February 20, 2020



$56,000 Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowships 

Deadline Fast Approaching!  (Feb. 28)

The Maddy Institute

Through the generosity of The Wonderful Company, San Joaquin Valley students will have the opportunity to become the next generation of Valley leaders through​​ The Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship. This program helps students obtain an advanced degree from a top graduate program, return home, and apply what they have learned to help make the Valley a better place. 

North SJ Valley:


GOP candidate says he lives in Turlock. Opponent and some neighbors say something else

Modesto Bee

An opponent of Congressional District 10 candidate Ted Howze is questioning whether he lives in the district as he stated during a recent candidates debate.

New​​ agreement between Merced College, Stanislaus State aims to boost transfer students

Merced Sun-Star

Merced College and Stanislaus State leaders will meet Friday to sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at helping to facilitate more transfer students from the community college to the state university. 


Flu death toll quietly soared to 328 in California as coronavirus fears gripped U.S.

Modesto Bee

While Americans have been transfixed by concerns about the potential spread of new coronavirus in the United States, a growing number of U.S. citizens have been dying as a result of the seasonal influenza epidemic.


Central SJ Valley:


Borgeas Calls for CEQA Reform After Newsom's Homelessness Address

GV Wire

State Sen. Andreas Borgeas lauded Gov. Gavin Newsom for focusing on homelessness and housing affordability in his State of the State address Wednesday.


Opinion: Devin Nunes banned his local newspaper from a public event. Why is he so scared? 

Fresno Bee

Rep. Devin Nunes’ war against the free press reached a new low on Tuesday when he barred The Fresno Bee from covering a major water forum in Tulare. 

See also:


South SJ Valley:

Trump delivers water promise to San Joaquin Valley. That’s not how Newsom sees it

Fresno Bee

Thousands of people stood in line at Meadows Field Airport and packed a private hangar for President Donald Trump’s visit Wednesday where he said he’s fulfilling his promise to deliver much-needed water for San Joaquin Valley farmers.

See also:


Assemblyman Fong calls on Newsom to provide water supply to the central valley


After President Trump concluded his water announcement, Assemblyman Vince Fong responded by calling on Gov. Newsom to provide water supplies in the central valley.

Group protesting Trump dwarfed by numbers of supporters, but make their presence known

Bakersfield Californian

About 30 people carrying picket signs and chanting slogans gathered near Meadows Field Airport on Wednesday afternoon to protest during President Donald Trump’s brief stop in Bakersfield.

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McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu resigns following Planning Commission vote

Bakersfield Californian

After nine years, McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr. has submitted his letter of resignation, saying he does not think he can help lead the city in the direction he sees it heading.

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Gavin Newsom devotes his State of the State to homelessness — ‘No person is untouched’

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom called California’s growing homeless population “the most pernicious crisis in our midst” during his second State of the State address Wednesday, vowing to help communities get people off the streets and into stable housing.

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California Focus: Impeachment role makes Schiff a top California prospect

Hanford Sentinel

It’s been clear for several years, that U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff would love to run for the U.S. Senate. So would California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, best known as a constant irritant for President Trump, and several others.


The New Thing For California Politicians? Sweet Charity

Capital Public Radio

The number of nonprofits affiliated with California legislators or caucuses grew from at least three in 2010 to at least 12 last year, with total revenue of about $2.9 million.


California Made It Easier For Voters To Switch Parties, But Retraining Election Staff Could Pose Challenges

Capital Public Radio

County election officials say they support the new law, but they acknowledge they may be hiccups.


Get Ready for Another Consumer Privacy Initiative in CaliforniaI


As of January, you can demand that any company detail what information it collects about you, tell it to stop selling that information to other companies, or even delete the data altogether.



Pentagon's No. 3 official resigns at Trump's request, but unclear why


The Pentagon's number three official resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump.


Trump taps loyalist and envoy Richard Grenell as nation’s top intelligence official

Los Angeles Times

President Trump on Wednesday named Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, as acting director of national intelligence, putting a staunch ally in charge of the nation’s 17 spy agencies.


