August 6, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories 

Central San Joaquin Valley leaders split on sprawling GOP presidential field — With many choices for president, most Republican leaders in the central San Joaquin Valley haven’t settled on a favorite. But several of the 17 candidates are gaining support, and Thursday’s GOP debate could break front-runners from the crowded field. Fresno Bee article 

Budget-balancing bonds of 2004 finally paid off — Treasurer John Chiang and a top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown commemorated the final payoff Wednesday on billions of dollars in budget-balancing bonds, while chiding the “fiscal shortsightedness” of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers who backed the measure. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; AP article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown calls on GOP candidates to detail climate change policies — Gov. Jerry Brown tried to elbow his way into presidential politics Wednesday morning by calling for Republican candidates to detail plans to address climate change. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article; AP article

Valley politics 

Five years later, Bakersfield’s Roy Ashburn reflects on his journey — A former Republican lawmaker who came out as gay months before leaving the California Legislature says he was wrong to oppose gay rights measures – including bills to legalize same-sex marriage. Roy Ashburn termed out after representing Bakersfield for 14 years in the Assembly and Senate. He was arrested for drunken driving five years ago after leaving a gay night club in Sacramento. He came out days later. Capital Public Radio report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

State treasurer pondering campaign for California governor — The race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown could get another candidate — John Chiang, the state treasurer. LA Times article


Centro La Familia to provide federally accredited immigration, naturalization services to Fresno residents — Centro La Familia Advocacy Group announced at a Wednesday news conference that it will now offer full immigration and naturalization services to local residents in addition to victim’s aid and parenting education. Fresno Bee article 

San Diego a sanctuary city? Officials say no — Officials in San Diego say the city is not a sanctuary city, debunking some misconceptions. Rather than overlooking a jail inmate’s immigration status, the police department says it provides that information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  San Diego Union-Tribune article

Other areas

Joel Fox: The fix is in – if you win the contest – Can offering a prize help fix some of California’s problems? We just may find out. Over the last week, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Singularity University in the Silicon Valley announced a contest to seek solutions to confront the drought and the state’s water supply. At the same time Tim Draper’s Fix California Challenge went into its final phase announcing the four finalists that hope to find a way onto the California ballot. Fox in Fox & Hounds

East Bay special Senate cost more than $12 million, final reports show — The final numbers are in: this year’s special elections in the East Bay’s 7th Senate District generated a whopping $12.1 million in campaign spending, state filings show. Capitol Alert

Billionaire Tom Steyer wants oil refineries to disclose California profit — Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer called on California legislators Wednesday to require oil companies to disclose how much they make in profits from refining oil in the state. AP article

San Francisco prosecutors probe City Hall’s role in ‘Shrimp Boy’ case – San Francisco criminal prosecutors and the city attorney’s office have opened probes into whether the tentacles of a racketeering case involving an alleged Chinatown gang leader extend to City Hall, The Chronicle has learned. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Sacramento Democratic Party calls for ethics reform in wake of scandals — Sacramento’s Democratic Party leadership is calling for the creation of an ethics commission with enforcement powers in the wake of two sexual harassment complaints made against elected officials at City Hall. Sacramento Bee article

New skirmish erupts among California judges — A new skirmish has erupted in the long-running war of words between the state’s judicial hierarchy and a band of rebel judges. Capitol Alert

White Americans and racism: ‘Now they’re starting to listen’ – After a year of high-profile police shootings of black Americans, many captured on video, racial attitudes among Americans — particularly whites — have undergone a significant shift. A majority of whites now say the country needs to do more to make equal rights a reality, and a significantly larger number of white Americans say that blacks are treated less fairly than others by law enforcement officials, according to several newly released polls. LA Times article

Cathleen Decker: Watts riots shifted state to the right, but new demographics pushed it left – Watts was “a turning point in a year of turning points, and one of the most important,” said James T. Patterson, an emeritus history professor at Brown University and author of “The Eve of Destruction,” a book about the American transformation wrought in 1965. Yet, 50 years hence, the impact of Watts on California’s politics is negligible. Massive demographic changes have utterly remade the state, sweeping aside the era’s Republican gains. Decker in LA Times

