August 19, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Report: California cap-and-trade bills seek billions more than available — California lawmakers have proposed spending billions more in cap-and-trade money than is likely to be available, according to a report compiled by an advocacy organization critical of the climate program. Sacramento Bee article

California lawmakers make political plea for new assisted death bill – After falling short in the Assembly earlier this year, proponents of assisted death in California introduced a new legalization bill Tuesday, making pointed political and personal pleas for lawmakers to pass the proposal this month during the extraordinary legislative session on health care. Capitol Alert; Stockton Record article; KQED report


Gov. Brown 

After years of détente, it’s now Jerry Brown vs. Big Oil — Gov. Jerry Brown navigated the perilous political waters of his third term as governor in large part by playing nice with the oil industry. On issues from fracking to taxes, Brown’s engagement with companies like Chevron and Occidental Petroleum shaped his public policies and contributed to his political success. Now, as lawmakers return for one more month of legislative action, the measure of Brown’s year in Sacramento and the cornerstone of his political legacy may depend on the governor’s ability to outmuscle Big Oil over the course of the next four weeks. Grizzly Bear Project article


Valley politics

Former congressman takes councilman to task over 24th Street widening Former Congressman Bill Thomas turned a roads ceremony Tuesday morning into an opportunity to slam Councilman Terry Maxwell for his opposition to widening 24th Street, accusing him of loving to hear himself talk and of being the city’s “most expensive councilman” ever. Bakersfield Californian article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Latest sign Villaraigosa plans to run for governor: Central Valley ‘listening tour’ — Antonio Villaraigosa has kept out of the news in the six months since he opted to skip the race for U.S. Senate. But a reception at his Hollywood Hills home on Monday to raise money for Hillary Rodham Clinton was the latest of many signs the former Los Angeles mayor is preparing quietly to run for governor of California in 2018. On Tuesday, just hours after the crowd of Clinton donors clears out of his house, Villaraigosa plans to travel to Bakersfield and Visalia. He’ll visit Fresno on Wednesday. LA Times article

Daniel Borenstein: Attorney General Kamala Harris is right about Chuck Reed’s latest pension initiative — Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed claims his latest pension reform initiative would not reduce the future benefits of current public employees. Attorney General Kamala Harris says it could — and she’s right. Borenstein in Contra Costa Times



Killing in Santa Maria becomes flashpoint in debate on illegal immigration — Inice Edwards was one of two dozen protesters standing outside the courthouse here last week when Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez appeared to face charges that he raped, tortured and killed a Santa Barbara County woman. Ramirez, 29, was living in the country illegally at the time of the July 24 attack and was arrested several times in recent years for a variety of offenses. He was released from jail days before police say he and another man broke into the home of 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis and attacked her with a hammer and sexually assaulted her. LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: Trump’s fake immigration plan — Donald Trump, who first surged to the front of the Republican field on the strength of his hyperbole on immigration, has finally put out specific proposals. Unsurprisingly for him but unfortunately for the rest of us, Trump’s first policy paper of the campaign is at best impractical, at worst utter nonsense. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Donald Trump paints GOP into a corner with Hispanics — As the disruptive presidential candidacy ofDonald J. Trump continues to gain support, his hard line on immigration has driven rivals to match his biting anti-immigrant language and positions long considered extreme. It risks another general election cycle in which Hispanics view the party as unfriendly no matter who the nominee is, Republican strategists warned. New York Times article

Other areas

California governor critiques new path for right-to-die bill – Gov. Jerry Brown says a special session on health care financing isn’t the appropriate venue for California lawmakers to pass right-to-die legislation. Brown’s spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said Tuesday that the better approach is to reconsider legislation next year that is now stalled. AP article

Joe Mathews: Top two a victory for Uncle Bob — Dear Uncle Bob (Hertzberg),You are the Great Gatsby! F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Uncle Bob, you are a first-rate intelligence. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

How a county clerk is refusing to issue gay marriage licenses and defying the Supreme Court — A Kentucky county clerk has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a Supreme Court ruling in June that made same-sex marriage a constitutional right in all 50 states. A federal judge has ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to comply with the nation’s highest court, but he has given her time to appeal his decision, much to the disappointment of the couples who sued her. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories 

California drought impact pegged at $2.7 billion — The drought is carving $2.7 billion out of California’s economy, according to a new study by UC Davis. In their latest estimate of the drought’s economic impact, university professors said the drought is reducing seasonal farm employment by 10,100 this year. Indirect job losses, which include truck drivers, food processing workers and others partially dependent on farming, total 21,000. Sacramento Bee article; AP article; KQED report; Stockton Record article 

