August 29, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Jerry Brown, Senate Democrats find unlikely fight on climate bills — With two weeks before the legislative session ends, senators are floating amendments to their proposals in an effort to mollify Assembly members, while turning up public pressure to pass the legislation. The uncertainty has bewildered activists who once expected a smooth ride in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Sacramento Bee article

Assembly Speaker Atkins pitches fix for state’s crumbling roads and bridges — Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins on Friday visited Fresno and along with representatives of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration made a case for new taxes or fees to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics 

Harold Hanson, longtime southwest councilman, reverses, will seek re-election — Vice Mayor Harold Hanson, who represents southwest Bakersfield, officially reversed a position taken last year and said Friday he will seek re-election in November 2016. Hanson, 78, is the city’s second longest-serving council representative after Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan, who has been on the dais since the summer of 1995. Bakersfield Californian article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

The Capitol Backstory: California Politics Podcast — Sometimes, you don’t know how to evaluate what happens in front of the public in Sacramento until you understand what happened behind closed doors. On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we examine a busy week of policy and political wrangling over bills clearing the legislative fiscal committees and their “suspense files,” a place where bills are killed without any legislator fingerprints. California Politics Podcast in KQED



Immigrant suspects faces tough battle fighting murder charge — Even if the suspect at the center of a national immigration debate accidentally fired the shot that killed a young woman on San Francisco’s Pier 14, it may not help his case. AP article


Other areas

Lawmakers pile on greenhouse-gas reduction bill From oil producers and solar companies to farm groups, manufacturers and public agencies, more than 200 lobbyist employers reported working on the bill in quarterly filings with the state from January through June, shortly before lawmakers left for their summer recess. They returned Aug. 17. All told, those interests reported almost $14 million in direct lobbying expenses on SB 350 or other state matters in the first six months of the year. Sacramento Bee article

LA City Council backs state legislation regulating civilian drone use — The Los Angeles City Council on Friday unanimously endorsed proposed state legislation that would regulate civilians’ use of drones, which have come under fire on such grounds as invasion of privacy and interfering with emergency responders. LA Times article

Joel Fox: A Californian on the national ticket? — Only one Californian—actually a former Californian—is even given an outside chance of appearing on one of the major party presidential tickets. That would be Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard who while a resident of this state lost a senate race to Barbara Boxer. Fiorina has since moved to the East Coast. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Joe Mathews: Passports, religions and wolves — With apologies to the late, great Los Angeles sports journalist Allan Malamud, here are some late-summer notes on the California scorecard. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Ed Coughlan: California auditor issues report on ‘improper activities’ revealed by whistleblowers — we found a report on the California Whistleblower Protection Act from the California State Auditor released on Thursday so interesting. The law empowers the auditor to investigate complaints that state agencies and employees have engaged in improper governmental activity. (Here’s a link to the summary of the report). On a related matter, CA Fwd has long supported expanding whistleblower protection to legislative employees, the last group of public employees to be given this protection. A bill allowing that–AB 289 died on Thursday. Coughlan in CA Fwd

Bishop Stephen Blaire: Open letter about dangers of assisted suicide – In an open letter to state Assemblymember Susan Eggman, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton writes, “Parents may not want to be a “burden” to their children, but they are not a burden; they are a grace that enables their children to ‘honor their father and their mother.’ I am convinced that ABX2-15 does not promote the interests of the common good and does not protect the poor and vulnerable. Bishop Blaire in Modesto Bee 

Assemblymember Mike Gatto: Here are ways to fix a broken Legislature – The Glendale Democrat writes, “Less is more. Every Assembly member is allowed to introduce 20 bills a year. New bills don’t necessarily mean new laws, because it takes a bill to repeal a bad law, too. But legislating by numbers results in a lot of duplicative proposals, incrementalism and disjointed mini-solutions to big problems. Reducing the number of bills any lawmaker could carry would result in more comprehensive solutions, perhaps with more authors and greater input. This is a good thing.” Gatto op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento wedding proposal is a politico’s dream — A rolling beach, a candlelit restaurant. When they consider romantic destinations to pop the question, most people don’t think about the Governor’s Office. Then again, most people aren’t dating a legislative leader’s staff member. Amid a frantic Thursday of decisive hearings and leadership machinations, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, of Riverbank, got a phone call: We have been summoned to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, she told spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson. Let’s go. Sacramento Bee article