San Francisco Mayor Lee: Allegations of bribery like reading a comic book – Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday shrugged off a court filing by attorneys for a former Chinatown gang leader that the mayor took bribes and engaged in pay-to-play politics. “They’re kind of like orangatangs trying to deflect attention,” Lee said of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and his attorneys. San Francisco Chronicle article

Group seeks a legislative fix as California refinery profits surge – A consumer advocacy group says Californians paid a $4.8-billion premium compared with prices in the rest of the nation during the first half of 2015 because of the state’s gasoline price spike, and it proposed legislation to fix what it sees as problems in the market. LA Times article 

Shawn Hubler: What they really do at Planned Parenthood — The entry to downtown Sacramento’s Planned Parenthood clinic is literally transparent. Through tall windows, you can see right into the waiting room from the sidewalk outside. This week, the women walking in and out were equally open. Hubler in Sacramento Bee

California’s legislative website gets high marks — Finally, California’s state government gets some good news about its much-criticized information technology systems. FiscalNote, a Washington, D.C.-based company that mines state government websites for information that it packages for clients, says that the California Legislature’s recently revised website is one of the nation’s five best. Capitol Alert

News Briefs

Top Stories

Joe Mathews: A short drive reveals California’s growing divide – Highway 68 is a short road, just 24 miles from the coastal cities of Pacific Grove and Monterey to Salinas. In today’s California, the path of inequality is rarely very long. Californians often talk about the inequality between our regions – north and south, coast and inland. But the greatest inequality in our state lies within our regions, not between them. Mathews in Sacramento Bee 

Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash — Lawmakers are seeking budget solutions amid a superheated political climate as the wildland fires now raging across California, Washington and other Western states burn through federal dollars as well as forests. A new report warns the funding problem will worsen. Whether Congress rallies is another matter. McClatchy Newspapers article

Jobs and the Economy

Bakersfield home market seen as stable through first half of this year – Bakersfield’s single-family home market “demonstrated a great deal of stability” during the first half of this year as compared with the same period a year before, local appraiser Gary Crabtree said in a news release. Bakersfield Californian article

Report: Valley home prices jumped in June — According to a new report from CoreLogic, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 6.5 percent in June compared with June 2014, representing 40 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally. In Fresno, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 4.4 percent in June compared with June 2014. The Business Journal article 

Visalia among state’s cheapest places for rentals – On average, Visalia is one of the cheapest places to rent an apartment in California, according to a study released Wednesday. Visalia Times-Delta article

Despite strong returns, California’s pension funds’ fiscal hole got deeper – With a new ballot proposal reigniting debate over government retirement benefits, the latest federal figures show California’s public pension debt in 2013 stood at $4,425 for every man, woman and child in the state, despite strong investment returns by public retirement funds. Sacramento Bee article

Applications for U.S. jobless aid rise to still low 270,000 – Slightly more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but their numbers remain near historic lows in a sign that the job market is healthy. AP article

Sacramento arena subsidy foes drop lawsuit; city can begin financing – Soundly defeated in court, three Sacramentans gave up their two-year legal crusade to overturn the city’s subsidy for the new Kings arena Wednesday, enabling the city to move quickly on financing its share of the downtown project. Sacramento Bee article 

LA reaches tentative labor deal with 20,000 city employees – City officials have reached a tentative contract agreement with the unions representing more than half Los Angeles’ civilian workforce, bringing within reach the conclusion to more than a year of tense bargaining and sharp rhetoric over public-employee pay. LA Times article 

‘Play at the Pump’ lottery tickets heading to more gas stations in Sacramento, state – A pilot program by the California Lottery in which gamblers can buy lottery tickets at gas pumps in the Sacramento area is being embraced by players, but the convenience raises concerns for an anti-gambling group. Sacramento Bee article 

LA hits the brakes on plan to allow Uber at LAX – The push to make Los Angeles International Airport the largest in the nation to allow Uber and Lyft has hit an obstacle at City Hall as the ride-hailing services battle with the powerful taxicab industry for influence. LA Times article 

