August 20, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories 

Leadership gap hinders federal drought plan — The federal response to the Western drought has been hindered by high-level vacancies, bureaucratic caution and political calculations that have thrown sand in the gears. Put another way: With more than 70 percent of California now classified in a state of “exceptional” or “extreme” drought, Uncle Sam is floundering. McClatchy Newspapers article

California medical marijuana regulations might reflect laws for booze — Pushing hard to at last regulate California’s free-for-all medical marijuana industry, state lawmakers are wrestling with how a tightly regulated cannabis market would work. Increasingly, the answer looks to be a lot like the market for alcohol. Sacramento Bee article

Senate Republicans, Democrats reject each other’s transportation goals for special session — Two months into the special legislative session on transportation and Senate Democrats and Republicans still don’t see eye-to-eye on a plan to fund California’s crumbling roads. In fact, they’re not even on the same freeway. Sacramento Bee article


Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown seeks high road when crafting repair plan – Gov. Jerry Brown bobbed and weaved through a news conference about transportation needs on Wednesday, declining to say where he thinks the state should find billions of dollars to repair California’s roads. LA Times article

Four ways Jerry Brown dodges tax question – In a push for funding for billions of dollars in road repairs, Gov. Jerry Brown stood beside a podium Wednesday as Democratic lawmakers and local officials applauded him for his attention to transportation. But when Brown’s turn came to speak at a news conference here, he refused to say whether any of the ideas lawmakers are pursuing – including gas tax or fee increases – are ones he would support. Capitol Alert 

Jerry Brown on Donald Trump: ‘Oh, my God’ — Asked Wednesday what he thought of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign tactics, California Gov. Jerry Brown replied with a pained, “Oh, my God.” Political Blotter

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California pension proposal goes grassroots for signature collection – A proponent of the latest California public-pension ballot proposal has launched an email effort he says will drum up an army of volunteers to collect signatures. A spokesman for the measure’s union opposition countered that the email is “a fundraising scam.” Sacramento Bee article 

Padilla takes time to meet with farmers, ag groups — Before the naturalization ceremony, Secretary of State Alex Padilla took an hour to meet with central San Joaquin Valley farmers and agricultural groups, where the talk centered mostly on water and immigration reform — not usually front-and-center priorities for a secretary of state, but certainly ones for a governor or U.S. senator. Fresno Bee article


Donald Trump says the wall he’ll build on border could bear his name — Trump waxed on almost poetically about the wall that could bear his name on the Southwest border. “I want it to be so beautiful because maybe someday they’re going to call it the Trump wall,” he said. LA Times article

At busy crossing, pedestrians need passports to enter Mexico — Starting late Wednesday, pedestrians going to Tijuana from San Diego at the San Ysidro crossing must choose between a line for Mexicans who get waved through, and a line for foreigners who must show a passport, fill out a form and — if staying more than a week — pay 322 pesos, or roughly $20, for a six-month permit. AP article

Other areas

Senate panel votes to raise California gas tax 12 cents a gallon – State lawmakers on Wednesday took the first steps toward raising taxes and fees on motorists and further restricting Californians’ tobacco use as the Legislature convened special sessions aimed at solving the state’s transportation and health care funding crises. Contra Costa Times article

State Senate panel approves package of six anti-tobacco bills – A Senate panel on Wednesday approved a package of six anti-tobacco bills, including measures raising the smoking age to 21 and barring the use of electronic cigarettes in public places such as restaurants where smoking is banned. LA Times article; Capitol Weekly article

California Senate leader says oi industry is ‘fear mongering’ SB 350 – California Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) on Wednesday accused the oil industry of a campaign of “fear-mongering” against his bill that would cut in half the use of gasoline on California roads by 2030, but said he was open to negotiating changes to the legislation. LA Times article

Joe Mathews: Are second terms for climate change speechmaking? – Gov. Jerry Brown’s second term is starting to resemble Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in one way: Brown, like his successor, seems to be finding more and more time for speechifying on climate change, out of state or out of the country. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Medical, labor groups spend to fight Pan recall — Medical and labor groups have poured tens of thousands of dollars into fighting the recall of a state senator who carried California’s controversial vaccination bill.  Sacramento Bee article

