December 21, 2014


Receive the Maddy Daily in your inbox every morning! To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at

Political Briefs

Top stories

Immigrants build document trails to remain in U.S. Electricity bills. Speeding tickets. Dentist records. Money order receipts. The search for documents is on for immigrants who may qualify for a work permit and reprieve from deportation under measures President Barack Obama announced last month. Applicants must prove they were in the country continuously since Jan. 1, 2010 – a tall order for many accustomed to avoiding trails. For critics, conditions are ripe for fraud.  AP article

Dan Morain: Telegrams, typewriters vitriol and politics in the digital age – With no discernible drama, the Federal Election Commission last week voted to make Ann Ravel its new chairwoman. It was quite a change from the invective flung Ravel’s way in the two months since she floated the notion that the Federal Election Commission might want to revisit how it oversees campaigning on the newfangled thing called the Internet.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Mariel Garza: Where have all the Latinos gone? A statistical mystery in local politics – Although the neighborhoods that make up District 8 are strikingly diverse, by the numbers, this is a Latino district. According to the demographic figures used in the city’s 2011 redistricting process, about 30 percent of the residents are Latino. So, how is it that no Latino candidates were running in this race, and that there never has been a Latino representing the district? For that matter, why isn’t there any Latino representation on the City Council?  Garza column in Sacramento Bee

Oakland’s ‘Girl Scout Barracuda’ ready to lead the city – Libby Schaaf’s relentless enthusiasm for all things Oakland — from small-business owners like Ramos to its financial stability to the fate of its sports teams — has fueled Schaaf’s career since she entered Oakland’s public arena 20 years ago, and it helped her defeat incumbent Mayor Jean Quan by a landslide in November. She was a cheerleader at Skyline High in the early 1980s, and in some ways never stopped.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Protest blocks off southeast Fresno intersection – Various human rights organizations from different parts of the Central Valley blocked traffic Saturday at Kings Canyon and Chestnut avenues in southeast Fresno to protest several human rights issues, including recent police-involved shootings of suspects.  Fresno Bee article

Parties unite for congressional lawmakers’ farewell speeches — Along with acrimonious backroom deals, late-night hours and stale take-out dinners is another tradition of the final days of Congress: the goodbyes. This year’s farewell addresses offered an alternative view of the era of divided government — a fleeting glimpse of the odd alliances and friendships formed against the backdrop of the partisanship that usually defines Washington.  LA Times article

The slaying suspect has a famous name – with that matter? – A fight ends in the fatal stabbing of young Luis Santos. Among the accused is the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. The Santos family wonders if political influence will trump justice.  LA Times article

Donald W. Blount: A movie in bad taste not worth fighting about – Serious question: How would a comedy about a foreign government’s attempt to assassinate President Barack Obama, or any sitting U.S. president, go over? Maybe it would just pass without much notice. But given the climate worldwide, maybe folks here, particularly those in the government, would not be too happy. Actually, I think we would be quite offended. Now suppose that movie was made in North Korea or Russia and was scheduled for national and worldwide distribution?  Blount column in Stockton Record

Debra Saunders: The opposite of intelligence: Spy versus DiFi — The needle already was in the haystack. That essentially is the message embedded in the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA interrogations and detentions, approved without a single Republican vote and released by committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.  Saunders column in San Francisco Chronicle

Demographic shifts bring change to policies on Cuba, drugs, gay rights — Obama’s Cuba move rested on the fact that younger and in many cases non-Cuban voters, all of whom come at the issue from a completely different cultural perspective, are asserting their strength in Florida, the only state where the issue ever really commanded huge attention. The same sort of demographically driven acceptance of a position that would have been unthinkable a half-century ago has pushed the country toward acceptance of same-sex marriage. LA Times article

Victor Davis Hanson: Are drone strikes more defensible than torture? — There are lots of hypocrisies surrounding the recently released executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. But they pale in comparison to the current Democratic silence about President Barack Obama’s policy of targeted drone assassinations.  Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Briefs

Top Stories

Coming in 2015: A gas price increase that consumers may or may not notice — Drivers across the central San Joaquin Valley are enjoying an ongoing drop in the cost of gasoline, with fuel prices hitting levels not seen since 2009. In a few weeks, however, the price will go up — guaranteed. It’s all part of California’s effort to combat global climate change.  Fresno Bee article

