Bakersfield Mayor Hall won’t seek fifth term — Mayor Harvey L. Hall, the longest-serving mayor in Bakersfield city history, announced Tuesday he will not seek a fifth term later this year. Bakersfield Californian article
Relaxed rules now govern political yard signs in Fresno — It’s quite possible that former Fresno City Council Member Jerry Duncan had the city’s first political sign up in his front yard. Trailblazers, it seems, often become lab rats, and Duncan is no exception. At issue: Just what are the rules governing political signs in the city of Fresno? Fresno Bee article
A carbon tax Jerry Brown thinks could have potential — Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said a tax on carbon dioxide emissions has potential and suggested he was open to the idea. The Democratic governor, a fiscal moderate but longtime champion of environmental causes, noted support among some conservatives for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, in which proceeds are not held by the government. Sacramento Bee article
Stockton Mayor Silva still delinquent on filing campaign finance forms – More than two weeks after the filing deadline, Mayor Anthony Silva remains delinquent on his required campaign finance disclosure form, City Clerk Bonnie Paige’s office confirmed late Tuesday afternoon. Stockton Record article
Ken Mettler: Kevin McCarthy has no principles – The independent businessman writes, “Kevin McCarthy continues to confirm that he has no core set of principles. He is a former used car salesman turned taxpayer-paid politician, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. He is known in Washington, DC, as a political wheeler and dealer and not as a principled conservative.” Mettler op-ed in Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield councilman Rivera accepts oil industry job directing regulatory affairs — Bakersfield City Councilman Willie Rivera has accepted a position as the first-ever director of regulatory affairs for the California Independent Petroleum Association, one of the state’s most influential oil trade groups. The hire CIPA announced Tuesday will put the 25-year-old in charge of managing the group’s relationships with local and regional regulators dealing with matters as sensitive as injection disposal and irrigation reuse of the salty “produced water” that comes up from the ground with crude. Bakersfield Californian article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
Kamala Harris: ‘I do not wish to be considered’ for Supreme Court – California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday doused speculation that she may be on President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, saying during a campaign event at a San Jose union hall that while she is flattered to have her name mentioned, she has no interest. LA Times article; KQED report
CA Fwd: Say yes to legislative transparency — California Forward has been in existence for nearly a decade and during that time we’ve talked with people around the state about how to improve and reform our state government. There have been a number of good ideas that have been expressed, but few of them have more support than what is called the 72-hour in print rule. That is why CA Fwd is announcing its support of an effort to place the California Legislature Transparency Act on the November ballot. CA Fwd website
San Bernardino Shootings
Apple to oppose order to help FBI unlock phone belonging to San Bernardino shooter — Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said his company will resist a federal judge’s order to access encrypted data hidden on a cellphone that belonged to the terrorist couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year. LA Times article; AP article; New York Times article
Lawmakers want disclosure of Coastal Commission lobbying – Interest groups seeking to influence members of the California Coastal Commission would have to disclose the use and payment of professional lobbyists under legislation introduced at the state Capitol on Tuesday. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article
Steve Lopez: Coastal Commission needs a bigger overhaul than one sought by lawmakers – One step forward, one step back. That’s how I’m summing up two developments involving the California Coastal Commission, which staged a clinic last week on how to insult coastal stewards, ignore the public and do its dirty work behind closed doors. Lopez column in LA Times
California Counts: What makes a person vote (or not)? – Like coffee and scotch, voting seems to be an acquired taste. Take Meadowview, a working-class neighborhood in southern Sacramento. It’s mostly single-family homes, a lot of concrete and no grocery stores. Capital Public Radio report
San Francisco D.A. Gascon, FBI launch corruption task force – The San Francisco district attorney’s office is teaming up with the FBI to investigate public corruption in the wake of the sprawling, multiyear federal probe that snared former state Sen. Leland Yee, Chinatown crime boss Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and others. San Francisco Chronicle article; KQED report