Australian government efforts to lift ban on kangaroo products under scrutiny –  An animal rights activist has filed a complaint with the state ethics agency against the Australian government, alleging that it did not properly register its lobbying activities as it seeks to eliminate California’s ban on kangaroo products. LA Times article


News Briefs

Top Stories

Fresno Unified comes under federal investigation — The Fresno Unified School District is under a federal investigation over how it handled a $37 million contract to build a middle school. The U.S. Attorney’s Office subpoenaed district officials this week in an investigation about the no-bid contract with Harris Construction to build Gaston Middle School. Fresno Bee article

Appellate court upholds Bakersfield’s medical marijuana ordinance — Bakersfield’s medical marijuana ordinance, challenged in court last year, has withstood an appeal to the Fifth Appellate District Court in Fresno, City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said Friday. The appellate court ruled in Bakersfield’s favor, agreeing with a Kern County Superior Court judge that its ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries in city limits didn’t change existing laws — and so the city did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act by approving it. Bakersfield Californian article

Unspoken emotional damage looms over victims of violence in Merced County – Samantha’s death was one of three that night at the same party, and one of 30 homicides in Merced County in 2013 – a record at that time. That number was trumped last year, when the county recorded 32 homicides. Based on the county’s estimated population of 255,793, that is equivalent to 12.51 homicides per 100,000 people. Merced Sun-Star article; ‘Video: Part 1: Atwater mom discusses death of daughter’ in Merced Sun-Star


Jobs and the Economy

Atwater leaders talk about water, economy – Dozens of residents came together here Thursday at a town hall-style meeting, where the discussion topics included water and economic development.Merced Sun-Star article 

Ice rink for downtown Modesto? – There could be another reason to visit downtown Modesto over the holidays — ice skating. The city is close to reaching a deal with a company that would operate a 70-foot-by-120-foot ice rink in the city parking lot at 11th and K streets, near Modesto Centre Plaza. Modesto Bee article

Inequity is ‘baked in’ when it comes to LA city services; where you live matters — Improving basic city services has become a top priority at Los Angeles City Hall. But how promptly municipal agencies respond to Angelenos’ complaints depends largely on where they live, a Los Angeles Times analysis found. An examination of more than 1.4 million service requests since 2010 showed vast disparities across the city in how long it took to patch a pothole, pick up a broken-down sofa or paint over graffiti. LA Times article

Santa Clara County seeks to tackle gender, ethnicity wage gap – Santa Clara County leaders are rolling out a plan to tackle a problem that persists in Silicon Valley and across the nation despite federal legislation dating back to the 1960s — an income disparity between male and female workers, and those of different ethnicities. San Jose Mercury News article 

California innovation contest offering $25,000 awards — Got an idea that would make California’s freeways better? Perhaps you’re an app developer who has thought about a tool to help government operate in a more environmentally-sustainable way. Or maybe you have an inspiration that would discourage teen drinking. If so, the state wants to hear from you – and maybe even hand you a check.Sacramento Bee article

The Numbers Crunch: Most Californians’ paychecks are falling further behind – One result of huge differences in our paychecks is growing income inequality. The California Budget & Policy Center is the latest to sound the warning, with a studyspotlighting that the economic recovery has not boosted wages for the vast majority. Last year, the median-wage worker made $19 an hour ($39,520 annually), 2 percent less than in 2011 and 6 percent less than 2006, adjusting for inflation. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee

LA City Council again pushes pause on Olympic bid announcement – On Friday, Los Angeles City Council members once again delayed a vote on the issue, asking for assurances that a privately operated bid committee would keep them involved in decision-making over the next two years. LA Times article 

NLRB ruling on third-party employers could be a game changer for unions – Unions and other labor advocates are brainstorming strategies in the wake of a National Labor Relations Board ruling that could strengthen the hand of those at the lowest level of key industries including warehousing, construction, fast food and home healthcare. LA Times article

Will Wall Street turmoil affect Southern California housing market? – Seven years ago when the housing bubble burst, it nearly took down Wall Street and the entire U.S. economy. This week, the concern was the reverse: That the prospect of an extended dive in the stock market, or even continued volatility, might spook buyers and sellers in Southern California’s housing market — just as it has finally normalized after a bust-and-boom cycle. LA Times article