State lawmakers mull e-cig rules as new study suggests link to tobacco use – The state Legislature will reconsider a bill Wednesday that would regulate e-cigarettes the same as tobacco, one day after a new study was released that shows 14-year-olds who’ve tried e-cigarettes are four times more likely to try other tobacco products. KQED report

In wake of gay marriage ruling, Sacramento-area representatives ponder next steps — Now that the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage, conservatives in Congress, including Sacramento-area Republicans, are debating how to protect religious groups who disagree with the ruling. Opponents of one particular plan say it would lead to discrimination if it becomes law. Capital Public Radio repor 

Money stripped from bill to provide nurse oversight of foster youth medication — Facing opposition from budget hawks, a Bay Area lawmaker on Wednesday deeply cut his bill to bolster monitoring of California’s 63,000 foster children, who critics say are too often prescribed powerful psychiatric drugs with little follow-up or coordinated care. Contra Costa Times article

Lawmaker wants label on food made with ‘fracking water’ – A California lawmaker has proposed a new label for food irrigated with what he calls “fracking water.” Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, said such water might include harmful contaminants, including carcinogens. Capital Public Radio report

Rep. John Lewis, national civil rights leader, relives movement during visit to Fresno — Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., remembers being hit on the head with a nightstick by an Alabama state trooper during what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” a key moment in the civil rights movement. Lewis relived key moments of the civil rights movement during his visit for the Fresno Economic Opportunity Commission’s 50th anniversary on Wednesday. Fresno Bee article 

Peter Gleick: GOP presidential wannabes have no clue about the drought – The president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland writes, “California’s severe drought has proven to be an opportunity to rethink the state’s complex water policies and improve its resilience. Unfortunately, it also is proving to be an opportunity to make political points.” Gleick op-ed in Sacramento Bee

George Skelton: Amid an era rife with rebellion, Watts riots were a wake-up call — It was a time in California of turmoil and confusion — of revolution and revulsion. And anger, fueling unprecedented mass violence. A lot of half-century ruminating has been going on and, being on vacation, I’ve missed out. So I’m catching up. Skelton column in LA Times

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories 

Water pumping has Valley land sinking – Vast areas of the Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past as massive amounts of groundwater are pumped during the historic drought, state officials said Wednesday, citing new research by NASA scientists. The data shows the ground is sinking nearly two inches each month in some places, putting roads, bridges and vital canals that deliver water throughout the state at growing risk of damage. AP article; Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; San Jose Mercury News article; KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article

Another 2 or 3 years of drought? Report looks at what it might mean — Should the current drought extend for another two or three years, most California cities and much of the state’s agriculture would be able to manage, but the toll on small rural communities dependent on well-water and on wetlands and wildlife could be extensive. That was the assessment of a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California, released late Tuesday. LA Times article; AP article

Jobs and the Economy

High-speed rail: Fresno motel owner says Caltrans crippled her business – The owner of the Parkland Hotel on Parkway Drive says the agency interfered with her efforts to refinance or extend a loan against the 6.9-acre property by stalling for more than a year before making an offer and filing an eminent domain lawsuit. Fresno Bee article

Merced County supervisors approve $537 million budget — The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed the county’s final budget for 2015-16 – a $537.1 million budget that is balanced, higher than the proposed budget and focuses on one-time infrastructure projects and public safety. Merced Sun-Star article

Promise of street repairs could sway support for transportation tax – “Fix streets in my neighborhood.” That’s what most of the 300 people in recent focus groups said, time and time again, all over Stanislaus County, a consultant said Wednesday. Modesto Bee article 

Clovis plans to build new hub at old lumber yard site – A huge, multi-million dollar hub is being planned for Old Town Clovis to better serve the growing community. The centerpiece will be a $12 million Clovis Regional Library which, at about 30,000 square feet, will dwarf the current 8,600 square foot library. Fresno Bee article 