Turlock farmers market flourishing on shady Main Street each Saturday – The switch to Saturday mornings on a shade-dappled section of brick-walk-lined Main Street has helped the Turlock Certified Farmers Market bloom, vendors and visitors say. Modesto Bee article 

Jennifer Muir: Transparency isn’t just for public employees – The general manager of the Orange County Employees Association writes, “In four California jurisdictions, including three in Orange County, elected officials have adopted variations on a program known as Civic Openness in Negotiations. In his column (“Union bills proliferate in Capitol,” July 21), Dan Walters falls into the same trap as officials in those places by failing to question the program’s narrow focus and how that misleads taxpayers.” Muir op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Boxer, Feinstein back plan to move homeless vets to VA campus – California’s two U.S. senators will propose legislation Thursday that would move some of the thousands of veterans living in makeshift encampments across the region into housing at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ campus in West Los Angeles. LA Times article

EEOC sues Tulare’s Magnolia Health for alleged disability discrimination – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against the Tulare-based Magnolia Health Corporation and its six affiliates on Wednesday for alleged systematic discrimination against job applicants and employees with disabilities. Fresno Bee article

Netflix’s unlimited maternity and paternity draws envy among soon-to-be parents — Netflix’s announcement of unlimited maternity and paternity leave is drawing the attention of soon-to-be moms and dads in an industry that’s seen as unfriendly to families. San Francisco Chronicle article

LA will transfer airport ownership back to Ontario — After years of litigation and contentious negotiations, Los Angeles has agreed to transfer ownership of struggling LA/Ontario International Airport back to the city of Ontario, The Times learned Wednesday. LA Times article

Stockton business icon dies at 93 — Herb Bowman, a Stockton native who founded and owned an accounting firm here for more than 65 years, has died. He was 93. Stockton Record article


Bakersfield’s residents succeed in making deep cuts in water use, but more needed – City officials continue to be encouraged by dramatic reductions in water usage by customers of Bakersfield’s municipal water system. However, while the cuts in local water use have been deep by any standard, they aren’t quite deep enough to meet state requirements. Bakersfield Californian article 

Modesto reports 2nd month of solid water savings – Modesto is reporting a second solid month of saving water. Water Systems Manager Dave Savidge said the city reduced its water use 32.4 percent in July. That follows a 34.1 percent reduction in June. The savings are based on comparing water use with the same month in 2013. Modesto Bee article 

Another milestone achieved for north Valley recycled water project – In a county where every drop of water seems precious, a project to repurpose treated wastewater has cleared an environmental hurdle. Officials gathered Wednesday at the Delta-Mendota Canal near Patterson to mark the latest milestone of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program. State-required environmental studies have been certified, moving the program fairly close to design and construction. Modesto Bee article

Orth announced as leader for new water authority — Longtime Valley water leader David Orth will head the newly formed North Friant Authority, starting Aug. 17, the organization announced this week.Fresno Bee article

Visalia, Tulare approve joining Joint Power Authority – The county’s two largest cities have already agreed to form the Mid-Kaweah Groundwater Sub-basin Joint Powers Authority, which will serve as the agency to monitor local compliance with the state’s mandate to reduce water management. Visalia Times-Delta article

Hospitals look for ways to cut water use – Hospitals are among the highest water users in communities, but have a lot of potential to help California fight its ongoing drought, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. LA Times article

Madera County supervisors provide Fairmead a loan for well repairs — Fairmead, a community a few miles outside of Chowchilla, was granted an emergency loan by the Madera County Board of Supervisors last month. In January Fairmead’s only water well failed and required multiple repairs to the structure’s casing, motor and pump. The well’s failure also caused water to be hauled into the district. There are 1,502 people in Fairmead and the well has more than 260 connections. Merced Sun-Star article 

Receding lake reveal pieces of California’s past – The Lakeview Motel’s name is false advertising these dry days. The same thing is true for the Paradise Cove Lodge down California 178. That’s because the water level in man-made Lake Isabella has dropped about 59 feet since the last big wet year in 2011. There are 32,632 acre-feet of water in the lake — 5.8 % of the lake’s capacity, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. LA Times article