Ag tech company wins Patterson round of Innovation Challenge – The winner of Thursday night’s regional round of the Stanislaus Innovation Challenge in Patterson was Seana Day Hull, co-founder of Stanislaus County-based LeanAg Technologies. “Her business concept is best described as an agricultural field data analytics service,” Stanislaus Business Alliance Director Kurt Clark said Friday. Modesto Bee article 

Renewable energy requirement creates jobs, Berkeley study says –  As lawmakers consider new measures to combat climate change, researchers at UC Berkeley released a study saying stronger renewable energy requirements would lead to new jobs. LA Times article

Tulare County moving ahead with Cigna building purchase – The Tulare County Board of supervisors isn’t scheduled to vote until next month on whether to purchase the “Cigna building” off South Akers Street in west Visalia. But on Tuesday, the five board members sounded as if they were ready to sign the sales papers before they voted to authorize county staff to go forward with the final actions needed to buy the two-story, 180,679-square-foot building. Visalia Times-Delta article

Secretary of Defense unveils $75 million investment in Silicon Valley venture – Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed Friday at Moffett Federal Airfield for his second appearance in Silicon Valley in four months to reassure technology industry leaders that the Pentagon views their work as vital to the future of national defense. LA Times article; San Jose Mercury News article

Local Powerball winners buy Via Montana shopping center – Carlo Joseph Mitchell and his wife Erlinda, a retired Fresno couple who were California’s first Powerball winners, are the new owners of the Via Montana shopping center. The Mitchells, who in 2013 won a $213 million Powerball jackpot, bought the 124,000-square-foot north Fresno commercial property in early August for $31 million in an all-cash transaction. The Business Journal article

Special tax approved in Burbank-Paradise Fire District – Voters in the Burbank-Paradise Fire District approved a special tax for emergency services. According to the official results, 68 percent of votes cast in the mail election favored Measure C. That was slightly more than the 66.7 percent required to approve the tax. Modesto Bee article

Tulare Local Health Care District gets better bond rating — Tulare Local Health Care District’s credit rating has been upgraded from “B” to “BB-,” which could save property owners in the district million of dollars if a bond is issued to pay to finish the stalled expansion of the city’s hospital. Visalia Times-Delta article; The Business Journal article

Changes afoot at Bakersfield’s Fox Theater – The Fox Theater Foundation has announced a change in management, effective Jan. 1. Bob Bender, a Bakersfield native who owns a local production company, will assume day-to-day management responsibilities at the downtown Bakersfield landmark, the foundation announced. The current operator, a company called aVenueTek, has leased the theater from the nonprofit foundation, which owns the Fox, since 2010. Bakersfield Californian article

Willie Brown: Lee must make enemies if he wants to combat homelessness – With his pronouncement that the homeless will “have to leave” their encampments on the city’s streets and sidewalks Mayor Ed Lee has taken his first step away from being the social-worker-style mayor that he has been for the past four years. The question is: What will come next? San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento’s Yellow Cab challenges Uber for downtown riders – Uber and other upstart ride-share companies have been gobbling up an increasingly large slice of the taxi market in Sacramento over the past two years by offering rides at the touch of a smartphone app. Now a century-old name in the taxi game is battling back. Sacramento Bee article

Madera Tribune, citing economic hardship, reduces publication to twice a week — The Madera Tribune will reduce publication to every Wednesday and Saturday beginning Wednesday. Publisher Chuck Doud said in a post on The Tribune’s website that tough economic circumstances prompted the change. The paper, which was founded in 1892, was published Tuesday through Saturday before the change. Fresno Bee article

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op offering shares to finance store construction — As a groundbreaking looms for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op’s new midtown store, the organization is turning to Wall Street-style financing to help pay for construction, For the second time in its history, the co-op plans to offer preferred stock shares to its members, general manager Paul Cultrera reports. Sacramento Bee article



State Assemblymember Adam Gray: California water storage bond a drop in a leaky bucket – The Merced Democrat writes, “Instead of waiting for our prayers for rain to be answered, let’s start putting shovels in the ground and take our water future in our own hands.” Gray op-ed in Merced Sun-Star 

Valley drought study takes broader view – You’ve probably noticed it by now: A parade of California drought studies focusing relentlessly on lost agricultural jobs, lost total jobs, lost revenue, lost crop acreage and lost surface water supplies. A new study released Thursday by California State University, Fresno, takes a different approach. Hanford Sentinel article

