August 31, 2015


Political Briefs

Top stories

Time for another water bond? Draft language floating — It hasn’t been a year since Californians approved a $7.5 billion water bond. But with drought still ravaging the state – and Democratic-heavy turnout expected in November 2016 – a former Brown administration official is mulling asking voters to approve a follow-up measure. Sacramento Bee article

George Skelton: Lawmakers squabble over reducing gas consumption – Moderate Democrats are linking their opposition to the global warming legislation with Atkins’ survival as speaker. Some are urging her to take a gasoline-reduction mandate out of the bill and subtly threatening to support a successor who would. Skelton column in LA Times

State budget

Laura Shumaker: California’s unfinished business with Americans with Disabilities Act — The services system for people with developmental disabilities in California has not seen an increase in funding for over a decade. Shumaker in San Francisco Chronicle


Kate Steinle slaying prompts Bay Area counties to cooperate with immigration officials — In the two months since Kate Steinle’s death in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal immigrant with a criminal record ignited a national immigration policy debate, four Bay Area counties — Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin — have agreed to notify ICE when inmates flagged by the agency for possible deportation are about to be released. San Jose Mercury News article


Other areas

Assemblymember Shannon Grove: The good, the bad and the tricky in Special Session – The Bakersfield Republican writes, “You can expect to see plenty of efforts made to pass bills that will further hurt job creation in California and attempts to sneak unpopular legislation through at the last minute. Let me give you a preview of coming attractions.” Grove op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Sacramento Bee: A second chance to do right by the terminally ill — Aid-in-dying laws have been in place in Oregon for nearly two decades. There has been no abuse there, just relief for those who choose it. Sacramento Bee editorial

Brian Chase and Nancy Peverini: A compromise can solve state’s plague of disability lawsuits – The officials from the Consumer Attorneys of California write, “We believe that by working together in good faith we can keep intact California’s strong civil rights protections for people with disabilities, stop or reduce lawsuits that don’t address the real problems and encourage more building owners to make their public accommodations accessible, once and for all.” Chase/Peverini op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers propose sweeping ivory ban to curb elephant poaching — Two years after imposing a controversial ban on the sale of shark fins, California lawmakers are shifting their activism from the ocean to the jungle with a new effort to slow the alarming killing of African elephants by shutting down the market for ivory. San Jose Mercury News article

Risks, rewards for Republicans insulting entire groups of people — It’s already been called the Year of the Angry Voter, but 2015 could also turn out to be the Year of the Insulted Voter. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fiorina, once an afterthought in GOP race, fends off attacks and fights for a debate slot — The attacks come at a crucial time as Fiorina tries to claw her way onto the prime-time stage at the September Republican debate in California. It’s quite a turn from earlier this year, when Fiorina was such an afterthought in the race for the GOP nomination that no one bothered with her (aside from Donald Trump, who appears to enjoy poking at much of the GOP field). Some of her Republican rivals even routinely praised her. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

Modesto finds an extra $3.15 million – Modesto received an extra $3.15 million in general fund revenue for its 2014-15 budget, which ended June 30, and city officials recommend the money be spent on police and fire services. Modesto Bee article

Dan Walters: A big mess 6 decades in the making – California’s public schools saw an enormous enrollment surge during the 1950s from the post-World War II baby boom. It overwhelmed many school districts’ capacities to build new facilities, and one response, enacted in 1957, was called “lease-leaseback.” Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Jobs and the Economy

Water and sewer bills will more than double in Riverbank – City leaders grimly denounced their predecessors for not having courage to charge enough fees in a past housing boom, then voted unanimously to more than double water and sewer rates despite pleas from several upset customers in the audience. Modesto Bee article

Mike Klocke: Downtown ideas? Well, let’s just go to the people – I’m not lazy. Really, I’m not. But there are times when — instead of writing a column — it’s best to turn your space over to the community. And so I stopped by the Stockton History site on Facebook and asked the almost 10,000 members a couple of questions: 1) what would you like to see happen in downtown Stockton?; 2) what do you miss that once was part of downtown?” Klocke column in Stockton Record

San Bernardino pension shift to save $2.7 million – Bankrupt San Bernardino approved a plan last week to disband the city fire department and annex the city to a large county fire district. Part of the expected savings is $2.7 million a year from avoiding future CalPERS rate increases. Calpensions article 

Overdue bail refund sends Fresno businessman on quest to be paid — Carl Pederson’s interaction with traffic court should have ended five months ago when a Fresno County judge dismissed a ticket he got on a drive from his home in Fresno to his business in Sanger. Instead, it started Pederson, 70, on a quest for justice. At issue: Fresno County traffic court owes him $229 for bail he posted before a trial – a prepayment that under new rules the court could not collect today. Fresno Bee article 