Board moves up meeting to review green jobs measure – A citizens board tasked with overseeing projects funded by a California ballot measure intended to generate clean-energy jobs will move up its first meeting to early September, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said Wednesday. AP article

Haagen closure to result in 36 layoffs – Three dozen local jobs will be lost when Haggen Food & Pharmacy closes its new supermarket at Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road, the grocer has informed Kern local officials. Bakersfield Californian article 

Getting a good seat with no hassle? That’s just the ticket (we hope) – If you’re into the Eagles, Juanes — even Vanilla Ice — it probably doesn’t matter much who you buy your ticket from, just that you buy one. So why should consumers care that Rabobank Arena and other city-owned entertainment venues have switched ticket providers? Because the change is expected to add convenience to the process and just might — make that a big might — save ticket buyers a little money on those astronomical service fees. Bakersfield Californian article 

LA is losing $20 million a year because of fumbled tax data, audit finds — The city of Los Angeles is losing out on more than $20 million each year because of poor coordination of its data on tax-paying businesses with the county and state, according to an audit released Wednesday by City Controller Ron Galperin. LA Times article 

Sacramento-area home sales, median prices pull back a bit in July – Home sales and median sales prices in the Sacramento area slowed just a bit in July, but both key sectors continued to run well ahead of last year, according to statistics released Wednesday by Irvine-based market researcher CoreLogic. Sacramento Bee article

Bay Area median home price approaches record; affordability drops – The median Bay Area home price rose to within a hair of its all-time high last month, as affordability continues to decline across the region, dipping close to an all-time low in San Francisco, according to new reports on the housing market. San Francisco Chronicle article

McClatchy gets warning from New York Stock Exchange – The McClatchy Co. said Wednesday it has been warned that its stock price has fallen below the New York Stock Exchange’s $1-a-share minimum, jeopardizing the Sacramento media company’s continued listing on the prestigious exchange. Sacramento Bee article

Shawn Hubler: How to think about Amazon – Two years ago, as California clawed its way out of a brutal recession, a minor miracle occurred in the Central Valley, just off Interstate 5. Strong-armed by Gov. Jerry Brown after losing a fight over sales taxes, Amazon built a massive warehouse – a million-square-foot colossus that rose up out of the fields near the farm town of Patterson like something beamed in from the future. More than 750 people work there now, full time. Hubler in Sacramento Bee 

Jamie Court: Big Oil is gouging Californians – The president of Consumer Watchdog writes, “The math is so simple, anyone should be able to grasp it: Triple the gasoline prices + Triple oil refiner profits = Golden State Gouging.” Court op-ed in Sacramento Bee

8-year-old’s Reading Heart achieves nonprofit status — Local book donation program Reading Heart was recently granted 501(c) status by the Internal Revenue Service and can now be classified as a nonprofit. The company was founded last year by 8-year-old Danay Ferguson in order to provide books for children in local hospitals. The Business Journal article

Sacramento Republic FC hires architect for MLS stadium — Continuing its push for a Major League Soccer expansion team, Sacramento Republic FC named an architect Wednesday to design its proposed downtown stadium. The team announced the hiring of HNTB Corp., whose design credits include Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Raley Field in West Sacramento, as lead architect of the stadium earmarked for the downtown railyard. Sacramento Bee article

Prosecutors: Uber background checks missed drivers’ criminal records — The background-check service that ride-hailing company Uber uses to screen potential drivers did not flag the criminal records of 25 drivers who gave thousands of rides to customers in Los Angeles and San Francisco, prosecutors said Wednesday. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article


California drought: Climate change plays a role, study says. But how big? – A growing number of scientists have made the claim that climate change is at least partly responsible for California’s crippling drought. Now researchers have estimated the extent to which humans are to blame: between 8% and 27%. LA Times article; New York Times article

With fierce El Nino forecast, LA County officials look for vulnerabilities — With forecasters predicting a winter of heavy rains thanks to El Niño, officials are beginning to plan for potential flooding. Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to call for a report on the county’s state of preparedness for potentially heavy storms. LA Times article