Clean water rule frightens farmers – On Friday, a new definition of sorts took effect. The Environmental Protection Agency called it a “generational rule” that will protect the remote small streams and wetlands that ultimately provide drinking water for 117 million Americans. The rule also lends much-needed clarity to the confusing law, the EPA said. Stockton Record article

San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services prepares for El Nino flooding — It may have been 100 degrees in and around Stockton on Friday, and talk likely focused on heat and drought as people gathered around the water cooler at work or in community gathering spots. But for the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services, it was another day to prepare for flooding. With dire predictions of potentially extremely wet conditions this winter because of a strong El Niño, preparing for the floods everyone hopes won’t occur is time well spent, officials said. Stockton Record article 

Much of Modesto area’s bounty sails from Oakland – The Port of Oakland has released an online video called “What’s in the Box?” meaning those freight containers stacked by the thousands on ships. Answer: An awful lot of nuts, wine, dairy goods and other products from farms and processing plants in Stanislaus and nearby counties. Modesto Bee article

Hydro power loss another drought casualty – Remember hydroelectricity, that cheap power source derived from pent-up water behind dams? Reservoirs are a fraction of capacity in the fourth year of California’s worst drought in recorded history. That means a drop in the amount of power coming from hydroelectric facilities. Hanford Sentinel article

Robin Abcarian: How the drought has affected San Francisco’s devastating lack of public restrooms — The historic drought has afflicted Californians in many different ways. Suburbanites have had to reconsider the concept of the verdant lawn. Farmers have had to fallow fields. Merchants in San Francisco, it would seem, have stopped washing down their streets. Water conservation, combined with a dearth of public restrooms, has led to an olfactory assault on denizens and tourists. Abcarian column in LA Times

Frank Gehry faces monumental challenge in LA River project — As the early contours of Gehry’s plans for the river emerged Friday, so did the challenges that his team of architects and engineers will face in crafting what they say would be “a continuous experience” over 51 miles of a waterway that flows through 15 cities and a varied landscape of parks, residential neighborhoods, urban centers and bleak stretches of industrial land. LA Times article 

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Legionnaire’s disease scare at San Quentin after prisoner tests positive — A Legionnaires’ disease scare swept San Quentin Prison on Friday after an inmate tested positive for the potentially deadly illness, prompting officials to shut off water and attempt to track down the source of the bacteria. San Francisco Chronicle article; AP article; LA Times article; KQED report 

Reward up to $25,000 offered for information in correction officer’s homicide — A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the killing of a 60-year-old correctional officer last summer. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced benefit concert held, proceeds unclear – It remains unclear how much, if any, the Merced County Peace Officers Memorial Fund benefited from a concert Thursday at Merced Theatre. Merced Sun-Star article

Panel recommends parole for killer of San Diego police officer – A state parole board panel voted Friday to recommend that Jesus Cecena, convicted of the 1978 killing of San Diego police Officer Archie Buggs in 1978, be paroled. LA Times article



Lillian Tafoya and Rob Arias: Fix law discouraging schools from saving for a rainy day – Bakersfield City School District board member Tafoya and BCSD Superintendent Arias write, “While the state has made great strides preparing its own finances for a rainy day, there is a major piece of unfinished business that needs to be addressed to stop a fiscal train wreck from hitting our local schools. State leaders must act urgently to fix an irresponsible law approved as part of last year’s state budget and dubbed the school district reserve cap. It actually discourages local school districts from maintaining prudent budget reserves.” Tafoya/Arais op-ed in Bakersfield California 

Task force: Community college accreditor should be dropped – A California community college task force is recommending the system’s Board of Governors drop its regional accrediting agency after consistently failing to address calls for reform. AP article

Amid criticism, state officials restore past years’ test data – The California Department of Education on Friday began restoring historical test data that it deleted from the most accessible part of its website earlier this month, following criticism that it did so to discourage the public from making comparisons to the results of new tests aligned to the Common Core standards. EdSource article

Plan to require unaccredited law schools in California to disclose dropout rates OK’d – A panel of the State Bar of California approved a plan on Friday to require unaccredited law schools to disclose their dropout rates, in an effort to improve transparency for prospective students. LA Times article 

Dana Zupanovich Lucka: How to make the most of campus life – The director of development for the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State writes, “The best advice is to get out of your solo existence and connect with others in a meaningful and personal way, join a club and help others. You’ll be healthier for the experience.” Lucka op-ed in Fresno Bee

