February 28, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

CD 21: Parra blocks Huerta’s bid to land state Democrat Party’s endorsement in race — Fowler City Council member Daniel Parra landed the California Democratic Party’s endorsement in caucus voting in San Jose Saturday. But his win will be challenged before the entire party Sunday. Parra blocked Democratic rival Emilio Huerta’s bid for the endorsement, claiming the right to any campaign cash the party might wish to flow into the 21st District. Bakersfield Californian article

Cathleen Decker: Donald Trump could hurt – and help – key congressional races in California – The establishment’s view is that Trump would not only lose the presidency but also ravage the party down the ballot, in Senate, congressional and legislative races whereRepublicans would suffer for his presence because many GOP voters would stay home. But in California, home to several contested congressional races that are key national fights, it’s more complicated. Trump would both hurt Republican candidates and help. The most intriguing locale is the Central Valley, where Republicans have held on to several seats despite fierce Democratic efforts to seize them. Decker in LA Times

Gov. Brown 

Jerry Brown ‘hopeful’ in California Supreme Court ruling — Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday that it only took so long to file his ballot initiative to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole because he was consulting with law enforcement groups, saying the “process worked” despite legal uncertainty surrounding the measure. Sacramento Bee article

Jerry Brown: Republicans ‘so far off the deep end’ — Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday that the United States is in an unprecedented time in its political history, with Republicans more “off the deep end” than ever before. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Political intrigue brewing for City Council in Turlock — A City Council race that few expected is taking shape, with Councilwoman Amy Bublak buying a new house and confirming that she’ll run against Councilman Steven Nascimento in the fall. Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth also has moved and is staying with relatives within the city limit, he said, while renovating a place he bought that’s also in Turlock. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kamala Harris receives California Democratic Party endorsement — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris received far more than enough votes from party delegates to win their coveted endorsement late Saturday, exceeding most expectations and dealing a potentially harrowing blow to her opponent, veteran Rep. Loretta Sanchez. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleKQED report

California Democrats playing rhetorical tug-of-war on economy — The chorus at the California Democratic Party’s annual convention on Saturday served to highlight an intraparty tug-of-war over the state of the economy, while previewing the state’s still-distant race for governor. Sacramento Bee article

Democrats look to their political future at San Jose convention — With some of their longtime top officeholders either termed out, retiring or struggling to hold onto power, California Democrats got a peek at their next generation of leaders Saturday at the state party’s annual convention in San Jose. San Francisco Chronicle article

Democratic bigwigs confidence of victory in November, but rank and file not so sure — Even as party bigwigs assure the more than 3,000 Democratic activists gathered at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center that the Republican presidential candidates’ “food fight” will virtually guarantee that a Democrat stays in the White House, some of the rank-and-file don’t seem so sure as they watch the Dem-on-Dem spats on the convention floor. San Jose Mercury News article

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer bids activities adieu after nearly 24 years — On Saturday, at her last state convention before stepping down from office next year, Boxer thanked the activists gathered in San Jose, beginning with that 1992 election, when the number of women in the Senate tripled from two to six. Sacramento Bee article


LA archbishop, others announce immigration initiative — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and other Southern California bishops announced Saturday an initiative to assist an estimated 2.4 million legal permanent residents in the United States who are seeking citizenship. LA Times article


Apple’s tech allies oppose the FBI, but still want your data — In its fight with the FBI, Apple insists it’s defending the privacy and safety of all iPhone users by resisting government calls to help unlock an extremist’s iPhone. And now other big tech companies such as Google and Facebook are rallying to Apple’s side. Wait just a minute: Aren’t those the same companies that Apple has previously criticized by lobbing veiled accusations that they exploit your personal information — to sell ads — and effectively endanger your privacy? AP article

Other areas

After early setback, Rep. Ami Bera wins Democratic Party endorsement – Rep. Ami Bera, drawn into an extended endorsement standoff over his votes on trade and refugees, easily won the Democratic Party’s formal support at the state convention on Saturday. Sacramento Bee article