Dan Walters: Two states, two issues, one tycoon – Head-shaking oddities abound in politics, but the interplay among billionaire Warren Buffett and politicians in two states is one for the books. Walters column in Sacramento Bee
Capitol Weekly Podcast — Capitol Weekly’s John Howard sits down with Scott Lay of the Nooner to chat about politics this week, with a look at the upcoming primaries in Nevada and South Carolina and what impact the death of Justice Antonin Scalia may have on the presidential race. Capitol Weekly Podcast
New bill would require doctors on probation to disclose offenses — New state legislation introduced last week would require doctors on probation to inform patients about serious offenses such as excessive prescribing, sexual misconduct and drug or alcohol abuse. Sacramento Bee article
Sacramento Bee: California is adult in the room amid childishness over bathrooms — AB 1732 would require any single-stall toilet inside of a business, government building or other public space to be identified “all-gender.” There are no restrictions on what the sign should look like to convey that. There is no reason this bill shouldn’t pass. There are few greater equalizers than the call of nature. We all deserve equal access. Sacramento Bee editorial
California Government Today:
Risks rising for cost increases on high-speed rail construction — The prospect of higher-than-expected costs for high-speed rail construction in Fresno and Madera counties is prompting the California High-Speed Rail Authority to consider a big change in its allowance for potential cost overruns. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article
Sierra snowpack at 99 percent of normal with more powder on the way – The weather, up to its usual surprises, brought summer sunshine to the Bay Area this week in the dead of winter at the same time that Sierra snowpack figures for Northern California were measured and found to be practically normal. San Francisco Chronicle article
Jobs and the Economy
164 workers to be laid off as Odwalla closes Dinuba plant – Soft-drink giant Coca-Cola began issuing layoff notices Tuesday to workers at its Odwalla Inc. juice production plant in Dinuba as it prepares to close the facility in April. As many as 164 regular full-time employees could be affected by the closure, according to aplant-closure notice filed Tuesday with the city of Dinuba, Tulare County and the state Employment Development Department. Fresno Bee article
Resurgent economy boosts Stockton hotels – Stockton’s hotel industry grew as fast or faster last year than anyplace else in California, local and state tourism officials reported. Stockton Record article
Spending on outreach considered for Stanislaus transportation tax – Officials on Wednesday will consider spending $450,000 of public money to help people understand a Stanislaus County-wide transportation tax on the November ballot and on associated environmental studies. Modesto Bee article
Group hopes to change Fresno’s food economy – Hundreds of different food crops are raised in and around Fresno County. But many of those who live and work nearby have little access to the fruits of their own landscape. In fact, more people go hungry here in the Fresno metropolitan area than almost anywhere else in the entire nation. It’s this not-so-modest problem that Food Commons Fresno wants to solve — starting with their Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) brand, OOOOBY. KVPR report
Lawsuit against Tejon Ranch alleges wage theft, harassment, discrimination — A lawsuit filed against Tejon Ranch Co., at 270,000 acres one of the largest pieces of private property in the U.S., alleges company officials including the president and human resources director engaged in wage theft, discrimination, harassment and a pattern of “terminating careers or making jobs so miserable that people are forced to quit.” Bakersfield Californian article
Gary Soiseth: Turlock farmers market will continue, better than ever – Turlock’s mayor writes, “While there might seem to be insurmountable differences among interested market operators, I’m convinced their philosophies aren’t incompatible. In fact, I believe they still have time to move from their respective corners and come together for the betterment of Turlock.” Soiseth op-ed in Modesto Bee
AgFest and San Joaquin County Fair officials in conflict – Amid the celebration that the San Joaquin County Fair will make a return following a two-year hiatus this summer, one parent who volunteers with an organization that participated in the event is crying foul. Stockton Record article
Casino proposed for southern Sacramento County prompts hopes, concerns – A proposal to build Sacramento County’s first tribal casino is stirring up a debate that started when the state’s first American Indian bingo parlors opened in the 1980s: Will a new casino benefit the larger community or mainly enrich the tribe that runs it? Sacramento Bee article
Where capital gains tax slows home sales and drives up prices – Real estate agents say the fear of capital gains tax is preventing many homeowners with huge gains from selling. Even if you have no sympathy for these folks, they are one of the reasons for the low inventory of homes for sale, which is helping drive up prices. In San Francisco, the number of homes on the market in January has fallen every year since at least 2011, when it was 1,606. This January it was 584, according to Paragon Real Estate Group. San Francisco Chronicle article