Trump proposes eliminating federal funding for PBS, NPR

The Hill

President Trump's newly proposed budget includes a proposal to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), part of a package that includes $300 billion in new spending overall.

Elections 2020:

2020 Democrats pile on Michael Bloomberg at free-for-all debate in Nevada

Fresno Bee

The six presidential contenders at Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas attacked one another with more frequency and more ferocity than in all previous eighth debates combined, as the primary enters a critical phase just days before the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. 

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Sanders Suggests He Won’t Release Full Medical Records

New York Times

After he had a heart attack in October, Bernie Sanders said he would release ‘comprehensive’ medical records. But he has not done so.

Here's the Medicare-for-all study Bernie Sanders keeps bringing up​​ Washington Post


Analysis: Bloomberg bombs in debate debut


During Bloomberg’s debut on the Democratic debate stage, the former New York mayor fielded attacks from every candidate over his past embrace of Republicans, ardent defense of capitalism and stop-and-frisk policing tactics.

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CA120: Confusion for independents hoping to vote Democratic

Capitol Weekly

Only 9% of California’s growing independent and vote-by-mail population have successfully obtained a partisan presidential primary ballot.


Trump campaign hires alum of controversial data company


President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, a move likely to raise alarms among Trump critics and data privacy advocates who worry the president will push the technological envelope to get reelected in 2020.

Harry Reid: Brokered convention 'not the end of the world’

AP News

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday said it was possible the crowded Democratic primary race was headed toward a contentious convention fight and downplayed the political dangers of a scenario many party leaders are dreading.



Hunting meshes surprisingly well with California’s progressive values. And now it’s fading away

Sacramento Bee

The growth of cities and changing attitudes about the outdoors and animal rights have caused the “sport” of hunting to dwindle across the country. We know from hunting regulators all over the U.S. that the demand for hunting licenses has fallen dramatically. 


Polls: Most people still think census will ask about citizenship

Roll Call

Most people incorrectly believe the census will include a citizenship question, according to a pair of surveys released Thursday, adding to concerns raised by advocates that fear over the question may depress participation in the decennial count.



Sunday, February 23, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 –​​ Maddy Report:​​ California’s Legislation in Review: 2019​​ - Guests:​​ Dan Walters with CALmatters and John Myers with Los Angeles​​ Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, February 23, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) –​​ Maddy Report - Valley Views Edition: Who are the Key Valley Influencers?​​ - Guests: Robert Price, Bakersfield Californian; Paul Hurley, formerly with Visalia Times Delta & now with the College of the Sequoias; Joe Keita, Fresno & Modesto Bee; and Nate Monroe, UC Merced. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, February 23, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) –​​ El Informe Maddy: Immigration: Dreaming in a Sanctuary State​​ - Guests: Joe Hayes, Investigator PPIC and Liam Dillon with LA Times. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.




Kern County Fair 2020 poultry show canceled

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Fair has extended the cancellation of the poultry show and live poultry exhibits in place at the 2019 event to the 2020 Kern County Fair.


Agriculture groups want to tackle climate change, but won’t call it that

Roll Call

The coalition said it wants a seat at the table as Congress focuses on climate change, but largely avoided using that term Wednesday


California Farm Bureau Federation will fight 'split-roll' ballot measure


The state’s largest agricultural organization will oppose a proposed “split-roll” ballot measure that would increase commercial property taxes, saying it will cost farmers and consumers billions by mandating costly reassessments for California barns, wineries and processing plants. 

Opinion: Recent decision by Starbucks shows the dairy industry must adapt to today’s marketplace

Fresno Bee

Starbucks recently stated on a global level that it will start steering away from dairy as the coffee company moves toward alternative choices due to environmental concerns. I have to wonder if that decision is as noble as it sounds or if it’s really a money grab for Starbucks.





Neighborhood residents calling for improved safety after NW Fresno shooting


The shooting happened in Councilmember Mike Karbassi's district. Police say they will step patrols in an area where neighbors say loitering has been a problem. Karbassi's now exploring a way to improve safety. That could include surveillance cameras.


Fresno bomb squad says possible IED was dummy device


The Fresno Police bomb squad was at a storage unit near the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport, investigating a device that turned out to not be an IED.