Downtown parkers see red over sea of blue placards — Walk down any street near the state Capitol and you’ll see plenty of blue disabled placards in the windows of parked cars. On some blocks, by the city’s count, they hang in more than 70 percent of the vehicles. Sacramento Bee article

Stock market’s bumpy ride isn’t over, experts say — Wall Street’s wild week ended with relative calm, but no trader or money manager is betting the lull will last. LA Times article


Water Deeply: An interactive timeline – This interactive timeline explores key developments leading into California’s historic drought. The timeline was prepared by Water Deeply, a multimedia project dedicated to coverage of California’s water crisis. Sacramento Bee article

Largest Orange County jail implements water-saving programs — Inmates at Orange County’s largest jail will get low-flow toilets and shower valves with timers as part of a wide-ranging effort to save water amid the state’s four-year drought. AP article

Cal Water knocks to give droplets of advice — Yvonne Kingman, corporate communications manager for California Water Service, has three messages to share with Visalia residents. Well done, keep it up, and turn it up a notch. Or rather, turn down the tap. Visalia Times-Delta article

Sonoma County residents’ battle with wineries is more than about water — Simmering resentment at the rapid growth of vineyards and wineries turned to fury against an industry that has a $13.4-billion impact on the Sonoma County economy. And it appears to have spoiled the party for wineries and growers who have embarked on a highly publicized effort to be the nation’s first wine region to be certified as completely “sustainable” by 2019. LA Times article

How a 1930s water war between California and Arizona delayed Parker Dam – “Water war” has for decades been a term used to describe the political battles over water in the West. But back in the 1930s, a fight between California and Arizona over water actually veered from cold war to hot war — almost. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

6 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at San Quentin — Six inmates at San Quentin State Prison tested positive, and 51 others are showing symptoms, for Legionnaires’ disease after an outbreak of the potentially deadly respiratory illness hit the lock-up facility last week, prison officials announced Sunday. San Francisco Chronicle article; KQED report; LA Times article

California’s death-penalty delays put on trial – California is about to find out if taking three decades or more to execute death row inmates will turn out to be the fatal flaw in the state’s long-faltering death penalty system. San Jose Mercury News article; AP article

One-stop justice center close to reality in San Joaquin County – For more than a year, Schultz has been leading an effort to establish a one-stop Family Justice Center in San Joaquin County, and the work appears as if it will bear fruit as soon as 2016. The center would give victims access in one place, to a prosecutor, counselor and social worker; assistance in filling out a restraining order; help from the Sheriff’s Office in serving a restraining order; and aid in securing emergency housing. Stockton Record article

Retired captain reflects on the first shots he ever fired … and wishes he could have done more – The trap was set. Several police officers were fast approaching the muzzle of a madman, and the ambush was about to be unleashed. A gunman who had only 30 minutes to live was taking aim with an AK-47-style assault rifle, ready to unload on officers as they blindly rounded a bend in the road into what Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones called a “fatal funnel.” The only person who could thwart the attack was Doug Anderson, a police captain who was three weeks from retirement and about to discharge his weapon for the first time in his career. Stockton Record article

Police worry about their own safety after killings: ‘It’s a different world’ – Although dozens of police officers are slain on duty in any given year, active and retired police officers across the country said the recent bloodshed feels different. As the nation has been roiled by strong currents of distrust and fear of police that surfaced after last year’s killing of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson, Mo., an ugly byproduct of the turmoil has been a newfound willingness to do harm to those in uniform, many police officers say. LA Times article

Citizens taking video of police see themselves facing arrest — What makes the situation hard to define, civil libertarians say, is that no one is ever arrested on a charge of recording police because that has widely been upheld as protected under the First Amendment. Instead, they are being hauled into court on obstruction, resisting arrest or other charges. AP article

San Francisco Police Department has head start on activists’ race reforms — As organizers work to promote what is thought to be the first nationally crafted plan by activists spawned from demonstrations against police killings from Oakland to Ferguson, San Francisco police officials say they’re open to the plan’s recommendations — mostly because they have already begun to make many of the suggested reforms. San Francisco Chronicle article

Drug suspect in San Diego dies while being taken to jail, police say —  San Diego police are investigating the death of a 42-year-old man who collapsed as he was being arrested on drug charges, police said Sunday. LA Times article


Gang colors put limits on Modesto high schools’ dress codes — The two most common street gangs in the region, the Norteños and Sureños, claim the colors red and blue, spoiling the popular hues for the majority of Modesto high school students who have nothing to do with gangs. Red or blue shoelaces, as well as belts of the same color, are banned across the Modesto City Schools district, and every high school has some kind of limitations related to the colors on other articles of clothing. Modesto Bee article

Uncertain impact of California’s high school exit exam – As the state looks to replace the California High School Exit Exam with a new version, or eliminate it altogether as a graduation requirement, it remains difficult to find much consensus among educators, researchers and advocates regarding the legacy of the test for California. EdSource article