Falling prices could mean Kern oilfield layoffs — Plummeting oil prices have raised the likelihood of sizable layoffs in Kern County’s petroleum industry early next year as producers facing sharply lower revenues scale back on drilling and other labor-intensive operations.  Bakersfield Californian article

Major progress cited in prison inmate care — Today, three federal judges in Northern California still call the shots on how inmate health care is handled and how many inmates the state can pack into its prisons. But a remarkable series of court decisions and compromises between the Brown administration and lawyers for the inmates during the past year have led to what the two sides agree is the most progress in many years in cooperation to change inmate care inside the nation’s largest corrections system. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Valley business year in review:  Water woes temper improvement in home prices, employment and new businesses – Home prices rose, unemployment fell, entrepreneurs gained confidence in opening new businesses or franchises, and almonds ascended to become the most valuable crop in Fresno County. All of these were indicators throughout 2014 that the Valley’s economy showed signs of growth and recovery from the effects of recession. Looming over it all, however, was the specter of the ongoing California drought, contributing to water shortages that threaten Valley agriculture.  Fresno Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: 2014’s silver lining:  downtown Stockton awoke – Downtown revival has been Stockton’s “Waiting for Godot,” a 50-year run of bad planning. But in 2014 Godot actually appeared. Stocktonians may have been so distracted by bankruptcy and crime that they missed the solid beginnings of downtown’s revival. If so, they missed the silver lining of 2014.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Mike Klocke: Downtown dreaming – I’ve worked in downtown Stockton for almost a quarter of a century. The area is so full of life and character, and it’s important for this city of 300,000 to embrace its center and take advantage of its waterfront, which, hopefully, won’t always be filled with hyacinth. I like where downtown Stockton is headed — once again.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Website reveals city and county workers wages and benefits – Transparency is a trendy topic when it comes to government spending, and curious taxpayers now can browse through fresh financial data regarding public worker pay. New details on wages and benefits for every city and county employee in California were posted on the state controller’s website last week, showing both what individual workers earned and what agencies paid on average in 2013.  Modesto Bee article

Sony Pictures hack fuels speculation about studio’s possible sale — Fallout from the crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has called into question exactly what the future holds for one of Hollywood’s biggest names.  LA Times article

Gallo survey finds fun attitudes toward wine — Wine purists, beware. We are about to sing the praises of wine in a box, of screw caps rather than corks, and of other affronts to tradition. E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto surveyed 1,001 wine drinkers in the United States and found that many, especially the younger crowd, have a relaxed approach to the subject.  Modesto Bee article

Darius Anderson: The chance to tap into Cuba’s marketplace – The founder and CEO of Kenwood Investments, California Opportunity Fund and Platinum Advisors writes, “I am pleased that the president has overcome the politics that dictated our failed U.S. foreign policy for more than 50 years and that he recognizes that the Cuban people need more access to American ideas and resources to prosper and bring real political and economic change to the island.” Anderson op-ed in Sacramento Bee


A first for Delta water pumping: Voluntary cutback to protect fish – On New Year’s Eve 2012, the Sierra had 140% of the normal December snowpack and rivers swelled with storm runoff. But strangely, a crippling reduction of water pumping had already begun in Northern California.  Flash forward to this week, and the same scenario was lining up again.  Fresno Bee article

Madera County water dispute settled; water bank financier gets money, purchase rights — Half a million dollars and the right to purchase water for 25 years from Madera Irrigation District was awarded to a water bank financier to settle a dispute. The dispute arose over a 2012 financial agreement regarding plans for the district’s new water bank, Madera Ranch.  Fresno Bee article

Karen Ross and Andy Souza:  Hunger in Fresno County – and how local farmers are helping – Ross, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, and Souza, president/CEO of Community Food Bank in Fresno, write, “Local farmers provide tremendous support to the Community Food Bank throughout the year. So far in 2014 local farmers have donated more than 12 million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, which the Community Food Bank has distributed to families here in the Valley.”  Ross/Souza op-ed in Fresno Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Californian Exclusive: Juror ‘could not see Bryan Oliver as a killer’ — Al Miller, along with 11 other jurors, listened to hours of testimony and digested mountains of evidence in the trial of school shooter Bryan Oliver. He found Oliver’s actions, while terrible and deserving of punishment, did not justify the attempted murder charges against him. And the teens who bullied Oliver, while wrong, also aren’t the main issue in this case.  Bakersfield Californian article