Los Angeles County eliminates criminal fees. Will California follow?


Los Angeles County will stop billing people millions of dollars a year for the costs of their incarceration in an effort to lighten the financial burden on former inmates. The county is the fourth in California to eliminate the fees. 

Walters: A strange bedfellows alliance on bail


The measure, one of several criminal justice reforms championed by Brown during his second governorship, would eliminate cash bail for those accused of crimes in favor of a new “risk assessment” program.


Public Safety:


Forest Service Seeks Input on OHV Grant Application

Sierra News

The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) application requests funding for off-highway vehicle related law enforcement. 

Legal marijuana use still costs people jobs. A new California bill takes on the issue

Los Angeles Times

Now, a spike in the number of job applicants disqualified by state agencies after failing tests for marijuana use has spawned calls for new legislation and debate over whether employment rules should be relaxed given more widespread acceptance of the drug.



Porterville library where firefighters died needed critical fire upgrades, officials say

Fresno Bee

For two decades, the city of Porterville discussed the need to upgrade its 67-year-old library where two firefighters were killed Tuesday. The structure was so old it lacked the fire sprinklers required in modern buildings and had numerous other structural problems, according to city officials.

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Judge rips PG&E for poor safety record leading to wildfires

Hanford Sentinel

A U.S. judge ripped into Pacific Gas & Electric on Wednesday, saying its executives have put greed before safety and telling officials from the utility blamed for catastrophic California wildfires to plan to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to cut the risk of even more blazes.

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Bill would force companies to keep insuring homeowners in wildfire zones. Will it work?

Los Angeles Times

Insurance companies fleeing high-risk fire zones would have to stay put and even offer discounts if homeowners in those areas prepare for wildfires on a community-wide scale, under a new bill proposed in Sacramento on Tuesday.






Fed seems inclined to keep rates low as virus poses risks

Fresno Bee

Federal Reserve officials were mostly optimistic about the U.S. and global economies last month, though they noted the risk posed by China’s viral outbreak and said they were ready to keep their benchmark interest rate at its current low level in the coming months.

Stocks brush off latest loss, return to record heights

Los Angeles Times

U.S. stocks shook off their latest virus-induced loss and returned to record heights Wednesday, with several familiar faces doing the heaviest lifting.



The job market is hot. So why are half of U.S. grads missing out?

Los Angeles Times

Millions of Americans are seeing little return from their expensive college degrees — even in today’s hot jobs market.

California’s newest union? Childcare workers turn in petitions

Sacramento Bee

Child care workers delivered 10,000 union cards to the state Public Employment Relations Board to qualify for an election after a rally Wednesday at the Capitol.


EDITORIAL: America’s Disappearing Workers

Wall Street Journal

Eighty-five percent of blue-collar businesses report recruiting difficulties versus 64% of white-collar employers. One reason is the working-age population without a college degree is shrinking as baby boomers retire and more young people enroll in college.






Has one of the Valley’s poorest districts figured out how to keep kids in school?

Fresno Bee

Parlier Unified School District has one of the highest poverty rates in California’s Central Valley. But student absent rates fell after it partnered with a federally funded clinic to open health care facility.

AmeriCorps is coming to Fresno County for the first time

Fresno Bee

For the first time, AmeriCorps will have an after-school program in Fresno County. California Volunteers Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday swore in the first class at a news conference Friday at Fresno’s City Hall.


BCSD superintendent graduates from prestigious program

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield City School District Superintendent Doc Ervin was among the nearly 40 superintendents and other administrators recognized for successfully completing the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program.

Gov. Newsom’s big bets: community schools, competitive grants and new teacher incentives


Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to entice thousands of new teachers into the classroom, concentrate school improvement in the most impoverished neighborhoods and use competitive grants to challenge districts to form partnerships and develop best practices to raise achievement.

Higher Ed:

Fresno State receives $1.2M grant to train future computer science teachers


Fresno State is helping to build the next generation of science and math teachers, and the big push is all thanks to a new grant. The university received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

New agreement between Merced College, Stanislaus State aims to boost transfer students

Merced Sun-Star

Merced College and Stanislaus State leaders will meet Friday to sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at helping to facilitate more transfer students from the community college to the state university. 