Losing water, California tries to stay atop economic wave — The drought that has overrun California is forcing communities to balance a robust demand for new housing with concerns that the drought is not cyclical but rather the new normal. New York Times article


Jobs and the Economy

Kern County approves annual budget – The county faces pension cost increases, a dramatic drop in property tax revenue from the oil and gas industry and the looming need to flow $20 million each year into staffing for the 822-bed expansion of Lerdo Jail. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced moves regional retail center forward – A nearly 80-acre regional retail project on the east side of Merced moved forward this week, and members of the Merced City Council said it should have no ill effects on the city’s downtown district. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton building-fee reduction shelved – Advocates for affordable housing and the revitalization of Stockton’s older and long-struggling neighborhoods voiced strong reservations and succeeded Tuesday night in slowing the progress of a proposal pushed by Mayor Anthony Silva to slash building fees on single-family homes. Stockton Record article

Joel Fox: Those expensive green jobs – if they all are green — Thanks to reporting by Julia Horowitz at the Associated Press we learned that only 1700 of the promised 33,000 green jobs that were supposed to be generated over three years after voters raised taxes on corporations with Proposition 39 in 2012 have been created. And, all those jobs may not be true green. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

San Joaquin County housing cools off in July – San Joaquin County’s housing market seemed to cool a bit in July from June but remained much stronger than a year ago, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Stockton Record article

Report: 22 percent of Fresno real estate deals in May 2015 were cash sales – Cash sales accounted for 22.7 percent of all homes sold in Fresno in May according to a new report from CoreLogic. The latest sales figures represent a 2.9 percent decrease compared with cash sales recorded in the city during May 2014. The Business Journal article

Two-person fire stations still a dream for Kings County – Want to end the problem of one-person county fire stations in Stratford, Hardwick, the Island District and Burris Park? It’s not going to happen without more money, according to Deb West, Kings County deputy administrative officer. Hanford Sentinel article

Southern California home sales surge in July, report says — Home sales reached a nine-year high in July, while prices climbed 5.5% from a year earlier, according a report out Tuesday from CoreLogic. The data represent a housing market that’s picked up steam from a sluggish 2014, as an improved economy gives more families the confidence to purchase a home. June sales were also at a nine-year high. LA Times article

Carbon auctions help finance West Sac housing project – and lots more — California’s cap-and-trade program, in its fourth year, remains controversial as a tool to fight greenhouse gases, angering motorists and business interests alike. But it is unquestionably a financial success. Sacramento Bee article

Lino Pedres: Sacramento workers deserve a livable wage – The president of the Sacramento Central Labor Council writes, “Are we going to create thousands of new jobs that put those workers on public assistance? Or are we going to rebuild Sacramento as a family town, where hard work is payment for a secure future?” Pedres op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Plan for Uber, Lyft service at LAX clears key City Hall hurdle – The odds that Uber and Lyft will soon be fully operational at Los Angeles International Airport appear to be increasing, despite some political hesitation at City Hall and calls for tighter screening of the ride-hailing services’ drivers. LA Times article

California state worker health insurance calculator launched — The California Department of Human Resources has rolled out a benefits calculator that allows state employees to determine their out-of-pocket costs for medical, dental and vision insurance for the current and coming calendar years. Sacramento Bee article

Competition open for would-be entrepreneurs – A Visalia-based business that helps businesses and would-be entrepreneurs get started is offering up to $100,000 investments to at least one adult and one teenager with great ideas for new products or businesses. Visalia Times-Delta article

Boston may have underestimated Olympic costs by more than $900 million, report says – A study of Boston’s failed bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics suggests that leadership underestimated potential venue costs by nearly $1 billion. LA Times article



Kern County’s crop value hits a record $7.5 billion — Kern County’s overall crop value reached a record $7.5 billion in 2014, fueled by a robust year in grapes, almonds and dairy. The county’s agricultural gross value rose 12 percent from 2013 to 2014, said Ruben Arroyo, Kern County Agricultural Commissioner. Arroyo delivered the annual report to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Fresno Bee article; Bakersfield Californian article

South Valley ag takes drought’s brunt – California’s now 4-year-old drought will cost state agriculture $1.84 billion in 2015 along with an estimated 21,000 jobs lost, with the South Valley suffering some of the worst effects, according to University of California at Davis researchers. Visalia Times-Delta article