Biden to California Democrats: Republicans are ‘meaner’ than they used to be — Wading in to the contentious presidential race that he once considered joining, Vice President Joe Biden told California Democrats at the party’s convention here that the Republican candidates haven’t changed their positions, only their tone. “They haven’t changed at all, folks,” said Biden. “They’ve just gotten meaner.” LA Times articleAP article

Steve Lopez: If East LA’s Latinos speak for the nation, a wall could come tumbling down on Trump – One thing about Donald Trump. Say his name and you get a reaction. On the Eastside of Los Angeles, as Trump’s star rises, most of those reactions are not simpatico. Lopez column in LA Times

Bill Whalen: Buckle up, campaign heads into warp drive – Now that February’s round of presidential primaries and caucuses are over – four states in four distinct pockets of the country – the road to the White House is back at its starting line. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

‘Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim erupts in violence; three stabbed, 13 arrested — Three people were stabbed and 13 others were arrested when a Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim erupted in violence Saturday, police said. LA Times articleAP article

Victor Davis Hanson: The tough choices of overseas intervention — The choices are all awful. But the idea that America can bomb a rogue regime, leave and expect something better is pure fantasy. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

North Fork casino in Madera getting closer to approval — Proposition 48, a referendum on so-called “off-reservation gaming” that voters rejected in 2014, likely will not create much more than a few years of delays for the North Fork Mono Rancheria Indians’ casino plans. And, after 13 years of trying to get a casino open, the North Fork Mono can wait a little longer, tribal officials say. Fresno Bee article

Special education groups allege California alarmed parents about data transfer — Special education nonprofits allege that state officials inappropriately alarmed parents across California by using “incomplete or misleading messages” in telling them that sensitive records for 10 million current and former students will be disclosed. Sacramento Bee article
Jobs and the Economy

Fulton Mall groundbreaking raises hopes of revitalizing downtown Fresno – Urban malls nationwide fell into disfavor – of the nearly 200 built, 89 percent have been removed, said a report for the Downtown Fresno Partnership by regional planner Cole Judge. And now it’s Fulton Mall’s turn, with a $20 million project to put two-way traffic back on Fulton, a step that business owners believe could turn around the district’s misfortunes. A groundbreaking for the project is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Fresno Bee article

Bay Area group, Cipponeris family tangled over Turlock farmers markets — An ongoing quarrel over control of the Turlock farmers market does not represent would-be operator Peter Cipponeri’s first time going up against nonprofit management. Modesto Bee article

Seattle tent cities: Solution for homelessness or unproven distraction? – The morning the Sacramento contingent arrived in Seattle, The Seattle Times ran a front-page story in which a consultant hired by the city said in an interview that the tent cities are a distraction from the long-term effort to solve homelessness and called it “unconscionable” that Seattle has made the choice to sanction the facilities. Sacramento Bee article

Yahoo’s Meyer may turn to private-equity firms to save her job — Embattled Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer may be exploring a deal to take the business private in order to stay at its helm, even as her board weighs a sale of the struggling search giant to telecommunications companies. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Why Silicon Valley is betting big on India — For any veteran of the go-go era in Silicon Valley, the buzz at the recent Surge start-up conference in Bangalore, the cradle of India’s high-tech sector, was familiar and alluring. India’s digital start-up scene is booming as Internet use expands. By June, more Indians are expected to access the Internet on their cellphones — 371 million — than the entire population of the United States. LA Times article

Marriage equality grows, and so does class divide — With more marriages of equals, reflecting deep changes in American families and society at large, the country is becoming more segregated by class. New York Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Murder charges against rehab center are a first in California — Gary Benefield was in rough shape when a driver from the substance abuse treatment company A Better Tomorrow met him at the San Diego airport in 2010. LA Times article


