February 8, 2015


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

Political Briefs

Top stories

New research: Four lessons from California’s top-two primary — What difference did California’s top-two electoral system make in statewide contests in 2014? On the outcome, not much. But the system, in which the top two vote-getters in each race advance from the primary election to a runoff regardless of party affiliation, did influence the field of candidates who got into races and some of the tactics they employed, according to research published Sunday in the California Journal of Politics and Policy.  Capitol Alert; LA Times article

Dan Walters: Huge stakes in spending on politics — Something north of $400 million was spent in California last year on campaigns for statewide and legislative offices, and for or against state ballot measures.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Neel Kashkari rules out U.S. Senate run in 2016 — Neel Kashkari has ruled out running next year for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer. Kashkari becomes the latest high-profile Republican to pass on seeking the soon-to-be-open Senate seat, only five years after national Republicans and others went all-out to block Boxer’s bid a fourth term in 2010.  Capitol Alert

Other areas

Lawmakers taken step toward fulfilling state climate change goals — State lawmakers are preparing a sweeping package of bills that would fulfill several of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change objectives by increasing California’s reliance on renewable energy and alternative transportation fuels.  LA Times article

California Democrats are in the House, in record numbers – An unexpected byproduct of the largest House Republican majority since 1929 is that California has the largest congressional delegation from a single party — ever.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Police would need warrants for personal data under California bill — Again seeking to restrict the government’s access to personal data after a string of failed attempts, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, plans to introduce legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to get warrants before obtaining various types of electronic information.  Capitol Alert; San Francisco Chronicle article; KQED report; LA Times article

Tony Quinn: Redistricting and the Supreme Court – be careful what you wish for – A U.S. Supreme Court case could easily upend congressional politics in California; it also could help Nancy Pelosi and Democrats win back the House.  Quinn op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Dan Morain: Senator does good but must pay tribute — No one can one defend patient dumping. As Pan says, emergency rooms should be safe places where anyone, no matter their ability to pay or their sobriety, receives treatment. But the bill is not about dumping. It is part of Pan’s trade-off. He is enabled to push universal vaccination with all the power of his public office, so long as he remembers how he got there.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Ray Gonzalez: Reagan supported health care coverage for all – The former Kern County assembleymember writes, “It seems appropriate for me now to tell a little story about how the darling of the GOP over the years, Ronald Reagan, was one of the first Republican leaders to see the value of health insurance for all citizens.”  Gonzalez op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

News Briefs

Top Stories

Kern may push bid for bullet train facility – What’s a little hostility among future business partners? On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider promoting its candidacy for a high-speed rail maintenance facility that could come with up to 2,500 well-paying jobs.  Bakersfield Californian article

New air standard for the Valley: Say goodbye to your gas-burning car — The future may hold an even bigger struggle as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyprepares a new ozone standard this year that will challenge even some of the cleaner air basins across the country. For the Valley, it will mean eliminating most fossil-fuel burning vehicles — cars, big-rig trucks, buses — in two decades. The Valley will have to electrify or go to other alternative fuels for everything from tractors to trains, just to have a chance.  Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Economic tanks running low in California towns fueled by oil revenue — While output isn’t nearly as much as it once was, governments in those areas still rely on oil revenue to help balance the books. But the recent plunge in oil prices means some bills might not get paid.  KQED report

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin hopes subsidy program brings her water plan home – Mayor Ashley Swearengin has on tap a $1 million program to help low-income Fresnans pay their water bills. Whether that is enough to turn her proposed upgrade to Fresno’s water system into reality figures to be City Hall’s hottest political question this month.  Fresno Bee article

Tourists rare as snow this winter in drought-stricken Tuolumne –  California is in its fourth year of drought, and the impact is being felt in rural, tourist-dependent Tuolumne County. “It’s been challenging,” Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lisa Mayo said. “There are a lot of businesses that are dependent on having that snow for people coming here to play.” Modesto Bee article

California drought sends skiers to Idaho, Washington — Warm temperatures and drought conditions in the West have changed the migratory patterns of birds and wildlife, but are also impacting another group: skiers, especially cross country skiers.  AP article