USDA to hold milk hearings next month in Clovis — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday the agency will hold a hearing in Clovis next month to consider the creation of a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for California. The Business Journal article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Fresno murder victim’s gender identity a source of conflict — Haggard’s July 23 death illuminates issues involving violent crimes against transgender people. Advocates say those in the early stages of transitioning are likely to keep their identities secret for fear of rejection. When they are victimized, police might not acknowledge their true identities, which makes it hard to track violence against transgender people. Fresno Bee article

After years of scandal, LA jails get federal oversight, sweeping reforms – Capping years of scandal, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to federal oversight and to sweeping reforms aimed at ending deputy abuse of inmates as well as improving chronically poor treatment for mentally ill inmates. LA Times article; New York Times article

Forest Service closes Piute Mountain trails as manhunt for murder suspect continues – All trails and roads leading into the Piute Mountain area have been closed until further notice as authorities continue to search for a man accused of killing a retired dentist and wounding two Kern County sheriff’s deputies. Bakersfield Californian article

Police review video of Northern California officer pulling gun on man recording him – A Northern California police department is reviewing a video showing one of its officers pulling a gun on a man who was recording him on his cellphone. The video, posted on YouTube, shows a Rohnert Park Public Safety officer driving toward Don McComas as he’s filming. LA Times article

Letter-writer reprimanded, back on the job – A police lieutenant who penned a controversial letter to the editor of The Record regarding same-sex marriage has returned to work at the Stockton Police Department. Stockton Record article 

Half of blacks say police have treated them unfairly because of race – A majority of blacks in the United States – more than 3 out of 5 – say they or a family member have personal experience with being treated unfairly by the police, and their race is the reason. AP article 

Brian Hill: Education is the key to success after prison – The founder and CEO of Edovo writes, “I am thrilled to see this window of opportunity opened again through the return of Pell Grants, and I am excited to see how technology can help in reaching more inmates. My father is retiring soon and may not make it back to teaching in prison, but I hope last week’s announcement makes it possible for me to rekindle his spirit of change and education at Folsom prison and nationwide.” Hill op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Former California prisons director Cal Terhune dies — A memorial gathering will be held Aug. 14 for Cal Terhune, a veteran state corrections official who died Friday. He was 86. Terhune, who spent 35 years in the California Department of the Youth Authority, serving as director of the agency until his retirement in 1991, returned to state service in 1997 at the behest of then-Gov. Pete Wilson to head the state prison system, which was plagued by overcrowding and allegations of correctional officer brutality. Sacramento Bee article


State labor board issues complaint in charter school unionization effort – California’s labor oversight board has issued a complaint alleging that the largest charter school organization in Los Angeles interfered with the right of its teachers to unionize. LA Times article

UC Merced Connect: Professor wins Latino book award – UC Merced Professor Manuel M. Martín-Rodríguez recently won a 2015 International Latino Book Award for “With a Book in Their Hands: Chicano/a Readers and Readerships,” which beat six other finalists in the category of Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star 

Atwater Elementary school board president resigns — The Atwater Elementary School District governing board hopes to appoint a new trustee for Area 2 after the school board’s president announced his resignation earlier this monthAug. 1. Joe Hoffar, the Area 2 trustee elected in 2012, resigned because he is moving to McSwain. Merced Sun-Star article

Pasadena City College must restore winter session — Pasadena City College officials acted illegally when they canceled the school’s winter session three years ago and must restore the classes and pay faculty for any economic losses brought on by the change, according to a preliminary ruling by the Public Employment Relations Board. LA Times article

Libraries reach out to day care homes to help improve quality — Children typically come to the library to be read to, but Christina Roseli of the Placerville Library in California’s Gold Country is reversing that dynamic. Instead of the children going to the libraryshe is going to them, in a one-of-a-kind program in California. EdSource article 