‘We need more engineers’: UC Merced’s engineers week details why

Your Central Valley

Students at UC Merced are showing off their engineering skills during National Engineers Week as part of a University of California-wide celebration of engineering.





California Is Providing Funds to San Joaquin Valley To Target Air Pollution

Capital Public Radio

Some big changes are happening in the San Joaquin Valley to clean up the air, with South Central Fresno and Shafter—north of Bakersfield—targeted first.



California's solar mandate may not require one on every roof

Porterville Recorder

When California finalized the nation's first sweeping rooftop solar mandate for new construction last year, advocates pictured a utopia of all homes being built with solar panels, turning the clunky panels into the new norm to help the state achieve carbon neutrality.

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He resisted Obama’s war on coal. Now a Trump official, he’s excited for clean energy

Los Angeles Times

Neil Chatterjee was tapped by President Trump to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, an important but little-known agency that governs interstate electricity markets and decides whether to approve pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals and hydropower projects.


Natural gas is a much ‘dirtier’ energy source, carbon-wise, than we thought

National Geographic

Over the past few decades, as calls to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have grown louder and natural gas collection technologies like fracking have gotten cheaper, many coal-fired power plants across the United States and abroad have retired. 




Flu death toll quietly soared to 328 in California as coronavirus fears gripped U.S.

Modesto Bee

While Americans have been transfixed by concerns about the potential spread of new coronavirus in the United States, a growing number of U.S. citizens have been dying as a result of the seasonal influenza epidemic.


How the Drug Lobby Lost Its Mojo in Washington

Wall Street Journal

The drug industry doesn’t pack the lobbying punch it once did, and one sign is something rare in the capital today—a dose of bipartisanship.

Human Services:


Surge in enrollment as Californians avoid penalty, receive state aid

Business Journal

Hundreds of thousands of new enrollees signed up for 2020 coverage through Covered California, driven by new carrot-and-stick state policies that provide financial aid to help​​ some people afford their premiums while penalizing those who don’t have coverage, state health officials announced Tuesday.


California governor seeks to expand involuntary treatment

AP News

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to make it easier for the government to force psychiatric treatment for people with mental illness and expand statewide a still-developing test program that allows officials to more easily take control over those deemed unable to care for themselves.


GEO plans likely appeal of McFarland Planning Commission's vote rejecting immigrant detention centers

Bakersfield Californian

A private prison company has indicated it plans to appeal a decision by the McFarland Planning Commission to reject permit applications that would have allowed two state prisons to be converted into immigrant detention centers.

Border Patrol gets limits from judge on detaining immigrants

Bakersfield Californian

U.S. District Judge David Bury on Wednesday ordered the Border Patrol in the Tuscon sector to turn over processed detainees to other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, within 48 hours after they are booked.


ICE rejects California law, arrests people at courthouse

Porterville Recorder

U.S. immigration agents arrested two people at a Northern California courthouse, including a man detained in a hallway on his way to a hearing,flouting a new state law requiring a judicial warrant to make immigration arrests inside such facilities.

See also:


Reducing immigration will not stop America’s rising diversity, Census projections show


Immigration has become a dominant issue in America, as the Trump administration continues to curtail the flow of both legal and undocumented immigrants. 


Survey: Immigration Policies Driving Work Out Of America


Nearly half of companies surveyed said the primary reason they send employees and work to other countries is an inability to secure a work visa or green card in the United States. A new survey finds companies view the U.S. immigration system as unfriendly to businesses.




Land Use:

Oregon conservatives want a ‘Greater Idaho’ because of ‘our values,’ governor says

Fresno Bee

If petitions are successful, the Greater Idaho project would like to eventually bring parts of Northern California into Idaho as well, according to the news release.

See also:


Revitalization in downtown Visalia

Foothills Sun-Gazette

The most anticipated reclamation project in downtown Visalia history is closer to opening than you might think. Last week was a busy one for the 4 Creeks crews working on transforming the abandoned art deco building at the Corner of Court and Center streets into a Roaring 20s-themed hotel known as The Darling. 



