlists Google and Microsoft in war on unlicensed payday lenders – California officials are getting help from Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. to hold back a flood of Internet ads by unlicensed payday lenders — companies that often charge excessive fees to borrowers with no other source of credit.  LA Times article

With 3 NFL teams and 2 stadiums at play for LA, here are 9 possible outcomes – With three teams and two stadium concepts in play in the L.A. metropolitan area, there are more than two dozen possible outcomes, although some are implausible, such as both stadiums being built or all three teams playing in one venue. Here are nine that merit discussion.  LA Times article

San Diego city, county OK stadium pact – The city and county officially agreed on Tuesday to jointly pay for experts to help negotiate a stadium deal with the Chargers, with county officials also discussing whether and how they might help finance the actual project.  U-T San Diego article

Sanger’s resurgence gets boost from American Legion – With the news last month month that the American Legion will move its national headquarters from the Bay Area to downtown Sanger, the east Fresno County city took another giant stride in its civic recovery.  The Business Journal article

Entrepreneurs vie for $20,000 in prizes – Frankie Arburua III’s family has been raising sheep in the Tracy area for about 100 years. And for the past five years Frank’s Basque Family Farm has been proudly putting its own name on grass-fed, naturally raised lamb sold though specialty grocers and markets in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas.  Stockton Record article

New owner will restore landmark Jastro house – Bakersfield’s 1875 Jastro house, a city landmark that has been vacant nearly a decade, has new owners who will restore much of its historic detail and turn the Gothic Victorian cottage-style residence into office space. Bakersfield Californian article

How Cal Fire’s academy scandal cost taxpayers $1.76 million — Last May the California Highway Patrol began an investigation into allegations that a sex tape had been shot at at Cal Fire’s Ione training academy. Nine months and $1.76 million later, no sex tape surfaced, but investigators found other alleged improprieties that cost three employees their jobs and resulted in suspensions, demotions and pay cuts for 13 others.  Sacramento Bee article

Low-wage workers were cheated at care homes, U.S. says — More than 1,300 low-paid workers at Bay Area nursing homes and residential care centers were cheated out of minimum wages, overtime and other legally required payments totaling millions of dollars from 2011 to 2014, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Valley Edition: Why are almonds at the heart of California’s water wars? – Why have almond orchards are the latest political lightning rod over water in California? And how long can local growers continue to pump groundwater to keep their orchards alive? We talk the politics and business of water and almonds on Valley Edition with Madera County Farm Bureau Executive Director Anja Raudabaugh, Valley farmer Joe Del Bosque and Adam Scow with the organization Food and Water Watch. KVPR report

Sacramento suburbs facing severe water cutbacks – Many Sacramento-area communities would be subject to the most severe mandatory water cutbacks in California under the provisions of a drought management framework issued Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley rain and Sierra snow make small dent in historic drought — The central San Joaquin Valley received some much-needed rainfall a week after Gov. Jerry Brown announced a mandate requiring Californians reduce water use in the midst of the state’s historic drought. But Tuesday’s welcome storm — and another possible next week — will do little to ease the ultra-dry conditions.  Fresno Bee article; Merced Sun-Star article

So much for that rain blast that was forecast – Staring at a historic and devastating drought, Kern County residents were graced with a few light showers Tuesday, and forecasts warned of possible snow in east Kern’s mountains. The region’s parched residents certainly could have hoped for more.  Bakersfield Californian article

Does your dinner waste too much water? See for yourself – Agriculture uses 80% of California’s water supply, and producing the foods you eat can require a surprising amount of water.Here is an interactive graphic that allows you to figure out which meals use the most water and which are more drought-friendly.  LA Times article

Confusion over drought rules on lawns for new homes – You may have seen those startling aeriel photographs in the New York Times of new California housing tracts with emerald-green lawns edged up against swaths of dry desert. The governor’s drought order will change that picture. It’s just not exactly clear how.  KQED report

Oakdale Irrigation District could sue over water supply – A drought-fueled battle pitting people against fish over the Stanislaus River could wind up in court. Oakdale Irrigation District leaders described the struggle Tuesday to a boardroom full of worried farmers who began irrigating three weeks ago with no idea how much they’re entitled to this year, and who won’t find out for two more weeks.  Modesto Bee article

Modesto Irrigation District Oks property access, unrestricted water transfers – Modesto-area farmers concerned about privacy and food safety lost a pitch Tuesday to keep irrigation employees off private property. On a separate 3-2 vote, Modesto Irrigation District leaders also rejected restrictions on water transfers, essentially paving the way for limitless deals in some situations.  Modesto Bee article