Produce delivery programs connecting farmers to consumers — To Lori Scott, every Tuesday feels like Christmas. That’s the day the Porterville wife and mother of four gets her delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables from The Farmer’s Daughter CSA, or community supported agriculture program. CSAs have been around for years, but have begun to increase in popularity as consumers become more interested in healthy eating, supporting local farmers and trying new foods. Fresno Bee article 

El Nino: Fresno area farmer prepare for flooding – There’s been a lot of noise around El Niño in the news lately. We don’t know if it’ll cure California’s drought, but in places prone to flooding officials are already prepping for the worst.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on why officials hope to dig deep to prevent flooding and restore the aquifer. KVPR report 

Farmers get dust-control drought relief — Normally, farmers are required by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to spray water on dirt roads to keep dust pollution to a minimum. But because of the drought, farmers are getting a green light from the district to use non-water alternatives. Hanford Sentinel article

Fish and Wildlife shuts part of Merced River to fishing – A portion of the Merced River is closed to fishing because of high water temperatures caused by the drought, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed. Merced Sun-Star article 

Modesto fire hydrants to gush water – Modesto expects as many as 105,000 gallons of water to gush out of 20 fire hydrants late this month or in early September in a test of the city water system’s flow and pressure. The city is getting the word out now so residents won’t be alarmed or think the city is wasting water during a fourth year of drought and while the state is requiring Modesto and its water customers to reduce their water use by 36 percent. Modesto Bee article

DIY tractor repair runs afoul of copyright law — The iconic image of the American farmer is the man or woman who works the land, milks cows and is self-reliant enough to fix the tractor. But like a lot of mechanical items, tractors are increasingly run by computer software. Now, farmers are hitting up against an obscure provision of copyright law that makes it illegal to repair machinery run by software.NPR report 

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Holt-Singh’s family files suit against Stockton, 32 officers – A wrongful death lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of the family of Misty Holt-Singh names the city, its Police Department and 32 police officers identified as firing their weapons during last summer’s gunbattle with three heavily armed bank robbers that resulted in Holt-Singh’s death. Stockton Record article; AP article; LA Times article; Michael Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Stockton police hope to add helicopter – A major point of emphasis in an independent review of the Stockton Police Department’s response to a 2014 bank robbery and hostage crisis was the lack of air support officers received while taking heavy gunfire during a terrifying 63-mile pursuit. Stockton Record article

Manhunt suspect shot himself after deputies’ gunfire inflicted fatal wounds – Manhunt suspect Benjamin Peter Ashley had been struck by two rounds fired by deputies that would have resulted in his death when he turned his handgun on himself, authorities said Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Prosecutors formally charge Modesto defense attorney and 7 others in Turlock man’s death – Defense attorney Frank Carson has walked into Department 8 of Stanislaus Superior Court many times before to zealously defend his clients. On Tuesday afternoon, he entered the courtroom for the first time as a defendant wearing a red-and-white striped jail inmate jumpsuit and shackles restraining his wrists and ankles. Modesto Bee article; ‘Courtroom gallery fills in murder case’ in Modesto Bee

Murder case involving CHP officers continues tough year for department – It’s been a rough year for the CHP’s public image. Sacramento Bee article

LA County supervisors to revisit jail plan after outcry over surprise vote — Los Angeles County supervisors reversed course Tuesday on last week’s controversial vote to proceed with design and construction of a new downtown jail, an action some legal experts said violated the state’s open meetings law. LA Times article

City probing San Francisco Police Department’s videotaped detention of disabled man – A video showing San Francisco officers pinning down a homeless black man by his prosthetic leg, his backside exposed to pedestrians for nearly 10 minutes, has suddenly thrust the city into the raging debate over policing and race in America. San Francisco Chronicle article

Kathleen Rowe-Glendon: Services for the formerly incarcerated really do turn lives around – The Modesto resident and community volunteer writes, “Prison should not become a revolving door. Our jails and institutions often evolve into ‘crime schools’ where the tenants learn to commit bigger and better crimes. It is encouraging to see our county (Stanislaus) jump onboard with positive programs that will really change lives.” Rowe-Glendon op-ed in Modesto Bee

New tech keeps K-9s from becoming hot dogs — With triple-digit temperatures outside, Tulare andVisalia police departments have thrown their K-9 units a bone with improved vehicle safety measures to help protect against the heat. Visalia Times-Delta article