No firefighter shortage despite state’s shrinking prison population – Of the more than 10,000 firefighters battling California wildfires right now, roughly 40 percent of them are criminals – inmates who participate in fire camps. There’s been some fear that the reduction in the state’s prison population might lead to a shortage of firefighters. But that fear hasn’t played out. Capital Public Radio report

Conditions along Rocky fire’s path contribute to ferocious flames – The Rocky fire in Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties stands out as one of the most ferocious blazes burning in California so far this year – so fierce it’s creating its own weather. On Wednesday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire was 30 percent contained. It had consumed 69,600 acres and destroyed 39 residences and 52 outbuildings. Fire officials said 13,118 people remain under evacuation orders. Sacramento Bee article; KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article

Willow fire near North Fork 90 percent contained – The Willow fire burning near North Fork is now 90% contained and has burned 5,702 acres, fire officials said Wednesday. Fresno Bee article 

Cabin fire continues to burn – The Cabin Fire continued to burn on Wednesday in the Sequoia National Forest, northeast of Camp Nelsen. But how much it had grown wasn’t immediately clear. Visalia Times-Delta article

California meets drought-fueled fire season with extra crews – The firefighters come from near and far, working 24-hour shifts to snuff out an unpredictable blaze that has burned more than 100 square miles in Northern California near a major recreational lake. AP article

San Francisco’s climate could become more like San Diego’s with climate change – Will San Francisco residents be cranking up their house heaters less frequently in the future? A new study looking at how Americans will heat and cool their homes over a half-century down the road found the city could experience warmer temperatures throughout the year, creating a climate similar to San Diego and leading to less need for indoor heaters and a necessity for air-conditioning. San Francisco Chronicle article 

FAA plan to cut weather-watchers at Fresno Yosemite airport on hold – A plan by the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down weather observation offices atFresno Yosemite International Airport and 56 other airports around the U.S. appears to be on hold. Fresno Bee article 

Refugio oil spill may have been costlier, bigger than projected – A Plains All American Pipeline oil spill off the Santa Barbara County coast this year may have been bigger and costlier than originally expected, the company said in its quarterly earnings update Wednesday. LA Times article

Judge says Edison engaged in illegal communication with PUC – A state administrative judge ruled Wednesday that Southern California Edison engaged in unreported, illegal communication regarding the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant for more than a year and now faces as much as $34 million in penalties. LA Times article 

California bans trapping of bobcats amid protests over cruelty — The California Fish & Game Commission on Wednesday approved a statewide ban on bobcat trapping. The 3-2 vote caps years of debate on trapping, which animal rights activists say is cruel. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Survey: California slipping on anti-tobacco policies to fight cancer – Once a national leader in anti-tobacco efforts, California is slipping in some key measures, including its low cigarette tax, according to an annual ranking of cancer-fighting policies in all 50 states, released Thursday by the American Cancer Society. Sacramento Bee article 

Merced County hospitals hit with Medicare readmission penalties – Nearly two-thirds of California’s hospitals will receive less money than usual from Medicare this fall as a penalty for failing to reduce patient readmissions, according to the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid. In the state, 224 hospitals will be penalized, including Mercy Medical Center in Merced, operated by Dignity Health, and Sutter’s Memorial Hospital in Los Banos. Merced Sun-Star article

Ana Ibarra: August is Valley Fever Awareness Month – August is Valley Fever Awareness Month and the California Department of Public Health is reminding residents that the infectious disease is an ongoing concern in the state. Valley Fever affects hundreds to thousands of people each year, and the highest rates are reported in the Central Valley region, including Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, the department said. Ibarra in Merced Sun-Star

Land Use/Housing

Witness in Amberton wall trial changes testimony from deposition — The plaintiffs rested Wednesday morning in Bakersfield’s Amberton wall case, but not before their last witness contradicted his deposition, admitting to removing a pole restricting a walkway between Amberton and Stockdale Estates from motorcycle, moped and all-terrain vehicle traffic. Bakersfield Californian article