Study: 2015 drought bites, but ag resilient overall — The state’s ag economy is doing a remarkable job of avoiding major drought-related losses, but it’s coming at an increasing cost to the Kings County area. Hanford Sentinel article 

State Supreme Court agrees to hear Gerawan case, UFW says — The United Farm Workers Union said Wednesday that the California Supreme Court has agreed to review a Fresno appellate court’s ruling that favored Gerawan Farming, the Fresno County fruit grower that has been in a long-running battle with the union over a labor contract. Fresno Bee article

Is California’s drought killing the giant sequoias? — The giant sequoias of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks have survived beetle infestations, wildfires and extreme weather. Some of these trees have endured for 2,000 to 3,000 years. Will the California drought tip the most massive trees on the planet over the edge? San Francisco Chronicle article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Livingston mayor says sheriff’s deputies have ‘bad reputation,’ wants city police to handle county calls – Saying Merced County sheriff’s deputies are too slow to respond to routine calls, Livingston’s mayor earlier this week suggested the city’s police should take over cases beyond the city limit. Merced Sun-Star article

Inmate is killed by guards in third California prison riot in a week – An inmate at a Northern California prison was shot and killed by corrections officers Sunday during a riot involving about 45 inmates, state officials said Wednesday. LA Times article

Sacramento forms new Community Police Commission – Responding to months of community meetings, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to form a Community Police Commission that will analyze the Police Department’s diversity, policies and “bias-free policing” training. Sacramento Bee article

DA called out LA County supervisors on jail vote that violated state law — Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey notified the Board of Supervisors last week that their vote on a controversial downtown jail plan violated the state’s open meetings law, the latest in a string of incidents in which the board has run afoul of the Ralph M. Brown Act. LA Times article

Court asked to decide if Modesto attorney charged with murder can represent clients in murder cases – A legal fight continued Wednesday over whether a Modesto defense attorney can continue to represent his clients while facing a charge of murder in the death of Turlock resident Korey Kauffman. Modesto Bee article

Local NAACP president charged with felony spousal abuse — A felony spousal abuse charged has been filed against the president of Bakersfield’s NAACP branch in connection with his Aug. 9 arrest at the organization’s local headquarters. Patrick Jackson, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning. Bakersfield Californian article

San Francisco police try to explain ‘take down’ of one-legged homeless man — San Francisco police say they’re looking for more video of an incident in which a group of officers struggled to subdue a disabled and apparently homeless man on a downtown sidewalk. KQED report


New bill would protect school contractors’ payments – A newly amended bill would allow contractors whose “lease-leaseback” school construction agreements are declared illegal to keep their payments. The legislation is aimed at counteracting the impacts of a state appellate court decision in June that a construction contract issued by Fresno Unified School District violated both competitive bidding and conflict-of-interest statutes. Sacramento Bee article; Fresno Bee editorial: ‘School builders enlist California Legislature to protect their wallets’

Hoover High student in custody; weapon was airsoft gun, police say – A 15-year-old Hoover High School student was booked into juvenile hall Wednesday afternoon after police say he threatened a campus security officer with a realistic-looking imitation firearm. Fresno Bee article

UC Berkeley builds fence around chancellor’s residence – The University of California, Berkeley, is constructing a fence around the chancellor’s residence in the middle of campus after he raised security concerns about intruders and student protesters. Sacramento Bee article

Former Clovis High teachers get probation for unlawful sex with student — Former Clovis High teacher Matthew Pena and substitute teacher Dwayne Andrews each were sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation after a judge rejected recommendations to put the pair behind bars and register them as sex offenders for having unlawful sex with an underaged student. Fresno Bee article

East Union teacher accused of sexual relationship with teen – Manteca police have arrested a high school teacher after investigating reports that he was having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student, authorities said. Stockton Record article 