Dan Walters: Big school overhaul frustrates – Simultaneously, the state was abolishing its test-driven oversight system, creating a new “multiple measures” system that would be, it was said, “a flashlight and not a hammer,” and trusting local school officials to do the right thing through “Local Control Accountability Plans” (LCAPs) that would involve parents and taxpayers. So how’s all that working out? No one knows. Walters column in Sacramento Bee
Last word on higher education — With 2.1 million students spread across 113 campuses, California’s community college system touches many of us in some way. Brice Harris, the chancellor of the state’s community college system, visited Stockton last week and shared his thoughts on San Joaquin Delta College, community colleges in general, and the future of higher education. Stockton Record article

Sacramento-area school districts unaware how many students fully vaccinated —  As California imposes strict immunization requirements this year, two Sacramento County school districts say they do not know how many students have all of their required vaccines. Sacramento Bee article


Bakersfield Californian: Florez’s appointment to CARB a fitting move — One would think clean-air advocates from one of the nation’s most air-quality challenged regions would have a regular place in the state agency charged with cleaning up that air. One would be wrong. Until now. This month’s appointment of Shafter native Dean Florez, a former state assemblyman and senator, to the California Air Resources Board ends decades of urban domination of that agency. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Jeff Jardine: Oakdale homeowner handicapped by country club’s solar system? — In January, 1st Light Energy began tearing out the shrubbery and trees next to Porter’s home. The solar contractor also removed piles of brush and grass clippings from its land bordering the front of Porter’s 2.5 acres. Then it began installing a solar energy system, and a massive one at that. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

Congressman Tom McClintock: John Muir was not ‘annoyed’ by tourists in Yosemite – The California Republican writes, “Matt Weiser grossly misrepresents Republican federal lands policy and my leadership of the House subcommittee that oversees it.  Our committee seeks to restore responsible stewardship of our national forests and protect the public’s right to enjoy the public’s lands.” McClintock op-ed in Sacramento Bee

After gas leak, Porter Ranch residents told to hold their breath over property values — The capping of a massive gas leak this month brought relief to the Porter Ranch community. But as thousands of displaced residents return to their homes, many are worrying if their property values have taken a big hit. LA Times article

Wendy Mitchell: After turmoil, Coastal Commission looks to be more transparent – The California Coastal Commission member writes, “The commission needs news rules, for commissioners, staff and advocates alike. The bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers is a good first step, but it doesn’t go far enough. The commission does not have to wait for legislative action to bring more sunlight into the commission’s process.” Mitchell op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Health/Human Services 

Joe Biden, wife hold cancer roundtable at UCSF — Vice President Joe Biden continued his tour of the nation’s top cancer research facilities Saturday with a stop at UCSF. Biden, who is spearheading a $1 billion national initiative to eliminate cancer, toured the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and led a roundtable discussion at Genentech Hall with cancer survivors, administrators and top researchers. San Francisco Chronicle article

Medical career guidance offered – The prospect of a career in medicine drew hundreds of high school and community college students to San Joaquin Delta College on Saturday to seek advice from medical professionals and students already on their way to becoming physicians. Stockton Record article

California ob-gyns navigate Catholic hospitals’ restrictions – Most of California’s Catholic hospitals follow the guidelines, and that has some OB-GYNs, such as Fenmore, feeling caught in the middle as they try to balance their professional obligations to their employers with their personal desire to provide the full range of reproductive care to their patients. KPCC report

Dan Morain: Father fights opioid addiction, to save the next father’s son — Like the pragmatic businessman he is, Gary Mendell came to town armed with facts to make his case, although a few years ago, he never could have imagined discussing the topic at hand, drug addiction. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Land Use/Housing

Families get homes built by volunteers, youth program — Two families were handed the keys to their own energy-efficient homes in southeast Stockton, built from the ground up by Habitat for Humanity San Joaquin and YouthBuild San Joaquin, in a key ceremony on Saturday. Stockton Record article

Emily Rusch: Public transit needs more investment – The executive director of the California Public Interest Research Group writes, “We need to invest less in roads, particularly road expansion, and instead develop a true multimodal transportation system that also prioritizes public transit, biking and pedestrian options that people increasingly want and need.” Rusch op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Other areas