Hanford to consider tattoo parlors — For many years, Hanford’s zoning code has made it difficult for tattoo shops to open within the city limits. The City Council held a study session Tuesday to explore the possibility of allowing the body art facilities to open their doors downtown. Several council members said they would support such a change, while others felt tattoo parlors don’t belong downtown.Hanford Sentinel article


Hanford council nixes rail station planning grant — By a 3-to-2 vote, the Hanford City Council turned down a chance to secure a matching grant to begin planning for a regional high-speed rail station.Hanford Sentinel article

Other areas

Madera County changes pit bull policy after petition drive – Under fire from a petition that sought the firing of Madera County’s animal control director, the county animal shelter has changed its policy on adoption of pit bulls. Fresno Bee article

Code of ethics prompts debate before approval – San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliott on Tuesday said a proposal to adopt a code of ethics was too restrictive, and that more work and input from his fellow supervisors was required. Despite his objections, the board approved its code of ethics by a vote of 3-2, with Supervisor Carlos Villapudua agreeing that more discussion was needed to consider the document. Stockton Record article 

Honor Flight to get $10,000 donation from Livingston 4th of July group — The Livingston 4th of July Committee planned to donate $10,000 to the Central Valley Honor Flight during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a month after having one of its most successful events. Merced Sun-Star article

Assessor appointment postponed after stalemate – After a lengthy meeting that lasted until late Tuesday night, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors put off its appointment of a new assessor-recorder-county clerk to Sept. 15. The supervisors interviewed five finalists — selected from 39 applicants — and voted three times to appoint a replacement. Each vote resulted in a tie, resulting in supervisors postponing further discussion. Stockton Record article 

Feral cats tackle rodent problem through Sacramento County program — Ragnar and Alice are the keepers of Camp Pollock. They patrol the grounds, track down rodents at dusk and relax in patchy grass underneath trees during the day. They are affectionate with their owners, Elizabeth and Matt Gaylord, but these feral cats are considered unadoptable. They were given a new home through Sacramento County’sBradshaw Animal Shelter, which offers free feral cats, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and GPS-chipped, to businesses, barns, families and farms with rodent issues. Sacramento Bee article 

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Republican leaders in Congress, many of whom have parched public land in their districts, should see this crisis for the new normal that it is, and rise to the occasion. The firefighters on the line are flesh and blood facing a colossus, and deserve no less. 

Merced Sun-Star – The actual election is 460 days away on Nov. 8, 2016. Between now and then, the debates will become more somber, more predictable, more boring. So tonight, we might as well enjoy the show.

Modesto Bee – The actual election is 460 days away on Nov. 8, 2016. Between now and then, the debates will become more somber, more predictable, more boring. So tonight, we might as well enjoy the show.

Sacramento Bee – A defiant President Barack Obama delivered his most detailed defense yet of the Iran nuclear weapons deal on Wednesday, warning that its demise would put America on the path to another war in the Middle East; Jon Stewart signs off, and we’re poorer for it.

Upcoming Events 

  • The Better Blackstone Association will hold a street festival, “Come Imagine the Possibilities for Blackstone …,” on Friday, Aug. 7, at the Susan B. Anthony school parking lot in Fresno from 5-8 p.m. More information: Call (559) 485-1416 or email
  • “Unlocking Renewables: A Summit,” which will explore the clean energy potential in the San Joaquin Valley, will be held at Fresno State on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Featured speakers include state Sen. Anthony Cannella and Ken Alex, senior policy advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown and director of the Office of Planning and Research. More information:
  • West Hills Community College District will hold an event, “Shifting Ground — Adapting the San Joaquin Valley Economy to a Changing Climate,” on Oct. 8 at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Senior leaders from business, agriculture, government agencies and nonprofits will gather to launch immediate actions and provide near-term guidance to create next generation jobs in a region battered by drought and struggling with multiple challenges. for details of this no-fee policy series.


Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge

Next 10: Federal budget challengeThe Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.  Next 10 Federal Budget challenge at

Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone?  Next 10 California Water Challenge 

LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link.

Maddy Institute Updates List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials – The Maddy Institute has updated its list of San Joaquin Valley elected officials.  The list is available here.

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

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

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