Nancy Fraleigh: How’s the climate in your child’s classroom? Warm, sunny or cold, stormy? – The doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Fresno State writes, “Recent arguments and disagreements concerning K-12 education seem to rest upon teaching methods, testing and philosophies such as No Child Left Behind, and now Common Core. However, more and more focus is being placed upon the social and emotional needs of students.” Fraleigh op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Getting to the ‘why’ of discipline disparities – With schools across California and the nation working to reform discipline practices — either voluntarily or under legal pressure — the guide, “Addressing the Root Causes of Disparities in School Discipline: An Educator’s Action Planning Guide,” is intended as a tool to help schools “look for the whole story” behind who is disciplined and why. Produced by the American Institutes for Research for the U.S. Department of Education, the guide offers schools a data-inf0rmed road map for improving school climate and reducing discipline disparities. EdSource article 

Fresno State’s internationalization work wins national award – For the second year in a row, Fresno State has been selected for a national Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities for its dedication to campus life and leadership. Fresno Bee article

West Hills College focuses on growth and technology – The West Hills Community College District kicked off a new academic year Monday ‘in good shape,’ said WHCCD Deputy Chancellor Ken Stoppenbrick. Stoppenbrink reviewed the $42.7 million district budget for 2015-16 and said the district is positioned well going into the new fiscal year, focusing on growth, technology and student success.Fresno Bee article

Enrollment up as new school year opens – Initial enrollment in the Kern High School District has increased each year since 2011, but usually by no more than 300 students in one year, according to district enrollment figures released prior to opening day. KHSD expects 527 more students this year than last year. Initial enrollment increased from 36,456 to 36,983 in that time. Bakersfield Californian article 

Tricycles for physically disabled students stolen — While Shelly Baird School’s staff and special education students were vacationing over the summer, somebody was doing something else: stealing three adaptive tricycles from the schoolyard that benefited students with physical impairments. The tricycles, worth approximately $2,000 each, were taken sometime before students and staff returned to the campus last week for the start of the 2015-16 academic year, according to Lisa Horne, a program director at Shelly Baird. Hanford Sentinel article

CSU Bakersfield to name Siegfried athletic director — Cal State Bakersfield will name Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried its permanent athletic director at an 11:30 a.m. press conference today, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Californian. Bakersfield Californian article


Thousands forced out as Rough fire surges to 31,000 acres — The Rough fire burning in Kings Canyon near Hume Lake surged to 30,900 acres Wednesday and more than 2,500 campers, hikers, employees and residents were forced to leave the area, officials said. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article; KVPR report; AP article

Boy accused of starting Willow fire charged with felony arson — A boy accused of causing the Willow fire that scorched more than 5,700 acres and prompted evacuations in the North Fork area was charged with two felonies in Madera County Superior Court on Tuesday.  Fresno Bee article

Residents urged to extend clean-air streak — This summer, the valley is on the verge of completing a record-setting season of cleaner air — especially surprising given the region’s severe drought conditions, strings of triple-digit temperatures and multiple wildfires, air regulators say. But the summer ozone season is far from over, so they’re asking motorists to minimize vehicle emissions, especially those associated with parents ferrying their children to and from school — and idling their vehicles as they wait. Bakersfield Californian article; Modesto Bee article; Stockton Record article

Yosemite remains busy despite plague reports — Activity at Yosemite National Park was in full swing this week, like it usually is every summer, the park’s busiest time of the year. Recent news of human cases of plague did not seem to concern many visitors. A sign outside the Highway 140 entrance warned visitors that all Valley campgrounds were full. Merced Sun-Star article 

Faulty water heater sparked massive Lake County fire — A water heater failure sparked the first of two fires that together formed the massive Rocky fire in Lake County, Cal Fire officials announced Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

California’s uninsured rate falls to new low – Obamacare has made a big difference in California. A new fact sheet from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows 13.6 percent of Californians were uninsured in 2014. That’s a new low. KPBS report

Father of recovering girl calls for more plague warnings at Yosemite – The father of a Georgia girl recovering from bubonic plague said Yosemite National Parkhad no warning signs in areas where he believes his daughter was infected from a flea bite. Fresno Bee article