Turlock Unified trustee resigns midterm, no interest shown in seat up for election — The Turlock Unified School District board will have two upcoming vacancies to discuss at its meeting Tuesday night. Trustee Deborah Martin has announced she will resign and no candidates filed for a seat that was to be elected in November. Modesto Bee article

Q&A: The newest lesson in pre-K – It’s important for children to be in a classroom setting before they turn 5, according to educators and researchers. In California and Los Angeles, that has resulted in a hodgepodge of pre-kindergarten programs. The newest one in LAUSD and in some other California districts is called expanded transitional kindergarten. LA Times article

Oral health can lead to classroom success — At the top of many back-to-school lists are the basic needs such as backpacks, crayons, notebook paper and glue. But often left off the list is a need that, if left untreated, could derail students’ education from the time they start kindergarten, even becoming a lifelong problem for many. Oral health. Stockton Record article 

LA board members will interview 2 firms to help them find a schools chief — The Los Angeles Board of Education held a private retreat Sunday to discuss the next superintendent of schools and ended up picking two executive search firms to interview. LA Times article 

Practicing feminism: Sacramento area students rally for social change — In classrooms across Sacramento, Inga Manticas and dozens of her fellow high school students are taking on the feminist fight and updating it for the 21st century. Sacramento Bee article



Brian Medeiros and Nic Stover: Extend federal solar tax credit – Medeiros, vice president of Medeiros & Sons Dairy in Hanford, and Stover, CEO of CalCam Solar of Visalia, write, “We shouldn’t risk a significant slowdown of solar energy by letting the tax credit expire. We should push for an extension of the investment tax credit so that solar continues to flourish and becomes an increasingly mainstream resource in our state’s energy portfolio. Let’s not send our solar economy back in time.” Medeiros/Stover op-ed in Fresno Bee

White House says Mount McKinley to be renamed Denali — President Barack Obama will change the name of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said Sunday, bestowing the traditional Alaska Native name on the eve of a historic presidential visit to Alaska. AP article; LA Times article 

Cameras catch sustainable fishing 600 feet under the sea — Pennisi installed GoPro cameras to monitor the nets underwater, and now the Environmental Defense Fund and NOAA are studying his efforts, looking at how to replicate them. KQED report; ‘What is sustainable seafood? The answer might surprise you’ in KQED


Health/Human Services


Mental Health Services Act programs in Stanislaus County would focus on children Stanislaus County could spend Mental Health Services Act funding on new programs for children with severe emotional problems and support a small housing project for adults with mental disorders. Modesto Bee article

Severe poverty affects brain size, researchers say – A six-year study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has added to the mounting evidence that growing up in severe poverty affects how children’s brains develop, potentially putting them at a lifelong disadvantage. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in Modesto Bee

Violent traumas bear array of often buried health issues — Claudia Gonzalez was 12 years old when she witnessed the murder of a friend for the first time. Gonzalez said she was in Los Angeles County when she and a group of friends were confronted by what she figured were gang members. To this day, memories of her blood-stained hands and clothes plague her thoughts and nightmares. Merced Sun-Star article


Land Use/Housing

Sacramento council to debate new fee for low-income housing — The Sacramento City Council will be asked Tuesday to impose a fee on developers to help build subsidized housing for lower-income residents in new and old neighborhoods around the city.  Sacramento Bee article

Would San Francisco Prop F spur Airbnb suits, with neighbor suing neighbor? — Airbnb last week launched a barrage of TV and online ads attacking Proposition F, the San Francisco ballot initiative that seeks to curb short-term rentals. Among the company’s chief complaints: Prop. F would provide financial incentives for neighbors “to spy on each other and file what could be thousands of lawsuits.” San Francisco Chronicle article


Other areas 

Chowchilla to start adopt-a-park program — Chowchilla City Council approved plans last week to roll out an adopt-a-park program, a way to get regular folks to pitch in on cleanup and improvement efforts.Merced Sun-Star article

Fitz’s Stockton: Reader nominees for Stockton Walk of Fame — The other day, just for fun, I mused who would deserve a star on a Stockton Walk of Fame. Readers enthusiastically responded with many suggestions of their own. Here they are. Feel free to keep ’em coming. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record

After deaths of 2 fans at a rave, Live Nation cancels event and creates more safety precautions — Facing a possible ban on raves at county facilities after the deaths of two young partygoers this month, concert promoter Live Nation has agreed to cancel one upcoming rave at the county-owned Fairplex and to scale back another and implement extra safety precautions.  LA Times article



Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – California lawmakers should raise cigarette tax, regulate e-cigarettes.


Sacramento BeeAid-in-dying laws have been in place in Oregon for nearly two decades. There has been no abuse there, just relief for those who choose it.

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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