Downtown Modesto mural of homeless man has people talking – Among the purposes of art are to reflect society and spur discussion. There’s no question that a prominent mural on the J Street side of a 10th Street restaurant has done that. The black, white and gray painting is of a 54-year-old homeless man, Rick Hernstedt, who died in September after being hit by a car. It was completed early this year on the wall of Ralston’s Goat, a restaurant that opened in December. Modesto Bee article

Mike Klocke: Myriad factors at play in city reputations – What goes into a city’s reputation? That question has been on my mind the past week. Late last Saturday, I received a text alert that a rampaging gunman was terrorizing my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Klocke in Stockton Record

David Mas Masumoto: How our use of language can frame our future — On our farm we explore work, life and family through stories and the seasons. We share insights about why we came back to the farm, the art of pruning, and the future of food – yet we don’t know the ending, is this a comedy, tragedy or mystery? But the language we use can frame the future. Grammar is a predictor of how we make choices. The way we talk affects our judgments and decisions going forward. It simply has to do with the word “will.” Masumoto column in Fresno Bee

Kern turns 150: The county’s first residents — The earliest aborigines in Kern lived in the mountains bordering the Indian Wells Valley. A number of their former villages and campsites have been charted in the volcanic terrain. Bakersfield Californian article

Donald W. Blount: Rest stop on a long road to recognition – It was a long road coming but they had made it this far in about three years. And it was a good moment for Willie Harris and other members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association. Blount column in Stockton Record

Michael Klocke: Danke Schoen Stockton – “Ich bin ein Stocktonians?” Perhaps it’s a reach to re-purpose a famous John F. Kennedy speech line for what happened in Stockton this week. But three German visitors — ripped off three times by criminals — nonetheless left the city with smiles and warm feelings. Klocke in Stockton Record

Michael Fitzgerald: Levee levy bugs 55-Word winner — Rick Seim wins this year’s 55-Word Writing Contest by tackling the burning issue uppermost on everybody’s mind: reclamation districts. Specifically, Reclamation District 828. Arguably the most obscure subject on planet Earth. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Lemoore natives Tommie and Dr. Ernie Smith recall iconic 1968 Olympic image — Lemoore native Tommie Smith’s moment, caught in the iconic image of him on the podium after winning the 200 meter event at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, made international headlines. Hanford Sentinel article

‘This is going to be a mess’: Tweets about wage protestor’s English land publisher in hot water — The subject under discussion was raising the minimum wage. As Rosa Ramos addressed the Long Beach City Council in her native Spanish, unbeknown to her, the publisher of a local newspaper posted a tweet. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian – One would think clean-air advocates from one of the nation’s most air-quality challenged regions would have a regular place in the state agency charged with cleaning up that air. One would be wrong. Until now. This month’s appointment of Shafter native Dean Florez, a former state assemblyman and senator, to the California Air Resources Board ends decades of urban domination of that agency.

Fresno Bee – The Valley will feel better when medical reform passes.

Sacramento Bee – The dwindling audience for #OscarsSoWhite;

Maddy Events 

Sunday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Mission Possible: Making Government More Customer Friendly”  Guest: Little Hoover Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “The Multi-Million Dollar Question: Can We Make State and Local Government More Efficient and Effective?” – Guests: Rebecca Moore of Kern LAFCO, David Fey of Fresno LACFO, Sara Lytle-Pinhey of Stanislaus LAFCO, and William Nicholson of Merced LAFCO. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler. 

Sunday, March 6, at 7 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV)– El Informe Maddy Report: “Senior Citizen Boom” – Guest: Public Policy Institute of California analyst Marisol Cuellar. 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.

Community Events

  • 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.
  • The 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit will be held at Bitwise South Stadium in Fresno on Thursday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration launches March 1.  More information: Jenna Chilingerian at jennac@csufresno.edu.


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/

More Information

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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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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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