Another outbreak from tainted scopes suspected at LA-area hospital – A Pasadena hospital is investigating a suspected outbreak related to the same type of medical scope tied to superbug infections across the country. Huntington Memorial Hospital said Wednesday it had alerted health authorities about a potential link between patients who have a pseudomonas bacteria and the Olympus Corp. duodenoscopes used to treat them. LA Times article

Troubled nursing home gets new ownership — California’s largest nursing home owner, who has staunchly defended the practices at one of his most troubled facilities, was publicly called out Wednesday in South Pasadena, where local officials gathered to announce that new operators were taking over the home. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: ‘Pink Viagra’ really benefits its maker — Over the years, the FDA has done much to protect the public from unsafe drugs. In this instance, the pharmaceutical industry play seems to be using political muscle to seduce regulators, while claiming to be championing women’s health. Sacramento Bee editorial

Land Use/Housing

Regional growth doesn’t always follow the plan, study shows — Sacramento’s landmark 2004 “Blueprint” plan to restrain suburban development has had some positive effects, but overall “did little to check raging growth on the fringe of the region,” according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of American Planning Association. Sacramento Bee article


More properties in high-speed rail’s path targeted for condemnation — Twelve more pieces of property adding up to about 53 acres in the path of high-speed rail are potential targets for condemnation in the central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno Bee article 

Other areas

Summer swimmers flooded Bakersfield pools after spray parks went dry — Three out of Bakersfield’s four public pools have now closed for the season, but not before thousands of swimmers left high and dry by the closure of spray parks made this the city’s swimming-est summer in years. Bakersfield Californian article

Museum looks close to home to find new curator — When the committee tasked with hiring a new curator at the Bakersfield Museum of Art invited applicant Rachel Magnus to lunch at The Mark a couple of weeks ago, she assumed she’d be asked a few more questions about the job. Bakersfield Californian article

Bakersfield movie theaters searching customers’ bags — Regal Cinemas is increasing security measures, and that includes those at the chain’s local theater, Edwards Cinemas at The Marketplace. A manager at Edwards said the theater started checking bags about two weeks ago, but he declined to give any more information on the theater’s security policies. Bakersfield Californian/Variety article

Jeff Jardine: Strange things happen in bunches in Valley, hills — Every so often, the stars get really out of kilter and the goings-on around us seem as though they were scripted by Rod Serling of “The Twilight Zone.” We’ve been in one of those modes over the past few weeks, and last week in particular. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Kevin Valine: It’s déjà vu for Modesto and homeless – It feels like déjà vu all over again as Modesto looks at regulations on feeding people in parks and more restrictions on panhandling because of growing complaints about the homeless. Valine in Modesto Bee

LA’s voided law on sleeping in cars cost it $1.1 million in legal fees — The city of Los Angeles agreed Wednesday to pay $1.1 million to lawyers who successfully challenged a municipal ordinance prohibiting homeless people from sleeping in their vehicles. LA Times article

Joe Mathews: Compton is much more boring than the movie — Don’t believe the hype around “Straight Outta Compton.” Reading commentary on the new movie about the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A., you might think the biggest problem facing Compton is its unfair and outdated reputation for violence and gangs. But today’s Compton has an even more stubborn problem: It’s boring. Mathews in Sacramento Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The state Legislature, at the behest of construction industry lobbyists, is desperately scrambling to mitigate the potential fallout of an appellate court ruling against Fresno Unified School District. Assembly Bill 975 is unworthy of passage.

Merced Sun-Star – Donald Trump’s first policy paper lays out his thoughts on immigration. It ranges from nonsense to blatantaly illegal.

Modesto Bee – Donald Trump’s first policy paper lays out his thoughts on immigration. It ranges from nonsense to blatantaly illegal.

Sacramento Bee – Over the years, the FDA has done much to protect the public from unsafe drugs. In this instance, the pharmaceutical industry play seems to be using political muscle to seduce regulators, while claiming to be championing women’s health; Regional Transit riders get a louder say. 

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!

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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