The drought – with a grain of salt — As drought-parched California withers, salt water captures attention – again. Santa Barbara, which built a desalination plan more than 20 years ago and then abruptly shut it down because of costs, is considering upgrading and restarting the project and provide the city of 91,000 with about a fourth of its drinking water. The tentative price tag is $40 million. And Santa Barbara isn’t alone in considering desalination.  Capitol Weekly article

State water officials get permit to build drought barrier in Delta — While the drought has left their operation largely unscathed, they worry they will become a casualty if the state continues with its plan to build a salinity barrier along False River between Bradford and Jersey islands, a long-debated project aimed at keeping salt water from San Francisco Bay from intruding into the Delta and the state’s drinking water.  Contra Costa Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Kern Sheriff’s Office deputies begin wearing body cameras in pilot program – A group of Kern County sheriff’s deputies began wearing body cameras last month in a pilot program that will be discussed at a press conference Thursday. A total of 17 deputies assigned to the Wasco substation received training and were issued body cameras on March 20, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release Tuesday. The cameras were issued through vendor WatchGuard.  Bakersfield Californian article

Merced County seeks jail funds for housing undocumented inmates – The Merced County supervisors on Tuesday gave approval for the Sheriff’s Department to apply for a federal grant that reimburses some costs of housing undocumented criminals in county jails.  Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield Police Department investigating photo of cruiser parked in handicapped space – The Bakersfield Police Department says it’s investigating a photo of a police cruiser parked in a handicap space next to a downtown restaurant. The photo, which the department posted on its Facebook account Tuesday, shows a BPD vehicle slotted diagonally across a handicap space adjacent to Boss Pizza Company at the corner of 18th and Eye streets.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno Bee: Gov. Brown should overturn Weidert’s parole – It’s difficult to imagine a more brutal murder than that of Mike Morganti, a developmentally disabled 20-year-old who was forced to dig his own grave in the Valley’s foothills in 1980. Wednesday morning, Morganti’s family, Valley legislators and law-enforcement leaders, and advocates for crime victims and the developmentally disabled will hold a news conference on the north steps of the Capitol. All will urge Gov. Jerry Brown to overturn the parole of David Weidert, who was convicted of murdering Morganti. We, too, ask that the governor keep Weidert in prison. Fresno Bee editorial

Sheriff criticized over missing persons – Sheriff Steve Moore came under harsh criticism during the public comment session of Tuesday’s San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors meeting for his handling of events in the aftermath of a 15-year methamphetamine-fueled killing spree during the 1980s and ’90s attributed to Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog.  Stockton Record article

As federal review ends, 2 LA supervisors want probation agency audit — As Los Angeles County’s probation department emerges from years of federal monitoring because of conditions in its juvenile lockups, a county supervisor called for a far-ranging audit of other potential issues in the department.  LA Times article

LA County to pay $5.3 million in fatal shooting by sheriff’s deputies — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to pay $5.3 million to the widow of an unarmed man who was shot to death in 2012 by sheriff’s deputies in Compton.  LA Times article


Cal State faculty survey describes low pay, hardship – Some California State University faculty say their salary is so low that they must work two jobs, can’t afford to buy a home and at times depend on food stamps and other government assistance to get by. Those and other hardships were recounted in a new report released Tuesday by the California Faculty Assn., which contends that the 23-campus system is failing to invest in its teaching workforce.  LA Times article

Fresno City College remembers late President Tony Cantu at Tuesday memorial – School officials held a memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony in Cantú’s memory Tuesday inside the Old Administration Building auditorium. Fresno Bee article

Stockton Record: Strike none – The news that Stockton Unified School District and the Stockton Teachers Association have reached a tentative agreement is most welcome.  Stockton Record editorial

College for baristas: Starbucks workers can get free four-year degree – Starbucks employees can now earn a bachelor’s degree for free in an expansion of the company’s two-year tuition-free online education program through Arizona State University.  LA Times article

Squabble over legal services erupts at State Center meeting – A confusing squabble erupted at State Center Community College District’s meeting Tuesday over whether the district’s governing board has the authority to hire its own legal counsel, a question that split board members, caused some to call for a grand jury investigation into district practices and led one board member to accuse the district’s interim chancellor of character assassination.  Fresno Bee article