For drug crime defendants, sentencing can be a crapshoot – As 23 states have passed laws allowing medical marijuana and public opinion nationwide has swung in favor of legalization, federal agents have largely eased off the war on weed. In Colorado, where recreational cannabis is legal, businesses have sold many tons of it openly with no federal crackdown. But agents still come down hard on marijuana distributors they deem are working outside the system.  LA Times article

San Diego region has become hub of gang-controlled prostitution rings — With drugs and weapons becoming riskier business ventures because of more aggressive law enforcement, gangs have moved into prostitution. The money is easy and the Internet and social media have replaced streetwalking and red-light zones as an effective method of attracting johns, officials said.  U-T San Diego article

Sacramento Bee: A full accounting of people killed by police, at least — There are many apt adjectives that could be used to describe the current Congress, but “do-nothing” shouldn’t be one of them. Last week, it did something of actual significance by passing the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, authored by Virginia Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott.  Sacramento Bee editorial


Formula creates wide disparity in funds for disadvantaged students – California’s new Local Control Funding Formula for distributing education money to school districts represents a three-tier system of funding for students, including those classified by the state as “disadvantaged” — children from low-income families, English learners and foster children. But districts omitted from the third — and potentially lucrative — tier are none too pleased about it.  Fresno Bee article

Fresno Bee: Fresno Unified must make special education a priority – Clearly, the district hasn’t done nearly enough. It’s troubling that services for the most vulnerable students seem to be a low priority. Superintendent Michael Hanson and school board members must change this disturbing pattern. Our students deserve better than what they’ve been getting. Fresno Bee editorial

Fresno State gets grant to help promote biking and walking – Two Fresno State entities received a $40,000 environmental grant from the Fresno Regional Foundation that will be used to help communities recognize environmentally sound travel options.  Fresno Bee article

Sacramento State to send first class of doctoral physical therapy students into booming job field – The soon-to-be grads have ample job opportunities ahead of them, said Ed Barakatt, director of the department of physical therapy at Sacramento State. Physical therapy is among the nation’s fastest growing fields, with a projected employment increase of 36 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  Sacramento Bee article

Comedian Bill Maher speaks amid handful of protestors at UC Berkeley commencement — Outspoken talk-show host Bill Maher appeared Saturday at UC Berkeley’s December graduation, greeted by loud cheers from the audience and a handful of silent demonstrators protesting the comedian’s statements about Islam.  Contra Costa Times article


‘Wild’ fish make a comeback in Putah Creek — Putah Creek, an often-muddy stream that meanders through Yolo County, has been through a lot in the past 150 years. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

Sacramento Bee: E-cigarette boom among teens more than Feds’ fault — If municipalities can crack down on e-cigarettes, and they have, surely state government can summon the courage to do more than blow smoke when it comes to kids’ health.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Merced County HSA receives national adoption award — Merced County’s adoption program received a prestigious national award for excellence, making huge strides from where the program stood three years ago.  Merced Sun-Star article


Lewis Griswold: Visalia airport gets new airline – Visalia Municipal Airport is getting a new airline to replace the current carrier. SeaPort Airlines, based in Portland, Oregon, has been awarded the Essential Air Service contract for Visalia by the Department of Transportation. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Chinese firm for Bay Bridge produced flaws in another huge project – This is a tale of two projects. One – the $6.5 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – is the largest public works project in state history. (More specifically, its $2 billion suspension-span segment.) The other – the $1.8 billion Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea off Suffolk, England – is one of the world’s biggest wind-energy projects.  Sacramento Bee article

Other Areas

Lois Henry: Is Kern shelter really worth an extra $2 million? — Only in government would your workload be cut by half but not your budget or number of employees. Specifically, I’m talking about the shelter operations of the Kern County Animal Services Department.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – E-cigarettes boom among teenagers while lawmakers fail to act; Fresno Unified must make special education a priority.

Sacramento Bee – If municipalities can crack down on e-cigarettes, and they have, surely state government can summon the courage to do more than blow smoke when it comes to kids’ health; There are many apt adjectives that could be used to describe the current Congress, but “do-nothing” shouldn’t be one of them. Last week, it did something of actual significance by passing the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, authored by Virginia Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott.