February 3, 2015


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

Political Briefs

Top stories

John Myers: California’s 2014 statewide campaigns top $226 million —  If you think $226.5 million, the amount of combined spending in 2014 on statewide candidate races and ballot measure campaigns, is a lot of money, consider this: It was kind of a quiet year. In other words, you ain’t seen nothing yet. But more on that in a moment. Myers in KQED

Opponents of off-reservation casino measure far outspent supporters – Rival Native American casino interests spent $18 million last year to defeat Proposition 48, which would have given permission for two other tribes to build a new casino near Madera, just north of Fresno, according to records filed by the campaigns.  LA Times article

Tacherra considers third straight Costa challenge; Madera supervisor Rogers may also run In 2012, Republican Johnny Tacherra didn’t make it past the primary election in his quest to oust Fresno Democrat Jim Costa from the 16th Congressional District seat. Last year, Tacherra came within 1,334 votes — just 1.4 percentage points — of ousting Costa in one of the closest congressional elections in California. Will the third time be the charm? It looks like Tacherra intends to find out.  Fresno Bee article

State budget

Four budget proposals show Jerry Brown’s state worker agenda — Gov. Jerry Brown has added a few splashes of detail to his civil-service agenda for 2015 with a handful of state budget bill proposals posted online by his Department of Finance.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Visalia requesting change to even-year elections — The city of Visalia is closer to holding even-year elections following Monday night’s approval by the City Council of a resolution asking Tulare County officials to approve the change.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

To raise profile, Harris spent $1.2 million in final days of campaign – Despite the fact that Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris was coasting to reelection in November, she spent more than $1.2 million on television advertising in Southern California during the closing stretch of the election.  LA Times article

Villaraigosa’s past fiscal policies may anger Democrats – If former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plunges into the state’s 2016 U.S. Senate race, his past positions on fiscal issues could present the biggest challenge — especially from his own Democratic Party.  San Francisco Chronicle article

New York foundations bankrolled Prop 47 – The power of nonprofit foundations to change state law was exemplified by the bankrolling of Proposition 47,  a $9.5-million campaign that reduced drug possession and minor theft charges to misdemeanors. By contrast, opponents reported spending a total of $550,000, much of it raised from law enforcement groups, new campaign reports show.  LA Times article

In malpractice initiative battle, opponents heavily outspent backers – Healthcare providers and insurers spent $58.6 million to sink a ballot measure that would have increased limits on certain medical malpractice damages, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday.  LA Times article

Opponents of insurance rate initiative spent big before election – Opponents of Proposition 45, a health insurance rate regulation initiative that was overwhelmingly defeated by California voters, spent big in the run-up to the November election.  LA Times article

California treasurer has millions left for future campaigns – John Chiang, who was successfully elected state treasurer after eight years as controller, has $3.3 million in the bank, according to his latest campaign finance report.  LA Times article

Joe Mathews: Brulte for Governor in 2018? — Can you name an obvious Republican candidate for governor in 2018? One answer to that question would be; No, the Republicans have no bench. But I can name such a candidate. I’ll bet that today’s party chairman, Jim Brulte, will run himself. Of course, if I prove to be right and Brulte ends up having to walk that plank, it soon may get harder to find new GOP chairs.  Mathews in Fox & Hounds


Fresno’s Mexican consulate extends hours of immigration changes, driver’s licenses — The Consulate of Mexico in Fresno is extending its hours in response to increased demand for consular services because of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration and the new state driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Dan Walters: Three seats in Senate await votes – This is an odd-numbered year, but some California voters – especially those in the affluent Bay Area suburbs along the Interstate 680 corridor – will be getting the full campaign treatment this spring. Three state senators resigned last month to take newly won seats in Congress, and special elections have been called to choose their successors.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Obama budget plan includes Sacramento, Folsom, Yosemite projects — California gets its share, and then some, from the Obama administration’s $4 trillion budget proposal delivered Monday to a skeptical, Republican-controlled Congress. There’s money for restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, likely to survive congressional winnowing. Proposed upgrades at places like Yosemite National Park will probably find Capitol Hill favor, as well, along with funding for Central Valley flood control and dam improvements.  McClatchy Newspapers article

California White House seeks big increase in Pentagon budget — The Pentagon would get $585 billion next year under the Obama administration’s proposed budget, reversing a five-year decline in military spending and blowing past mandatory spending caps imposed by Congress. LA Times article

Dan Walters Daily: Is California Senate up to oversight task? — The cozy relationship between state regulators and PG&E presents the perfect opportunity for Senate leader Kevin de León follow through on his oversight promise, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

Sluggish Valley growth should shake loose soon — The Central Valley’s recovery from recession should continue on a steady upward climb over the next few years, with decent job growth fueled partly by an expected surge in housing construction, economic forecasters say.  Modesto Bee article

High-speed rail project runs afoul of kit fox conservation requirements — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Federal Railroad Administration to be out of compliance with their environmental commitments for construction of the bullet-train line in the Fresno-Madera area after a contractor’s preliminary work infringed on habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox.  Fresno Bee article; LA Times article

State considers tighter water limits, hopes for relief this week California water officials are considering tightening restrictions on outdoor watering, even as they hold out hope that a series of storms late this week will provide some relief for the drought-stricken state.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

Drought, oil price decline pummel Kern — Oil and water don’t mix, but in Kern County they’ve joined to create a double-whammy. Already confronting a drought of historic proportions, Kern County — the nation’s No. 2 agricultural county with more than $6 billion in gross receipts — also faces a severe financial hit because of falling oil prices. The county is home to more than two-thirds of California’s oil production.  Bakersfield Californian article

Long, downward slide in gas prices is ending, experts say – Energy experts on Monday had a sobering message for motorists who have been enjoying extraordinarily low gas prices throughout the fall and early winter: The party’s over.  Sacramento Bee article

Slump in oil prices brings pressure, and investment opportunity – American history is littered with oil busts that created big winners and losers. Now, as the cracks appear in the latest energy boom, the forces of failure and opportunity are stirring again. New York Times article

Refinery strike could mean higher gas prices – More than 800 workers walked off the job early Sunday at an oil refinery in Carson because of a labor dispute, joining workers at eight other refineries around the country. KPCC report

California has one of the largest shares of high-tech workers in U.S. – California has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of “advanced industry” workers — a group that includes highly skilled software designers, architects, medical equipment manufacturers and web developers, according to a new analysis.  LA Times article

Ceres group appeals court decision over Walmart supercenter – The group that sued the city of Ceres and Wal-Mart over a proposed Supercenter and lost has appealed the Stanislaus Superior Court decision.  Modesto Bee article

Merced supervisors to consider leasing AT&T building to Golden Valley Health Centers – A vacant building at Castle Commerce Center that once housed an AT&T call center may become home to another company.  Merced Sun-Star article

Sacramento sees hotel mini-boom; up next is Kings arena hotel — Sacramento’s once struggling hotel market is on a comeback, with two major new projects about to launch this spring.  Sacramento Bee article

Business roundup: Homebuying, oil field solar power, mortgage assistance – A new ranking places Kern fifth among California counties where buying a home generally makes better financial sense than renting. SmartAsset, a financial advice company, concluded Kern’s average monthly mortgage payment ($825), combined with its average monthly rent ($1,274) means homebuyers can “break even” on their investment in 3.9 years — 5 percent better than sixth place Kings County.  Bakersfield Californian article

Enforcement issues remain as San Francisco’s Airbnb law takes effect — As San Francisco begins formal regulation of the burgeoning short-term rental industry, questions remain over how the city can regulate the thousands of listings available on sites like Airbnb.  KQED report


January was Modesto’s driest on record – The driest January in Modesto’s recorded history has ended, but a break from the dry spell could come in a few days. The month brought 0.07 inches of rain downtown, according to the Modesto Irrigation District, which has kept a tally since 1888. The old record was 0.18 inches in 1976.  Modesto Bee article

Visalia no watering rule continues into February — Under Visalia’s water requirements, no watering of lawns is allowed through the end of February. The restriction, part of the city’s Stage-4 water regulations, is continuing from January and prohibits excessive water runoff and hosing down, unless needed for public health and safety. The city recommends using a broom or rake.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Turlock council to examine water issues – City leaders on Tuesday night will examine water issues, including the wells that provide the supply now and the prospects for river and recycled sources.  Modesto Bee article

Southern California could face above-normal rainfall in next 3 months – After one of the driest Januarys ever in California, there may be a glimmer of hope for the parched state: There’s a slight chance of above-normal rainfall for Southern California over the next three months and an even chance for the rest, according to the latest climate models.  LA Times article

Russian River basin prepares for fourth year of drought – The dry January was the topic of discussion Monday at a meeting held by the Sonoma County Water Agency, which provides drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties — relying exclusively on rainfall captured in two reservoirs. LA Times article

Obama’s budget would cut crop insurance subsidies — President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget plan finds $16 billion in savings over 10 years by slashing federal funding for crop insurance programs. The proposed cuts aren’t going over well with farmers or lawmakers from agriculture states.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Bakersfield corrections facility to house detainees – A private prison in downtown Bakersfield will be reopened later this year as a detention center for immigration detainees. The GEO Group finished renovating the Mesa Verde Correctional Facility on Golden State Avenue late last year and will begin taking detainees in the second quarter of this year, it said in a press release on its website.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno Police Department swears in 40 newcomers – The Fresno Police Department welcomed 28 police officers, an emergency services dispatcher and 11 cadets in a swearing-in ceremony Monday afternoon at City Hall.  Fresno Bee article

Three new Stockton police officers sworn in – Deputy Police Chief Trevor Womack spoke directly to the families of three new police officers and two recruits Monday. “I want to say a few words to the family and friends,” Womack said. “We’re going to take very good care of your relatives.”  Stockton Record article

Public defenders ask to ban media from Sacramento hearing in slain deputies case – The public defenders who are representing the man accused of shooting and killing two local sheriff’s deputies four months ago have filed a motion to keep the press out of a court hearing on the case.  Sacramento Bee article

Cult leader Charles Manson still single: marriage license to expire — Charles Manson, 80, and his 27-year-old fan, Afton Elaine Burton, have yet to wed despite time running out on their marriage license, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The couple’s license, drafted in November, expires Thursday. Inmate weddings take place on weekends, during visiting hours.  LA Times article; AP article


Easier path from community college to Cal State, report says – The number of community college students who earned degrees that streamline entry into Cal State grew significantly last year, but too many students still are unaware of the transfer program, according to a report released Monday.  LA Times article

Gene Voiland: How Common Core will affect California’s economic success – The former president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC writes, “The can-do, will-do attitude of Californians is one of many qualities that set us apart. Tapping into this mindset to support Common Core implementation is essential to help our kids succeed.”  Voiland op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Study: College completion gap between rich, poor widens – The gap in bachelor-degree attainment between the nation’s richest and poorest students by age 24 has doubled during the last four decades, according to a report released Tuesday.  LA Times article

Selma Unified superintendent supporters say his contract may be at risk — The future of Selma Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton, who has led the district south of Fresno since 2007, may be part of discussions at a special board meeting Tuesday night, past board and community members said Monday.  Fresno Bee article


For EPA’s big meeting on ozone, why Sacramento? Fresno is heart of nation’s ozone problem – EPA went to Sacramento, not Fresno, on Monday to hear comments about a stricter ozone standard. Why not have this meeting next door in the San Joaquin Valley? This is the place with the nation’s worst ozone problem last year. And this isn’t the first time the Valley led the nation in that category.  Fresno Bee article; LA Times article

Peevey urged PG&E to lobby Jerry Brown, but warned, ‘You will miss Arnold’ — Within days of Gov. Jerry Brown taking office in January 2011, Michael Peevey, then president of the California Public Utilities Commission, told a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive that he was right to worry about regulatory changes the Democratic governor might usher in.  Capitol Alert

More areas in California would likely exceed smog standards under proposal — The California Air Resources Board says the state has 16 regions that are not meeting the current standard. More rural, mountainous and less populated areas of California would likely exceed federal limits if the new standard is approved. States that fail to provide a clean air plan risk losing federal transportation dollars.  Capital Public Radio report

Mass pigeon deaths alarm biologists; public asked for help — An alarming increase in the number of dead and dying band-tailed pigeons along the California coast has prompted wildlife biologists to ask the public for help documenting the apparent decline of the only native pigeon left in the state.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

Not just un-vaccinated; under-vaccination also a problem statewide — It seems everyone has been focused on parents who opt-out of vaccinations for their kindergarteners. But, there are thousands of under-vaccinated students who may also be walking school halls for months, maybe even the whole school year, without all their shots.  KQED report

Measles Q&A with Fresno County health officials – Fresno County health officials said Monday they have received many telephone calls from concerned Fresno-area residents since a report last Wednesday that a visitor to Fresno had measles and may have exposed people to the illness. In response to inquiries, the department provided answers to several questions about measles and the potential for exposure in Fresno.  Fresno Bee article

Vaccines: Delayed immunization schedule can be deadly, experts say – Some parents have said they’re not anti-vaccine, but that they want to delay vaccines, or spread out shots, for fear of overwhelming a baby’s immune system.  LA Times article

Michael Hiltzik: The theme of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary should be ‘Vaccinate your kids’ — Imagine the impact if that message were communicated by Mickey Mouse and his cohort, backed up by the parent company’s world-beating marketing pizazz. Here’s wagering that the campaign could reduce the ratio of unvaccinated children in California kindergartens by a percentage point, no small feat.  Hiltzik column in LA Times

Too much sugar and sodium are on the menu for toddlers, study finds — Americans’ atrocious eating habits start incredibly young, according to a new, comprehensive analysis of foods sold for infants and toddlers.  LA Times article

Health officials warn public about rising e-cigarette use – The California Department of Public Health issued a health advisory last week warning people about the toxicity of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes.  Merced Sun-Star article

California ranks dead last in spending on diabetes prevention — California spends less per person than any state on diabetes prevention programs, even as one in 12 California adults is estimated to suffer from the chronic disease, according to a new report from the California state auditor.  KQED report

Land Use/Housing

Planning Mooney Grove’s next 20 years – This year marks the 101st anniversary of Mooney Grove Park opening to the public. Despite having been built when most visitors walked or road horses — and a few Ford Model Ts — to the 137-acre park on the south end of Visalia, in some ways a lot hasn’t changed.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Residents rank future Mesa Marin additions — Based on a survey of residents, a recirculating spray park that would be the only one in Bakersfield and a shade structure have been put on the “To Do” list in Mesa Marin Sports Complex’s expansion.  Bakersfield Californian article


FYI records record passengers in 2014 — Fresno Yosemite International Airport saw a record number of arriving and departing passengers in 2014.  Last year 1,442,026 passengers passed through the airport’s gates, breaking the previous record from 2013.  The Business Journal article

Feds on board with Sacramento streetcar — Federal transportation officials have preliminarily agreed to help fund a $150 million downtown Sacramento streetcar project this year, as long as Sacramento can come up with local matching funds in the next few months, according to local officials with knowledge of the federal plans.  Sacramento Bee article

Other Areas

State of County speech to focus on groundwater, crime prevention – Board of Supervisors Chairman Terry Withrow will deliver the “State of the County” address Tuesday morning, an annual speech that usually outlines the county’s priorities for the coming year.  Modesto Bee article

Veterans at Fresno VA receive POW medals — Now, 70 years after Wild Bill Begley was liberated, he and three other veterans who live at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Fresno were finally recognized for their time as prisoners of war.  Fresno Bee article

Fresno judge Petrucelli faces inquiry into possible ethical violation – A Fresno judge who has a reputation for being tough on criminals found himself in an awkward position Monday — defending himself against an ethical violation for getting an acquaintance facing domestic violence charges out of jail on his own recognizance.  Fresno Bee article

Merced hires attorney, makes plans for warming center – Merced City Council spent most of its meeting Monday trying to brainstorm ideas for a warming shelter in town, but made a number of other decisions.  Merced Sun-Star article

Visalia man to walk across America — A Visalia man will begin a journey of a lifetime in March by walking across America to bring awareness to concussions suffered by athletes, such as himself, and post concussion syndrome.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Secretary of State employee who was fired for gun at work seen near office despite court order — The former state employee accused of bringing a loaded gun into the Secretary of State’s Sacramento office was seen near the building last week, days after a judge issued a temporary restraining order that banned him from the vicinity. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – PG&E, ever a bully, fights community power.

Sacramento Bee – The reaction of the new Republican majority in Congress to the president’s spending plan is mindless in its own way – reflexive and unthinking opposition; Sacramento’s libraries go way beyond books.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers:  Thunder fans put cuddly toys on ice, the measles outbreak is sadly preventable, and other issues.