C.L. Max Nikias: Students are private schools need help, too – The USC president writes, “At USC, we will continue recruiting the most talented students regardless of economic background. It is my hope that the state likewise treats students at public and private universities equally.” Nikias op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Students put expertise into plain English – Avoiding technical terms and keeping things simple is the goal for Campos and more than 80 other UCLA graduate students who are participating in Grad Slam, a contest that rewards students for speaking more like laypeople and less like experts who have spent years studying technical subjects.  LA Times article

Martinez school board member in hot water over air-conditioning comments — There’s a huge hullabaloo coming out of the Martinez school district, where a school board member recently said a school educating predominantly low-income and Hispanic students doesn’t need air-conditioning as much as a school with mostly white and wealthier students.  San Francisco Chronicle article


PUC to vote on record $1.6-billion fine for PG&E in San Bruno blast — California utility regulators are poised to hit Pacific Gas & Electric Co. with a record-high, $1.6-billion penalty for negligence leading to the deadly natural gas explosion in San Bruno.  LA Times article

Emergency changes approved reducing river flows – State water officials have approved the latest plan to bypass Delta water-quality standards and “significantly reduce” river flows. The action will allow them to hold back more water in drought-ravished reservoirs.  Stockton Record article

2,000-plus sick sea lion pups stranded in California so far this year — More than 2,000 sickly sea lion pups were left stranded on California beaches in the first three months of this year, researchers said.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services

18,000 Californians use extended Obamacare sign-up to avoid tax penalty — California officials said about 18,000 people have taken advantage of an extended Obamacare enrollment period that was created as a final opportunity to escape the health law’s tax penalties.  LA Times article

13 deaths blamed on abuse and neglect at California state-run homes — Abuse, neglect and lack of supervision at California’s state-run homes for the developmentally disabled have directly caused the deaths of 13 people since 2002, newly released records from the state Department of Public Health show.  Center for Investigative Reporting article

Dialysis center explains protocol in case of power outage – A short-term power outage that left several medical facilities in the El Portal Plaza in north Merced without electricity last month raised some questions from patients about the lack of backup power sources for offices that provide specialty care services.  Merced Sun-Star article

Use of meds by LA County foster, delinquent kids prompts reform — Los Angeles County officials are preparing to crack down on doctors who inappropriately prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs to foster youth and children in the juvenile delinquency system, according to a copy of the plans obtained by The Times.  LA Times article

John Rosten: Let optometrists give vaccines, ease doctor shortage – The immediate past president of the California Optometric Association writes, “Optometrists already draw blood, diagnose diseases and prescribe medications, and are often the only medical provider that patients regularly see in rural and disadvantaged urban neighborhoods.”  Rosten op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Land Use/Housing

Developers: Fast rides, wild animals planned for Quay Valley — A couple of Los Angeles developers treated a noontime Fresno State crowd Tuesday to a vision of rural Kings County as African Serengeti and transportation technology hotspot along Interstate 5. The proposed new town of Quay Valley and its five-mile test “hyperloop” track was subject of a talk by Quay Hays, CEO of GROW Land and Water, and entrepreneur Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and co-founder of online crowd sourcing platform JumpStartFund.  The Business Journal article

Merced approves housing projects for homeless vets, victims of violence — The Merced City Council approved two housing projects this week despite scrutiny from the council and local real estate agents concerned about the cost. The projects, one for housing domestic violence victims and the other for homeless veterans, are to be built using more than $1.1 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development funds under the city’s control.  Merced Sun-Star article


Central Valley residents say high-speed rail is running them over — Some home and land owners in the pathway of California’s high-speed rail project are claiming the rail authority is treating them with disrespect and presenting low-ball offers in an attempt to for the project through. Those are claims the head of the rail authority strongly denies.  KVPR report

Sacramento County approves $3 million for downtown streetcar project — The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved $3 million for a downtown streetcar project on Tuesday, completing the round of local government support needed for the $150 million project.  Sacramento Bee article

BART announces rate of planned 2016 fare increase — BART officials quietly announced Tuesday that they plan to boost fares 3.4 percent in January 2016 as part of an inflation-based automatic fare increase program.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Stockton council sends mayor’s salary issue back to commission – The City Council declined Tuesday to act on a proposal to slash Mayor Anthony Silva’s salary by more than $32,000, and instead sent the matter back to a commission for further review. It will be up to that Salary Setting Commission to decide whether to change its recommendation, City Attorney John Luebberke said. The council cannot require changes, he said.  Stockton Record article

San Joaquin County supervisors close to ban on all pot cultivation – San Joaquin could join a growing list of counties statewide to enact an outright ban on the cultivation of medical marijuana.  Stockton Record article

