August 11, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Without immigration reform, California citizenship will have to do –  It started with in-state tuition. Then came driver’s licenses, new rules designed to limit deportations and state-funded healthcare for children. And on Monday, in a gesture heavy with symbolism, came a new law to erase the word “alien” from California’s labor code. Together, these piecemeal measures have taken on a significance greater than their individual parts — a fundamental shift in the relationship between California and its residents who live in the country illegally. The various benefits, rights and protections add up to something experts liken to a kind of California citizenship. LA Times article

ICE in Fresno jail: One month in, community divided on immigration enforcement — More than a month after Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims announced a new partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 66 immigrants have been deemed priorities for deportation. Fresno Bee article

No mileage tracking in California road tax plan — Higher gas and diesel taxes, revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program, and increased vehicle license and registration fees are among the possible sources of new revenue included in a transportation-funding package of principles put forward Monday by a coalition of local government, business and labor groups. Capitol Alert; LA Times article

Gov. Brown 

Jerry Brown signs bill removing ‘alien’ from state labor code — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation deleting the word “alien” from the California Labor Code, his office announced Monday, removing a decades-old term for people who are not born in the United States or who are not fully naturalized citizens. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article


Lawyer who leaked secret family detention proposal asks judge for mercy — A lawyer facing contempt charges after leaking to McClatchy confidential documents on family detention admits he was wrong, but said he was overwhelmed by the federal government’s conduct against his clients and by his concern for their safety. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Other areas 

Dan Walters: Road taxes must clear GOP bar – Special legislative sessions aren’t bound by the time limits of regular sessions, so one on financing road maintenance could run another 15-plus months. It may take that long to iron out the issue’s many political wrinkles – if they can be. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Pro-Jerry Brown labor committee, California senators agree to campaign finance fines – California’s campaign finance watchdog has secured penalties in cases against a pair of state senators and a labor-backed committee that helped elect Gov. Jerry Brown. Capitol Alert; LA Times article 

Mark Baldassare: Californians and climate change – PPIC’s surveys have consistently shown that most Californians are aligned with the state’s current efforts and proposed policies, and that they have made up their minds about the perceived economic impacts of climate change and state actions to curb it. Still, the ongoing political debate over what steps to take relies on partisan talking points borrowed from the national arena. Baldassare in Public Policy Institute of California website

Downtown Fresno street blocked by Ferguson demonstrators – About 50 protesters declaring “Fresno is Ferguson” and “black lives matter” blocked a downtown street at noon Monday in a bid to disrupt business as usual and mark one year since a police officer fatally shot Michael Brown in the Missouri city, sparking nationwide protests. Fresno Bee article

Will California’s GOP presidential primary really count? – California doesn’t hold its primary until June 2016, by which time the candidates will have slugged it out in 30 states. As a result, the question asked every four years once again floats above the landscape: Will California have a say in choosing the nominee, especially the Republican nominee? Because California will send the largest delegation to the GOP Convention, many prominent Golden State Republicans insist it will. Capitol Weekly article 

Joel Fox: Grading politicians – Last week the Los Angeles Times offered report card like grades for Los Angeles City’s mayor, city attorney, controller, and council president. Grading politicians is not a bad idea and Times publisher Austin Beutner said the newspaper intends to expand the practice to offer grades for county supervisors and state officials. Wouldn’t be a bad idea if some entity grades the press as well. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Lobbyist Jay Dee Michael dies at 82 — Jay Dee Michael, one of the Capitol’s top lobbyists for more than four decades, died at his Carmichael home Saturday of an inoperable stomach tumor. He was 82.Capitol Alert

Der Manouel has no problem with Trump’s controversial comments — Michael Der Manouel Jr., former state GOP party treasurer and current chairman of the pro-business Lincoln Club of Fresno County, a staunch Republican organization, has never been shy about offering up his opinions. “Yes, Donald Trump is full of bombast,” Der Manouel says in a Monday Power Talk commentary. “Yes, he insults people. Yes, he’s very sure of himself. So what.” Fresno Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Hillary Clinton’s misuse of email undermines her candidacy — Clinton partisans will glibly brush off the questions as being driven by Republican partisans. Clearly, Republicans are hot on her trail. But because of Clinton’s apparent belief that regular rules don’t apply to her, she opened herself up to the attack. Sacramento Bee editorial

News Briefs

Top Stories

Does landscaping get a bad rap as water waster? — It’s August in a miserable California drought year — water-use crackdowns, fines, lawsuits, shaming and brown lawns. People are getting a little defensive about the manic push to save water. The defensiveness surfaced last week when two experts from the University of California at Riverside wrote a commentary saying trees, lawns, shrubs and flowers “are under unrelenting attack.” In support of green spaces in cities, they say landscaping is getting a bad rap as a water waster. Fresno Bee article