Cheapest gas in California is in Modesto, Turlock – We’re No. 1! And, unlike some of the unflattering lists out there, this is a good one for most folks. According to the website Californiagasprices.com, the cheapest place to buy gas in California is in the Turlock and Modesto area. Modesto Bee article
Aerojet reports lower fourth-quarter profits – Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. reported a drop in fourth-quarter profits Tuesday despite higher revenue. The Rancho Cordova rocket-engine maker said fourth-quarter profits dipped to $7.7 million from $11.9 million. Per-share earnings fell to 12 cents from 20 cents a year earlier. Sacramento Bee article
California’s energy law driving need for bigger HVAC workforce — If you are a California millennial wondering what to do with your life and you’re into mechanical things, you should go learn about HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning). A meeting of industry, labor and community college leaders in Irwindale heard on Friday that there’s an immediate need for 1,200 workers in California, half of those in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. And, there aren’t nearly enough qualified workers in the pipeline to fill the need. On top of that, this situation isn’t a one-time workforce challenge—not nearly. California Economic Summit website
The man who honed California’s civil service laws — Retired Judge Loren McMaster died last Thursday at age 71 after a long illness and a storied legal career. But his impact is largely unknown outside the law and labor communities, even though his work has affected every California government employee for the last 41 years. Sacramento Bee article
No running water and no solutions as California’s driest county despairs — With the nation’s gaze riveted on a different disaster in Flint, Mich., where lead-contaminated water has caused a health emergency that threatens an entire city, East Porterville’s own crisis has been overshadowed. Washington Post article
Turlock Irrigation District plans to double water deliveries – Farmers got welcome news Tuesday night: The Turlock Irrigation District expects to at least double its deliveries compared with last year. Modesto Bee article
Valley’s 2015 raisin crop drops nearly 10 percent in price — A strong U.S. dollar, increased foreign competition and a larger domestic crop are contributing to a price decline of nearly 10 percent for California’s 2015 raisin crop. Raisin farmers will be receiving $1,600 a ton, down from the $1,775 a ton they received in 2014. Fresno Bee article
With U.S. sanctions lifted, why aren’t Iranian pistachios back? — Last year was a terrible season for the American pistachio industry. Warm temperatures and the lack of water resulted in a loss of almost half the crop, that’s around $2 billion less than 2014. This year the industry is hoping to recover, but as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports growers across the country may have a different issue later this year, a problem that stems from the lifting of sanctions against Iran. KVPR report
Jerry Dyer: Fresno police have never monitored any group’s social media postings – Fresno’s police chief writes, “My staff and I are very sensitive to privacy concerns, particularly pertaining to political and social activities. We have not and will not use social media monitoring to implement enforcement actions against legal activities, nor to target a group for on-going monitoring that is unrelated to any public safety issue.” Dyer op-ed in Fresno Bee
Storing body camera data is a struggle for law enforcement – Of the 18,000 state and local police departments in the U.S., about one-third of them are requiring officers to wear body-cameras. There is a problem with this large number. Where do the departments store all the footage? Bakersfield Californian article
Six-month probe nets major Fresno meth bust – Fresno police seized about 24 pounds of methamphetamine worth at least $200,000 during an undercover bust Tuesday morning, Chief Jerry Dyer announced. Fresno Bee article
LA County supervisors consider breaking up Probation Department — Los Angeles County supervisors have begun to publicly explore splitting the troubled county Probation Department into two agencies — one to oversee adults and one for juveniles. LA Times article
Cellmate suspected in inmate’s death at Tehachapi prison — An inmate at a Tehachapi prison died after being found unresponsive in his cell last week and his cellmate has been named a suspect in his death. Bakersfield Californian article
Rookie cop, part 2: At 46, Daniels returns to police force – The Stockton Police Department inched closer to 400 sworn officers Tuesday when Police Chief Eric Jones presented a badge to a 46-year-old rookie officer with a unique background. Stockton Record article
Lois Henry: Larger-than-life lawman deserves a marker — In the realm of larger-than-life lawmen, it doesn’t get much bigger than Harry W. Bludworth, a renowned “man tracker” with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department. You’ve never heard of him because he died in 1913. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian
CSU audit: Fresno State Lyles Center director received ‘questionable payment,’ had conflicts of interest – The director of Fresno State’s Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was accused of taking questionable payments and having several conflicts of interest with current and former business partners in an audit released Feb. 12. Fresno Bee article
Merced County Superintendent Steven Gomes announces early retirement – Steven Gomes, superintendent of schools for the Merced County Office of Education, will retire at the end of the calendar year, leaving his post as the county’s top education official two years before the end of his term. Merced Sun-Star article
Districts’ leaders anticipate higher math scores this year — As school districts around California gear up for the next round of testing on Common Core-aligned assessments, educators are hoping that students’ math scores will be higher than they were last year, when the tests were administered for the first time. EdSource article
10 million California student records about to be released to attorneys — California public-school records on about 10 million students — including their Social Security numbers — will soon be handed over to attorneys for a parent group suing the state, with both parties blaming the other for the impending release of private information. San Jose Mercury News article
Nan Austin: Pressure-cooker meetings have come with school districts’ budgeting freedom – For decades, schools in California had their spending basically laid out for them by the state. A makeover in school funding has freed district spending from those controls, and those fail-safes. Local control counts on communities tuning in and speaking up. Austin in Modesto Bee
Merced County rejects Winton high school charter school proposal — An embattled effort to create a charter high school in Winton, led by a man with a complicated background in education, will head to the state level in a last-ditch attempt to open the new school after its petition was rejected Tuesday by the Merced County Office of Education. Merced Sun-Star article
Calaveras nickname change coming — The process of selecting a new mascot to represent Calaveras High School is moving along, as another California high school has announced its decision to distance itself from the term “Redskins.” Stockton Record article
Series of earthquakes shake parts of Central California – A series of earthquakes that originated near Big Pine on the east side of the Sierra shook parts of Central California on Tuesday afternoon. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Hanford Sentinel article
Mention of global warming missing from states’ energy pact — California Gov. Jerry Brown may have found a way to get some of his Republican counterparts to sign on to the clean energy revolution — drop all mention of climate change. Brown and a bipartisan group of 16 other governors announced an agreement Tuesday to increase renewable power, integrate electricity grids across state lines and boost the number of cars running on alternatives fuels. San Francisco Chronicle article
Aliso Canyon gas leak exposes infrastructure vulnerabilities across country – Crews are within days of declaring that a leaking gas well in Aliso Canyon has been sealed, but the impact of the environmental disaster that began last fall will continue to be felt now that it has exposed how much work America has to do to protect itself from aging infrastructure, the U.S. Energy secretary said Tuesday in a visit to the San Fernando Valley. LA Times article
Massive public works project will help clean Sacramento River – Nearly a dozen sewage treatment plants dump wastewater into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta right now. Most treat water using the strictest standards possible under state law. The Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment plant does not. Improvements are underway to change that. The upgrade is the largest public works project in the region’s history. Capital Public Radio report
FEMA says Californians buy record number of flood policies – Federal emergency officials reported Tuesday a surge in the number of California residents who have purchased flood insurance, most likely in response to a rainy El Niño winter. AP article
Sacramento Bee: Oil train safety gets important boost – Officials in the Sacramento region have every right to raise safety concerns about oil trains rumbling through. Now they have key allies in their cause. Sacramento Bee editorial
Electrocution deaths spark new questions, legislation at CPUC — In 2011, Steven and Sharon Vego, along with their 21-year-old son, Jonathan Cole, were killed after a power line went down in their backyard in San Bernardino. Two years later, 28-year-old electrical worker Brandon Orozco waselectrocuted while working in an underground vault in Huntington Beach. KQED report