Students create health-themed mural — A local school and organization have worked together to help educate children about the importance of physical activity and nutrition. Rather than just lecturing students in class, Lincoln Elementary School is taking a more active approach. Kings Community Action Organization has partnered with the school to pay for a new nutrition-themed mural created by students. Hanford Sentinel article

Lemoore council to hear West Hills plan — The Lemoore City Council will hear an update Tuesday on the future of West Hills Community College District. WHCCD Chancellor Frank Gornick will go over the district’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan during a study session with the council. According to the document, it will be the third time the district has used a five-year plan to set goals and measure progress.Hanford Sentinel article

Sacramento State’s ‘move-in day’ draws record number of freshmen — Sacramento State was abuzz with activity Friday as families driving cars stuffed with belongings lined up to unload at the university’s residence halls during “move-in day.” The line of cars, trucks, moving vans and even a taxicab carried a record number of freshmen – 1,100 – to the dorms. A total of 1,716 students will move onto the campus by Monday. Sacramento Bee article


Evacuation order for Wishon area tied to Rough fire — The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Friday issued an evacuation warning notice to residents in the Wishon area. The warning is for everyone along McKinley Grove Road between Dinkey Creek and Wishon Reservoir. Fresno Bee article 

National forest events canceled due to Rough fire — The annual Buck Rock Open House is an important event for the Buck Rock Foundation, usually drawing hundreds of people to the historic lookout station to see it and a spectacular view of the Sequoia National Forest. But this year’s event, which had been scheduled for Sept. 6, will not happen. Visalia Times-Delta article

Another bad year for water hyacinth — Don’t let the open water around downtown Stockton fool you. The hyacinth is coming. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services


Memorial Medical Center invests in higher level of cancer treatment — Memorial Medical Center of Modesto has taken its cancer treatment to a higher level, with a linear accelerator that delivers high doses of cancer-killing radiation with precision. Modesto Bee article

Reported pesticide sickness prompts massive response from emergency workers — A group of workers who apparently, and mysteriously, were exposed to a pesticide in the Lost Hills area Friday morning prompted a massive response from emergency workers, including deployment of more than a dozen Hall Ambulance vehicles and off-duty EMTs and paramedics. Bakersfield Californian article

The doctor is online: Remote video exams gain popularity — Remote video medical exams, also called telehealth or e-visits, are offered by a host of companies, including Teledoc Inc., American Well, MDLive Inc., Healthspot and Doctor on Demand. These consultations are growing quickly and increasingly included as a part of benefits packages offered by employers and insurers. LA Times article 

ER doctors slam decision to continue raves at LA County fairgrounds — Several Los Angeles emergency room physicians on Friday criticized a decision to allow a two-day rave at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds this Halloween after two young women died of apparent drug overdoses after attending a similar event earlier this month. LA Times article

Centre for Neuro Skills celebrates 35 years of work — It was that dedication that helped propel Ashley’s future and led to the founding of the Centre for Neuro Skills, one of the nation’s foremost centers for treating those with traumatic brain injuries, and this year the Bakersfield-based company is celebrating 35 years of work. Bakersfield Californian article


Land Use/Housing

Stockton General Plan: Tiptoeing to the future – Once more Stockton tiptoed toward its future this week, restarting anew its on-again, off-again, on-again effort to amend the city’s current General Plan, a document one critic says is so outdated it evokes images of vintage television. Stockton Record article

Gossamer Grove: Shafter’s largest home development takes flight – A huge, pre-recession housing development along 7th Standard Road has come back to life and could see people moving in as soon as October. Gossamer Grove, a more than 3,000-home community with two planned schools and nine parks, was among several area projects halted by the housing crash. It’s unclear when, or if, those other projects, totaling another nearly 6,000 homes, will come to fruition. Bakersfield Californian article 

Jerrold Jensen: Backyard farmers clash with city folks in Visalia – The Visalia resident writes, “These activists obviously have little concern for the impact of backyard farm animals on people who do not share their philosophy. Which Valley city will be next on their agenda?” Jensen op-ed in Fresno Bee



Stockton Metropolitan Airport: China air link support sought — Stockton Metropolitan Airport’s has signed a cooperation agreement with Chengdu Shuangliu Airport, China’s fourth largest flight center, a small step toward establishing air connections between the two. Stockton Record article