California education officials sued for records on English learners A civil rights group filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Education on Monday, claiming the state refused to divulge records detailing its number of long-term English-language learners. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Madera County economic developers put best foot forward – Years after the recession, Madera County officials say the region has finally recovered, achieving financial stability and setting its sights on business development as its next major source of revenue. The Business Journal article

Modesto looks to crack down on problem motels – The City Council on Tuesday is expected to discuss a proposed ordinance that would let Modesto fine hotels that generate excessive calls for service. The fines would help the city recoup the cost of these calls, but Police Chief Galen Carroll said the fines are meant to motivate the motels to increase security and not rent to people who have caused problems in the past. Modesto Bee article

StocktonCon sets another attendance record – StocktonCon IV drew raves on its Facebook page from enthusiastic attendees, and the attendance figures further point to its success. The two-day event of artists, celebrities, comics, memorabilia, professional wrestlers and all things pop culture drew a record 14,400 fans to Stockton Arena on Saturday and Sunday. Stockton Record article 

LA pushes to be U.S. candidate for 2024 Summer Olympics, projects $4-billion cost — Los Angeles is close to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee to be America’s candidate for the 2024 Summer Games, pledging to host the event at a projected cost of approximately $4 billion and offering a guarantee that the city would cover any financial overruns, officials involved with the bid said Monday. LA Times article

Sacramento gets positive rating on Kings arena bonds – Sacramento received a strong credit rating Monday on the bonds it will sell for the Kings arena project, enabling city officials to move swiftly on the first phase of its financing. Sacramento Bee article

Google to adopt new holding structure under name ‘Alphabet’ – Google is changing its corporate structure to separate its search, YouTube and other Web companies from its research and investment divisions. Bloomberg article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article; San Jose Mercury News article

David Lanier: State is reshaping job training programs – The secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency writes, “Our efforts to move workforce development away from a patchwork system to one that brings strategic purpose through better coordination will help us strengthen our workforce and economy.” Lanier op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

San Diego stadium finance plan unveiled — San Diego officials advanced their pursuit of a new Chargers stadium on Monday by unveiling a financing plan, releasing a 6,000-page environmental analysis of the project and presenting both to a group of NFL owners in Chicago. San Diego Union-Tribune article; LA Times article

Los Banos Kmart set to close – A big-box store that has been in Los Banos for a quarter century will close in November, 67 employees will lose their jobs. Kmart announced Monday its store at 1400 Mercey Springs Road, which opened in 1990, will close in mid-November. Los Banos Enterprise article 

Feds file lawsuit against nursing home operator — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a Tulare-based corporation that runs six nursing homes and an assisted living facility, alleging hiring discrimination against people with disabilities. Visalia Times-Delta article 

New cell service pricing strategies show how industry is changing — The effect of the new plans on consumers won’t fully be felt for some time. It will take a while for some people to run out their old contracts and be faced with the new options hitting the market. But it’s safe to say that we are at the crest of a sea change in the wireless industry — one that will uncover just how mistaken we all were about how the business works. LA Times article


Lois Henry: Big money comes with big complications – Members of the California Water Commission were in Bakersfield Monday to talk about how they may dole out the $2.7 billion for new water storage projects as outlined in Proposition 1, passed by voters in November 2014. That’s a boatload of money, and the idea of new water storage is an exciting prospect to many, especially right now. But hold on. Before anyone gets too frisky, the process has to be laid out first. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Sacramento planning commission to consider allowing artificial turf in front yards – The Sacramento Planning and Design Commission will consider a proposal Thursday that would allow residents and businesses to install currently off-limits artificial turf in front and side yards, part of the city’s efforts to cut water use by 28 percent. Sacramento Bee article

Food manufacturers look for way to save water during drought — As California’s drought persists, local food manufacturers are feeling the pressure to cut water use in their factories without changing the taste and quality of the products they sell. KQED report

200-plus Tuolumne wells run dry — Wells as deep as 900 feet have gone dry in Tuolumne County. This week and next the Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services is holding six workshops so people can sign up to have water delivered at no cost in most cases. Capital Public Radio report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Preliminary hearing confirmed for suspect in six Modesto homicides — A judge on Monday confirmed a preliminary hearing will start Sept. 14 for a Modesto man charged with murder in a toddler’s death and suspected in five other homicides. There’s still a chance, however, that next month’s hearing could be postponed. Modesto Bee article

Searchers refocus manhunt – As a manhunt in eastern Kern County entered its 13th day, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it was scouring an area it had not previously searched. Bakersfield Californian article