Proposed law inspired by homeless moms aims to fill vacant homes

San Francisco Chronicle

State legislation introduced Wednesday aims to reduce the number of empty homes in California and give tenants the right of first refusal to buy foreclosed properties. The bill was inspired by the plight of a group of homeless mothers who recently took up residence in a vacant West Oakland home to call attention to California’s housing crisis.


Offering renters longer leases could improve their financial health and happiness


Before exploring radical options, there is a simpler tweak that could improve renters’ stability and financial well-being: expanding the use of longer-term leases.


Looking for a tax break? Fresno wants you to invest money in this program

Fresno Bee

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand announced a joint effort on Wednesday to draw investments in local industry and other projects from wealthy stakeholders who are looking for federal tax breaks.

Here’s how long Californians have to work to pay off taxes – and how other states compare

Sacramento Bee

California’s tax burden is higher than most states — but a lot of states have it worse. That’s the finding of a report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

Economic Report of the President

Council of Economic Advisers

The Economic Report of the President is an annual report written by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. It overviews the nation's economic progress using text and extensive data appendices.



Fact check: Is Trump right that California’s high-speed rail project will be ‘a mile long?’

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump used the occasion of his visit to Bakersfield to joke about California’s long-delayed and over-budget high-speed rail project. 


Aircraft experiences malfunction while landing at Merced Airport, fire officials say

Merced Sun-Star

Emergency crews responded to the Merced Regional Airport on Wednesday after a plane suffered a landing gear malfunction while landing, fire officials said.

Airlines’ big jets will fly U.S. routes after virus forces redeployment from China

Los Angeles Times

Aviation enthusiasts take note: Look for bigger jets flying around North America over the next two months as the coronavirus forces carriers to redeploy some of their largest aircraft from suspended China routes.

Costa Unveils Legislation to Fund Completion of California’s High-Speed Rail, Other National Rail Projects

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Congressman Jim Costa will unveil the High-Speed Rail Corridor Development Act of 2020, legislation that would provide $32 billion to fund projects in federally designated high-speed rail corridors.

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TransForm: California Needs More Housing, It Needs to Be Near Transit, and It Must Be Affordable

StreetsBlog Cal

People want access to high quality transit and are willing to pay more to live near it, which puts upward pressure on costs in areas already served by good transit. That creates a whole cascade of unwanted effects.

Caltrans settles claims of unconstitutional homeless ‘sweeps’ for $5.5 million

Mercury News

In a deal with statewide implications, Caltrans has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle claims that the agency illegally destroyed the property of homeless residents camped on its land.


Fox: Ignoring the Promises Made for High-Speed Rail

Fox & Hounds

A new business plan has been issued for California’s high-speed rail and the only thing that is moving fast is the bullet train moving away from the promises made to voters when the bond supporting the train was on the ballot.




Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley.

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Statement by California Farm Water Coalition Executive Director Mike Wade on the Adoption of the New Biological Opinions

California Farm Water Coalition

For the first time in more than a decade, the federal rules known as Biological Opinions are being updated. These rules exist to protect threatened species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region while also meeting the water supply needs of farms, businesses and people.




Merced zoo seeking contractor for special project


The Applegate Zoo in Merced has received funding for a special project but is struggling to find a contractor to do the work. 


Away nearly half a century, a piece of Sierra Railway history rolls back into Railtown

Modesto Bee

The historic Sierra Railway passenger car No. 3, named the Stanislaus, is back home at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park after an absence of well over 40 years.


Clovis Hall of Fame Seeks Community Honorees

Clovis Roundup

“Nominees should represent an individual, family, business, or organization that has had an impact on our great community or personifies what it means to be The Spirit of Clovis, Citizen of the Year, Service to Veterans, Friends of Youth, or has brought National recognition to our community in one way or another.


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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials​​ HERE.

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.


This document is to be used for informational purposes only. Unless specifically noted, The Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno does not officially endorse or support views that may be expressed in the document. If you want to print a story, please do so now before the link expires.​​ 

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