UC Merced chancellor wants private sector to build, operate campus expansion — UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland is pitching an innovative strategy to fund the expansion. She wants the private sector to finance, design, build and even operate the new buildings, and lease them to the campus, which will pay for them over time. She says it will save the campus money, and complete the project faster than traditional methods. KVPR report

New push to end school district reserve cap – A bipartisan group of lawmakers launched a new push Tuesday to relax a cap on school district budget reserves that critics blame for increasing districts’ borrowing costs and hampering efforts to prepare for the next economic downturn. Sacramento Bee article; Dan Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Dwindling UC admissions for Californians feeds overparenting and college panic – Homegrown kids are less and less welcome in the UC system it seems, and the rate of California students admitted to the University of California dropped to a staggering low this year. UC’s admission rate for California resident freshmen applicants fell 2.9 percentage points to 60 percent systemwide.  Contra Costa Times article 

Legislature expected to exempt students who couldn’t take exit exam – Students in the class of 2015 who haven’t passed the California High School Exit Exam may be able to graduate soon, based on action planned this week in the Legislature. EdSource article

Fresno Bee: The Patino School of Entrepreneurship shoots for the stars – The Patiño School of Entrepreneurship is an example of what is possible. The school will stimulate a Valley economy underpinned by small businesses, and it will graduate students who can further develop their entrepreneurial acumen at one of Fresno State’s signature colleges, the Craig School of Business. Fresno Bee editorial

Clovis Unified teachers remember ‘Doc’ Buchanan at school-year kickoff – Some teachers at Clovis Unified’s annual school kickoff Tuesday were hired by Floyd “Doc” Buchanan. Some never met him. But all 5,000 employees at the general session, a staff pep rally held at Save Mart Center in Fresno in anticipation of next week’s return to class, had heard much about the longtime Clovis educator, who died last week at age 91. Fresno Bee article 

A country boy’s odyssey: Nelsen takes over Sacramento State — As a boy growing up impoverished on a Montana ranch, Robert Nelsen did not expect to go to college. Years later, he is the eighth president of California State University, Sacramento. Capitol Weekly article

Modesto City Schools staffers to vote on contract; test results coming in September – Modesto City Schools support staffers head to the ballot box Wednesday to vote on a contract deal. Meanwhile, district negotiators will be at the table, hammering out the minimum days to finalize the 2015-16 school year calendar. Modesto Bee article

Extra teacher training gets failing grade in new study — A discouraging new study of teacher training efforts says millions of dollars being spent by districts on professional development are having little impact, and no strategies stand out as effective. But between the lines can be read a different conclusion, that teachers are not getting much out of the extra training because they have no idea where they need to improve. Modesto Bee article 

Community colleges step up efforts to get students to attend orientation – Many two-year college officials say that meeting with counselors, taking placement tests and even becoming familiar with the campus help lead to academic success. Studies have shown that students who go through some kind of orientation are more likely to pass their classes and graduate than those who don’t. LA Times article

Lois Henry: Reading success is only limited by the number of volunteers — More than 11 percent of Kern High School District students drop out of school. That’s close 1,000 kids a year. Not only does the future dim for those 1,000 kids but some of them will also likely become a drain on society. If you could go back in time and spend one hour a week doing one thing that might keep those kids in school, would you? Since this is my column, the answer is, YES. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Finalists named for West Hills College Lemoore presidency — The search for a new college president at West Hills College Lemoore has been narrowed down to three candidates. Jeremy Brown, former president of Portland Community College in Oregon; Kristin Clark, vice president of Orange Coast College in California; and Chemene Crawford, vice president of El Centro College in Texas, are being considered for the job. Fresno Bee article

Visalia Unified saving $40 million in bond sales – After Visalia voters passed Measure E, the plan was to pay off the $60.1 million in bonds sold and more than $94 million in returns to investors over 30 years through property tax assessments within the city’s school district. Visalia Times-Delta article

UC Merced Connect: Trailblazing alum makes presence felt in Washington – David Do sits in his office in Washington, D.C. – nearly 3,000 miles from UC Merced – reflecting on the path he’s cut for himself. Do, who serves as director of the city’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs under Mayor Muriel Bowser, has come a long way since being part of UC Merced’s first graduating class in 2009. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star

Delano Unified pays nearly $8,000 for conferences – One employee in the Delano Union School District attended three out-of-state conferences last year costing just short of $8,000, according to documents obtained through a public records request. Bakersfield Californian article

The mismatch between LA Unified’s diversity of students and teachers — Almost three-fourths of L.A. Unified’s students are Latino, but the same can’t be said about their teachers. LA Times graphic