New documentary explores homelessness in Fresno – There’s a new documentary about homelessness in Fresno. “Our Lives: Surviving the Streets of Fresno” not only tells the stories of 10 people directly affected by homelessness, it was shot by them.  KVPR report

Lois Henry: Dogs win (and taxpayers save) with airlift program – Wings of Rescue has launched a new effort to keep the momentum going for Kern County animals. It’s called Operation Hightail Bakersfield. “The plan is to create a sustaining amount of money for a monthly or twice-monthly trip,” said Wings co-founder Yehuda Netenal.  That could mean more than 2,000 (mostly) dogs a year won’t come to a bitter end in our overcrowded shelters. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian; ‘Wings’ takes flight for Gracie in Bakersfield Californian

Tulare County judge says gifts to clerk could be misconstrued – Tulare County Superior Court Judge Valeriano Saucedo spent a second day Tuesday defending himself against charges of violating judicial ethics that could get him removed from office, acknowledging that giving money and gifts to his married court clerk could have been misconstrued.  Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

Fresno Grizzles roll out ‘outrageous’ new ballpark food – The Fresno Grizzlies have a new parent club, new players and a new lineup of food this season. Starting opening day, be ready to sink your teeth into some spicy hot wings, Chinese-style nachos and a gut-busting sandwich called the Schwab.  Fresno Bee article

VIDEO: Watch mothballed USS Fresno take a pounding in military target practice — On Sept. 15, units from the Navy, Air Force and Marines used the USS Fresno for target practice, eventually blowing the ship to smithereens and sending it to the briny deep (and we mean deep — 18,000 feet down, according to the Navy). The Navy called it a sinking exercise, or SINKEX. For the Fresno, it was a chance to go out in multiple booms of glory.  Fresno Bee article

Downtown Fresno medical office reopens a week after traumatic slaying — SANG Pediatrics, the scene of a domestic violence slaying that shocked the city a week ago, reopened Tuesday as Buddhist monks prayed for the souls of the lost and lifted the spirits of the survivors. Fresno Bee article

Oakdale-area man receives belated Purple Heart — It’s been more than 60 years since Gene Benedix was shot in the arm as he and other members of the 38th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division fought the North Koreans. On Tuesday, he received his Purple Heart during a ceremony at the Gladys L. Lemmons Senior Community Center before about 75 family members, friends and other well-wishers. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, presented Benedix with his medal.  Modesto Bee article

FCC asked whether phone companies can do more to block ‘robocalls’ – The Federal Communications Commission has been asked to consider the question of whether phone companies could do more to stop the onslaught of “robocalls,” the automated phone calls favored by scammers. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fresno firefighters rescue puppy ‘Timmy’ who took a tumble — A puppy that fell into an old well casing in southeast Fresno was rescued Tuesday by firefighters who used a rope to pull “Timmy” to safety. Fresno Fire Department spokesman Pete Martinez said the puppy — which appeared to be a shepherd mix and only a few months old — fell about 50 feet down an uncovered metal pipe about eight inches in diameter within a garage on the 5000 block of East Grant Avenue.  Fresno Bee article

San Francisco supervisors pass ban on tour bus drivers doing commentary — San Francisco city tour bus drivers must now choose: narrate or drive. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to prohibit city tour bus operators from doing both at the same time. The legislation comes after a fatal pedestrian accident in front of City Hall last October, when a tour bus struck and killed 68-year-old Priscila “Precy” Moreto.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – It’s difficult to imagine a more brutal murder than that of Mike Morganti, a developmentally disabled 20-year-old who was forced to dig his own grave in the Valley’s foothills in 1980. Wednesday morning, Morganti’s family, Valley legislators and law-enforcement leaders, and advocates for crime victims and the developmentally disabled will hold a news conference on the north steps of the Capitol. All will urge Gov. Jerry Brown to overturn the parole of David Weidert, who was convicted of murdering Morganti. We, too, ask that the governor keep Weidert in prison.

Merced Sun-Star – We support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. But we refuse to accept any rationale that would allow deadly weapons to remain in the hands of those judged unacceptable to have them.

Modesto Bee – We support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. But we refuse to accept any rationale that would allow deadly weapons to remain in the hands of those judged unacceptable to have them.

Sacramento Bee – We support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. But we refuse to accept any rationale that would allow deadly weapons to remain in the hands of those judged unacceptable to have them; Organizers of Sacramento Easter egg hunt prove good intentions are not enough. Planning, security and perspective is needed. Some adults cannot be trusted.

Stockton Record – The news that Stockton Unified School District and the Stockton Teachers Association have reached a tentative agreement is most welcome.