Intel campus in Folsom unveils sprawling solar power carport — Intel Corp. officials hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies Tuesday, marking the completion of a sprawling, 6.5-megawatt solar carport at Intel’s Folsom campus. The array is being billed as the largest corporate solar carport in the United States, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Energy Industries Association. Sacramento Bee article
California’s health exchange bent own rules in awarding big contracts — A new audit slams Covered California, the agency tasked with enrolling state residents in Obamacare, for not following rules when awarding lucrative contracts without a competitive-bidding process. Sacramento Bee article
Mobile clinics serve California’s growing homeless youth population — Dr. Seth Ammerman listens intently to his new patient. Ernesto, who does not want his last name disclosed, is homeless. Ernesto is earning a high school degree and working part time, but at night, he and his brother share a tent that they set up on San Jose streets. The daily stress of being homeless is wearing Ernesto out and making him light up too many cigarettes. KQED report
Sara Radcliffe: Legislators shouldn’t put hurdles in the way of cancer treatments – The president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Association writes, “By changing the way we think about the value of new cancer drugs and by making smart public policy decisions, we can all work to help make the moon shot a reality. Steps taken in Sacramento can have global implications in the fight against cancer. Let’s make sure the right steps are taken.” Radcliffe op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Southwest Fresno residents sue city over zoning for affordable housing — Residents of a low-income southwest Fresno neighborhood say the city has failed to identify land for affordable housing, denying residents of an opportunity to better housing, and they are suing the city to make it comply with state zoning laws. Fresno Bee article
Judge extends restraining order against Patterson councilwoman for two years – Stanislaus Superior Court Judge John Freeland granted a two-year extension on a restraining order that requires Patterson Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten to stay away from Councilman Dennis McCord. Modesto Bee article
Drones abound, raising fears of mid-air collisions — Some critics focus the blame on the companies that market drones for recreational use, which can sell from under $100 to $3,000 or more. These drones, like Ouyang’s device, can zoom to impressive altitudes but, the critics say, usually lack the navigation and communications systems and design quality needed to ensure safe flying. Capitol Weekly article
Valley Editorial Roundup
Fresno Bee – Past presidents couldn’t imagine Campaign ’16.
Sacramento Bee – AB 1732 would require any single-stall toilet inside of a business, government building or other public space to be identified “all-gender.” There are no restrictions on what the sign should look like to convey that. There is no reason this bill shouldn’t pass. There are few greater equalizers than the call of nature. We all deserve equal access; Officials in the Sacramento region have every right to raise safety concerns about oil trains rumbling through. Now they have key allies in their cause.
Sunday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Bad Apples: Blowing the Whistle on Improper Government Activities” – Guest: California State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Exposing Fraud, Waste and Abuse in State and Local Government” – Guests: Paul Hurley, former editorial page editor of the Visalia Times-Delta, and Bill McEwen, opinion page editor of the Fresno Bee. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, Feb. 21, at 7 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV)– El Informe Maddy Report: “Improper Activities” – Guest: Margarita Fernandez – Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the California State Auditor. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Deputy Director Ana Melendez.
The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel. Check http://www.calchannel.com to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area. You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at http://www.maddyinstitute.org/policy-analysis/the-maddy-report-tv.
- Fresno State President Joseph Castro and other university officials will hold a Community Conversation in the West Hills Community College conference facility, 555 College Ave., Lemoore on Tuesday, March 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.Seating for this free event is limited, so RSVPs should be made by February 26 at www.fresnostate.edu/presidentrsvp using the code “Lemooreforum.”
- The International Green Industry Hall of Fame will hold its sixth annual conference and induction ceremony at Buchanan High School in Clovis on March 9. Registration information is available here.
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 challenge — The 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 www.federalbudgetchallenge.org.
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. http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/
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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.
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