California pushes forward on renewable power — The state’s electric power sources are poised to get cleaner still. In 15 years, electric utilities that power California’s lights and cellphones would need to get fully half their electricity from renewable sources, if Senate Bill 350, which is working its way through the Legislature, passes. The goal, often called a renewable portfolio standard, can almost certainly be met, though it will require utilities to make behind-the-scenes adjustments as they juggle different types of energy. CALmatters article

Mandatory evacuations ordered for Hume Lake due to Rough fire – The Fresno County Sheriff’s office issued a mandatory evacuation order for the Hume Lake area, where the Rough fire has scorched 23,600 acres in Sierra National Forest just east of Fresno. Fresno Bee article; KQED report

Wildfires contributing to poor air quality in Kern County – Wildfires burning in Fresno and San Luis Obispo counties have caused unusually bad air quality and spread an acrid smoky smell through parts of Kern County. Bakersfield Californian article

Private drones are putting firefighters in ‘immediate danger,’ California fire official says – Top state fire officials told lawmakers Tuesday that improper use of private drones is posing a serious danger to air crews and other emergency workers battling wildfires, with more than a dozen incursion incidents reported just this summer. LA Times article 

Google maps Fresno’s rooftop solar potential — Fresno is one of three U.S. cities in which Internet giant Google has launched Project Sunroof, a website where homeowners can get an estimate of their rooftop’s potential to generate electricity with solar panels. Fresno Bee article

Earth Log: Students and dirty air returning, but August has changed — Schoolchildren breathe bad air outside on August afternoons in the San Joaquin Valley. We’ve talked about it a lot in the last five years, but something interesting has changed in the back-to-school month. The change since 2010 has not been postponing the start of school until September or stopping children from riding bikes or walking home in bad air. Fresno Bee article

There aren’t enough firefighters to fight all the Western wildfires — The wildfires torching the West have gotten so bad that the nation’s military has stepped in. For the first time since 2006, officials announced Tuesday that the Department of Defense would provide soldiers to help overextended fire crews battle wildfires that have collectively scorched 1.1 million acres in several states across the West.LA Times article

Orange County music students were crushed to death by falling tree limb in Yosemite, coroner says — Two Orange County music students killed by a falling tree limb at Yosemite National Park were crushed to death, coroner’s officials said Tuesday. LA Times article; AP article

How common (or rare) are deaths at Yosemite National Park? – Yosemite National Park has had a string of bad news lately. A second case of the plague was reported Tuesday. There were the tragic deaths of two teens who were crushed by a tree limb that fell on their tent. And recently,a woman luckily survived a 25-foot plunge down into Yosemite Creek. But before you cancel your plans to visit Yosemite, take heart in the fact that death in the park is quite rare. San Francisco Chronicle article

In the San Gabriel Mountains, they’re asking: What monument? — Visitors to the San Gabriel Mountains can be forgiven if they see overflowing trash bins, broken marijuana pipes, graffiti and road kill and wonder what became of President Obama’s vision for the wilderness. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

UCLA study finds more Californians are obese, diabetic – California adults are heftier, eating more fast food and getting diagnosed with diabetes at higher rates. And California kids? They’re spending an “astounding” amount of time sitting glued to a TV, computer or phone screen. Sacramento Bee article

Second case of plague in Yosemite visitor reported – A second possible case of plague by a recent visitor to Yosemite National Park is being investigated by the California Department of Public Health. Health officials said a visitor from Georgia became ill after vacationing in Yosemite, the Sierra National Forest and surrounding areas early this month. Fresno Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

FDA approves female sex pill, but with safety restrictions — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first prescription drug designed to boost sexual desire in women, a milestone long sought by a pharmaceutical industry eager to replicate the blockbuster success of impotence drugs for men. AP article; LA Times article

LA retailers that sell tobacco to kids under 18 risk stiffer penalties — Aiming to keep more teens away from tobacco, Los Angeles city lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday to beef up the penalties for businesses that sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Patience Milrod: ‘Voluntary’ fair housing still locks out poor – The lawyer and recent graduate of Cornell University’s Master’s in Public Administration program writes, “David Rosen’s study, comparing 20 years’ new-construction records in 28 cities with and without inclusionary housing rules, found ‘In fact, in most jurisdictions as diverse as San Diego, Carlsbad and Sacramento, the reverse is true. Housing production increased, sometimes dramatically, after passage of local inclusionary housing ordinances.’ Fresno’s Article 18 does not impose such requirements. We should be asking: why not? Milrod op-ed in Fresno Bee