Other areas 

Big Brothers Big Sisters troubled by claims — A recent slew of anonymous attacks against Hanford City Councilman Francisco Ramirez have now reached beyond the councilman in question.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California was drawn into the controversy earlier this month by an anonymous caller claiming to have given a donation check to Ramirez, who serves on the organization’s board of directors. Hanford Sentinel article

Good Samaritan businesses lend services to Merced SPCA – A few businesses throughout Merced County recently banded together to help the Merced Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was struggling financially and needed some major repairs to its facility. Merced Sun-Star article

Naimat Khan: Changing view of America via Modesto – The Pakastani journalist visiting Modesto writes, “Everyone in Modesto has his own point of view, but others respect them. People are friends with each other. I’m thankful to the International Center for Journalists and The Modesto Bee for allowing me to become closer to those of you who live in and around Modesto. I’m also thankful that my reality has been wonderfully different from my expectations. What one believes when viewing America, or Karachi, from afar is different from what one finds when you live among the residents. I have learned much in Modesto. I wish that many of you will come to Pakistan to see another vibrant society which, like Modesto, has much more good than bad to offer. Khan op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Lee Herrick: Fresno taught me to read, write – Fresno’s poet laureate writes, “Poetry is where fires begin and smolder. So it’s no wonder that poets here write killer poems in our unapologetic heat, the exhaust of the traffic, or the dream-inducing tule fog. It’s no wonder that I was born in South Korea, adopted to the U.S., and wound up in Fresno amid factory workers, war veterans and farm laborers. It’s no wonder that I learned to write and dream here. It’s no wonder that I love looking up at the stars.” Herrick op-ed in Fresno Bee

Dick Hagerty: Epidemic of red-light runners will turn deadly – Running a red light should not be considered a traffic violation. It is a criminal act and should be treated accordingly. People get killed by red-light runners! Too many drivers these days consider stoplights and stop signs to be mere inconveniences, perhaps a suggestion, not a mandate. The results of these events are often costly, sometimes fatal. Hagerty column in Modesto Bee

Kira Armbruster: Top 5 lessons I learned from Armenia – The school psychologist with the Fresno County Office of Education writes, “Armenia. It is a beautiful, historic land of fiercely proud people. I traveled there this summer as a volunteer with Birthright Armenia, an organization for diasporan young people like me who claim Armenian as part of their ethnic heritage. I spent five weeks living with a host family, volunteering, taking language lessons, excursions, meeting fellow Armenians from all over the world, and making memories to last a lifetime. Here are the top five things I learned during my time in Armenia.” Armbruster op-ed in Fresno Bee

Former Schwarzenegger spokesman teams up with Sacramento train hero – The high-speed heroics of Anthony Sadler and his two friends, who foiled a gunman’s attack on a bullet train bound for Paris last weekend, sounded like something out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Now the Sacramento State student is just one degree of separation from the Governator: Sadler and his family have retained former Schwarzenegger press secretary and Republican strategist Aaron McLear to help parse the crush of requests for interviews and appearances. Sacramento Bee article

Larry Patton: For Hmong, culture clash lives on after death – The United Methodist clergy writes, “My patient, a 40-something Hmong woman, didn’t speak English. While working for a hospice in the 1990s, I was assigned to be her chaplain. Before meeting the family, I knew one of her teen daughters would have to translate any words I shared. I also knew, based on information from a nurse, that the patient and her husband were animists.” Patton op-ed in Fresno Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – How many more must die before we see the light on guns?; Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Upcoming Events

  • 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.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will hold its Fresno seminar at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton in Fresno on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  More
  • The Wonderful Company will hold information sessions in Avenal and Wasco for area nonprofits, churches, religious organizations and local government agencies interested in applying for the Wonderful Community Grants initiative.  The Wasco event will be held at Wasco City Hall on Monday, Sept. 14, from 10-11 a.m. The Avenal event will be held at the Avenal Recreation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.   More information:
  • CA Fwd will hold an event on “Money, Schools, Jobs and You – A Bipartisan Conversation in Clovis” at the Center for Advanced Research Technology on Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 6-8 p.m. Speakers are Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin; former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed; Pete Peterson, executive director of Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership; and Marshall Tuck, Educator in Residence, New Teacher Center.  Event is free but registration is required.  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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