Mirkarimi didn’t report crash, has license suspended — San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s driver’s license has been suspended since February for his failure to fulfill a legal obligation to tell the stateDepartment of Motor Vehicles about a car accident in which he was involved, The Chronicle has learned. San Francisco Chronicle article

Kamala Harris’ office indicts 32 Long Beach Crips and associates — Dozens of Long Beach gang members were indicted Monday on suspicion of stealing the identities of hundreds of Californians and using them to steal millions of dollars worth of tax returns, the state attorney general’s office announced. LA Times article

Mentally ill woman in LAPD assault a case study in system’s lapses – Over the last month, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and Sheriff Jim McDonnell have pledged sweeping reforms of the justice system’s chronically poor treatment of mentally ill inmates. Advocates for the mentally ill and homeless say that the entire county system is broken. LA Times article 

Local NAACP president arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse — The president of Bakersfield’s NAACP branch has been arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse after his wife reported he attacked her when she walked in on him and his alleged mistress Sunday at the organization’s local headquarters. Bakersfield Californian article


New committee calls for Fresno Unified trustees, Hanson to resign – A new political action committee is demanding answers from Fresno Unified School District officials about a controversial no-bid contract, and is calling for Superintendent Michael Hanson and the trustees who support him to resign. Fresno Bee article

Under siege, for-profit colleges cry foul over new federal rules – After trying for years to tighten the rules on for-profit colleges, the Department of Education finally enacted regulations on the industry this summer. But the fight’s not over. A month after new rules went into effect, the department faces continuing push-back from the colleges, and Republican lawmakers as well. McClatchy Newspapers article

Fresno, Clovis schools to work on solar project for Kenya – Two local high schools will join 17 other California schools in making “solar suitcases” designed to light rooms for use in Kenya, Highlands Energy said. Fresno Bee article

Bronc Riders group keeps Fresno State students in rodeo ring and in class — When Allen and Deborah Clyde of Clovis began to see a steady decline in participants for bareback and saddle bronc rodeo events five years ago, they decided to take action. So in 2010, they and friend Rocky Steagall created Bronc Riders of California, a program that aimed to encourage riders to participate in the sport, build their rodeo skills — and get a college education. The program offers promising saddle and bareback bronc riders a place to practice and train — and up to $5,000 a year in scholarship money. Fresno Bee article 

Manteca trustees scheduled to approve grand jury response — The Manteca Unified School Board plans to approve its official response to the civil grand jury of San Joaquin County at a regularly scheduled meeting tonight, after Trustee Ashley Drain had described the findings “ridiculous and unbelievable.” Stockton Record article

Former San Joaquin County Office of Education employee must pay $40,000 to state — A San Joaquin County woman is facing $40,000 in fines from the California Fair Political Practices Commission for mismanaging public funds earmarked for a local education program. Stockton Record article


As Rocky fire ebbs, new Jerusalem blaze rages nearby – Just when they had gotten a handle on the massive Rocky Fire, exhausted fire crews in Lake County had to tear off Monday to fight a roaring new out-of-control blaze just a few miles away. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fires burn in Sierra, Sequoia National Forests – one nears containment – Two wildfires in the Fresno and Tulare counties portions of the Sierra National Forest and the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest continued burning Monday. On neared containment, while the other isn’t contained at all. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

State consumer advocate to pull out of San Onofre nuclear plant settlement — The state’s utility customer advocate said he will withdraw from a settlement agreement with Southern California Edison over the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant and request the case be reopened. LA Times article

Air pollution from China undermining gains in California, Western states — Aside from smartphones, toys and computers, China exports a different kind of product into the western United States — air pollution. A study released Monday by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA found that smog-forming chemicals making their way across the Pacific Ocean from China are undermining the progress California has made in reducing ozone, the most caustic component in L.A. smog. LA Daily News article

Health/Human Services

Two years into Obamacare, only one state still has more than 20 percent uninsured – When the Affordable Care Act took effect in October 2013, there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance; today only Texas remains, according to data released Monday. LA Times article

Road to health care bumpy for Latinos on Medi-Cal – Even though Latinos make up nearly half of California’s 12.5 million Medi-Cal enrollees, a report by the independent California HealthCare Foundation found that 36 percent of the Spanish-speaking Medi-Cal population has been told that a physician won’t take them, compared to 7 percent of the overall Medi-Cal population. Even those who speak both English and Spanish reported similar difficulty accessing doctors. AP article

Daniel Weintraub: To reduce obesity, we need healthier neighborhoods – Prevention is about more than education and a stern lecture. It’s about providing the conditions that make healthy choices easier for people. Focusing on those things on the front end would be far cheaper, and more productive, than continuing to deal with the consequences of failing to act. Weintraub op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