Hidden Valley Park land sale delayed by fuzzy math — The potential sale of a vacant 18-acre field next to Hidden Valley Park has been delayed amid questions about how much park space Hanford actually has. Hanford Sentinel article



Caltrans seeking permit to bring down Bay Bridge support pier with explosives — Caltrans is seeking permits to demolish the largest pier of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge with explosives, a procedure that could be dangerous to native marine mammals, but Caltrans officials say it would have the least impact on bay wildlife. Oakland Tribune article

Other areas

Fresno City Hall to become more family-friendly – All those tiny political experts visiting Fresno City Hall will soon find it easier to get a quiet meal and a freshened bottom. The city has received a $10,000 grant from First 5 Fresno County to create a breastfeeding-friendly space at City Hall. There’s also enough money to add diaper-changing stations at the four public restrooms (men’s and women’s) on City Hall’s second floor. Fresno Bee article

Girl, 15, dies of suspected overdose at rave, heightening safety debate – A new rave death in California this week comes amid growing debate about how to keep such events safe. A teenage girl died of a suspected drug overdose after attending a rave at the Fresno Fairgrounds on Saturday night, police said. LA Times article; Fresno Bee article

See where California’s heroin, opioid problems are the worst – California hospitals treated more than 11,500 patients suffering an opioid or heroin overdose in 2013, new state figures show. That’s roughly one overdose every 45 minutes. It’s also up more than 50 percent from 2006. Sacramento Bee article


Fresno judge censured by state judicial commission – The state’s judicial commission ruled Tuesday that Judge James Petrucelli can keep his job on the Fresno County Superior Court bench, but will be censured for ordering correctional officers to release from jail a social acquaintance who was facing spousal abuse charges. Fresno Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

Lobbying ordinance to be reviewed by next San Joaquin County supervisors – The approval of a proposed San Joaquin County ordinance aimed at ensuring complete transparency and disclosure of information pertaining to lobbyists has been delayed until after the next election cycle. Stockton Record article

Stockton Record: Landing spot? – Assessor: Take Steve Bestolarides out of the equation, then hire the most qualified.  Stockton Record editorial

Erin Andrews bows out of Fresno women’s conference — Reporter and TV host Erin Andrews has canceled her scheduled appearance as the keynote speaker for this year’s 2015 Central California Women’s Conference due to a production scheduling conflict with her work on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Fresno Bee article

Former Fresno city manager Mike Bierman dies — The last city manager in Fresno whose survival depended on counting to four has died. Michael A. Bierman, the city’s chief administrative officer through much of the turbulent 1990s, lost his long battle with cancer on Aug. 10. He had been retired from public service for several years and was living in Gilbert, Ariz. Mr. Bierman was 66. Fresno Bee article 

LA County officials order probe of conditions at animal shelters — After animal welfare advocates complained of dogs being kept in feces-covered enclosures at a county shelter, Los Angeles County supervisors called for an investigation into conditions at the animal control facilities. LA Times article

Site opens for homeless families in Elk Grove — Meadow House, Elk Grove’s second transitional home, opened Tuesday to provide support and mentorship for families seeking to escape homelessness.Sacramento Bee article 

Military children more likely to carry guns and use drugs, study finds — Children in military families are more likely than those with civilian parents to use alcohol and recreational drugs, carry weapons and be victims of harassment and physical violence, a new study has found. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The Patiño School of Entrepreneurship is an example of what is possible. The school will stimulate a Valley economy underpinned by small businesses, and it will graduate students who can further develop their entrepreneurial acumen at one of Fresno State’s signature colleges, the Craig School of Business.

Sacramento Bee – Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state was a stunning blunder; Donald Trump, who first surged to the front of the Republican field on the strength of his hyperbole on immigration, has finally put out specific proposals. Unsurprisingly for him but unfortunately for the rest of us, Trump’s first policy paper of the campaign is at best impractical, at worst utter nonsense

Stockton Record –. Assessor: Take Steve Bestolarides out of the equation, then hire the most qualified.

Upcoming Events

  • The California Air Resources Board will hold a public work group to discuss the development of an Off-Road Mobile Agricultural Equipment Trade-Up Pilot Project in the San Joaquin Valley at the Fresno County Farm Bureau on Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.  More information about the program:  More information about the work group: Meri Miles at 916.322.6370 or Michelle Buffington at 916.323.8748 or
  • Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual State of Our Children event at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 7:30-9:15 a.m.  More information is available here.
  • 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!

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