ER doctors: Drug-fueled raves too dangerous and should be banned — Following the recent Hard Summer music festival marked by the suspected overdose deaths of two young women, several emergency room doctors are calling for an end to large raves in Los Angeles County. Here’s some questions and answers to explain why several physicians think electronic dance music festivals are a risk to public health. LA Times article

Reconnecting to hope: Fresno man honored for suicide prevention work – DeQuincy Lezine of Fresno is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at its 2015 Voice Awards on Wednesday in Los Angeles for his leadership in suicide prevention research and advocacy at the community, state, and national levels. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Merced Oks big apartment complex aimed at UC Merced students – Plans for a three-story apartment complex narrowly approved by Merced City Council this month despite being denied by the Planning Commission left some residents in north Merced concerned about other development in the area. Merced Sun-Star article

San Joaquin County has enough room for new housing – San Joaquin County has enough space for nearly 43,000 housing units in the future, according to a draft housing element needed for the county’s General Plan. Stockton Record article

Kern County: Carr Elite training facility broke land rules – Brothers David and Derek Carr, former and current NFL quarterbacks, broke land use laws when they built a commercial training facility in a residential neighborhood in west Bakersfield last year and began hosting clients. Now their business, known as Carr Elite, is operating under county government-mandated limitations while the brothers seek the permit they’ll need to keep the place open. Bakersfield Californian article

Facing vastly different growth options, Riverbank considers its destiny — City leaders Tuesday will consider long-term growth scenarios ranging from modest to what some might call obscene.Modesto Bee article


Airline changes mean fewer passengers flying from Fresno Yosemite International – The Federal Aviation Administration reports that from January through April (the most current statistics available), 181,210 passengers flew on domestic flights from Fresno’s airport. That’s about 4% fewer than the nearly 189,000 passengers reported for the same period last year. And it corresponds to a significant reduction in the number of flights that are being offered by airlines from Fresno — 3,378 departures in the first four months of 2015, compared to 4,132 for the same period of 2014, or a dropoff of more than 18%. Fresno Bee article

San Francisco bicyclists set to stage 2nd ‘stop-in’ protest — San Francisco cyclists, fed up with increased enforcement along a popular biking route through the city, are putting their foot down again, literally. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Other areas

Merced’s LGBT Center to open in early September – Merced’s LGBT center will reopen its doors in September after closing earlier this summer due to staffing issues, organizers confirmed. Merced Sun-Star article

Social gaming different from Internet cafes, owner asserts — Internet cafes are illegal but social gaming and mining are different, the owner of Shamrock Social Gaming & Mining and the founder of the Internet Cafe Association of California said at a press conference Monday afternoon in southeast Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento councilman wants city review of sexual harassment policy — The city of Sacramento’s written policy on sexual harassment has not been significantly updated in at least 10 years. And a link to the policy in the city’s online employee handbook doesn’t work. Now, after two of his colleagues were accused of sexual harassment in recent months, City Councilman Steve Hansen said he will ask at Tuesday’s council meeting that the City Auditor’s Office review the city’s sexual harassment and workplace safety policies. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Pick up the pace on Sacramento’s ethics reform – If good-government reforms get moving at Sacramento City Hall because of the sordid allegations of sexual harassment against two elected officials, one good thing will have emerged from that regrettable episode. Sacramento Bee editorial

An unquiet death: The last days of Jerome Lackner — Jerome Lackner, once the maverick leader of California’s Department of Health, lived a big life, daring to challenge powerful institutions and uncompromising in his advocacy for the downtrodden. His death, at age 83, would prove no less controversial. This is the story of his painful demise, and the murder investigation that would divide his family.Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno BeeCEO pay gap is just what we feared. 

Sacramento Bee – Hillary Clinton’s misuse of email undermines her candidacy; Pick up the pace on Sacramento’s ethics reform.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers on a positive library start at Stribley Center, National Night Out success and other issues.

Upcoming Events

  • “Unlocking Renewables: A Summit,” which will explore the clean energy potential in the San Joaquin Valley, will be held at Fresno State on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Featured speakers include state Sen. Anthony Cannella and Ken Alex, senior policy advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown and director of the Office of Planning and Research. More information:
  • West Hills Community College District will hold an event, “Shifting Ground — Adapting the San Joaquin Valley Economy to a Changing Climate,” on Oct. 8 at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Senior leaders from business, agriculture, government agencies and nonprofits will gather to launch immediate actions and provide near-term guidance to create next generation jobs in a region battered by drought and struggling with multiple challenges. for details of this no-fee policy series.  


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

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.

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.

Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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