Port labor dispute costing farmers millions – Increasingly fractious labor strife at West Coast ports is slowing movement of all sorts of goods, including Central Valley farm products and costing California farmers millions of dollars.  Stockton Record article

Bitter shipping battle continues at Oakland port – The sniping and backbiting between dockworkers and shipping officials intensified this weekend at the Port of Oakland as the long-running contract dispute at 29 ports on the West Coast dragged on, causing crippling delays and devastating economic losses.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Modesto brewpub closes, but owner plans ‘better-than-ever’ future – Hero’s, a downtown eatery, bar and concert venue, is down but not out. The restaurant, which occupies the building shared by longtime Modesto brewer St. Stan’s at Ninth and L streets, closed last month. It’s a complicated situation, Hero’s owner Bill Coffey explained. Modesto Bee article

LA gives hosts, neighbors mixed signals on short-term rentals — Airbnb and similar “home sharing” websites have exploded in popularity in L.A., overwhelming city regulators who are struggling to collect tourist taxes and enforce long-standing restrictions on rentals.  LA Times article

Contract talks may be a crossroads in Garcetti’s relationship with labor —  As behind-the-scenes contract talks with the unions representing more than half the city’s civilian workforce grind to a standstill, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is facing the first meaningful test of his proclaimed resolve to curb organized labor’s sway at City Hall. LA Times article

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices – When “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the chief executive of Zillow recently about the accuracy of the website’s automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.  LA Times article

New stealth bomber contract likely to be boon for Antelope Valley — The Pentagon is poised to spend billions to build a new stealth bomber, a top secret project that could bring hundreds of jobs to the wind-swept desert communities in Los Angeles County’s northern reaches.  LA Times article


Sacramento Bee: State’s growing, and thirsty, almond industry sowing seeds of discontent – The Great Almond Rush has brought billions to the state’s economy. But it has also raised existential questions about water rights, land use and development, the environment, ethical food policy, fracking, job creation and this fertile state’s responsibility to feed the world.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Farmersville lets drought-stricken neighbors hook up to city water – Farmersville is coming to the rescue of its drought-stricken neighbor by allowing residents of Cameron Creek Colony rural subdivision to hook up to the city’s water system.  Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stockton Police hiring starting to outpace attrition – Perhaps only in Stockton would there be cause for excitement over a police department’s purchase of additional lockers. But in this case, the need provides tangible validation that the shorthanded force’s difficult push to hire new officers finally might be gaining traction.  Stockton Record article

Ex-wife arrested in slaying of Exeter police officer — The ex-wife of an Exeter police officer who was found slain in his Goshen home Friday has been arrested, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Saturday evening.  Fresno Bee article

Lois Henry: Remorse? Well, that was silly of me to expect — Sometimes the road to justice can be long, painful and, frankly, a little strange. As of Friday afternoon, justice was finally served for David Jacobson, who the rest of the world knew as Jerry Crook.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian


Mindy Rivera: Civics education needs remedial work – The director of the California Civic Engagement Project writes, “We need to do a much better job of introducing young people to the civic and electoral process. Voting is habit-forming. Young people who vote at age 18 are likely to keep voting as they get older. Engaging young voters means creating future generations of citizens who will show up at the ballot box, invigorating our democracy.”  Rivera op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Larry White: Opinions are not facts, just opinions — Let’s talk about the classroom as a forum for public discourse. Your opinion is not right. Seriously, YOUR opinion is NOT correct. And neither is that of anyone else. That does not mean your opinion is wrong, but just that it is your opinion, and opinions are supposed to be up for discussion. White column in Stockton Record


Protestors march in Oakland, push for Jerry Brown to ban fracking – Thousands of antifracking activists took to Oakland’s streets Saturday to call for Gov. Jerry Brown to change his stance and ban the controversial practice, which uses large amounts of a pressurized water mixture to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Ex-PG&E adversary Mike Florio, now with PUC, on ethical hot seat — Thanks to that reputation, built over 30 years as an advocate for customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and other utilities, Florio saw himself as uniquely positioned to publicly and privately support PG&E in the fallout over the San Bruno gas disaster after Gov. Jerry Brown named him to the California Public Utilities Commission in 2011.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

Kern County’s vaccination rates beat the state’s – Kern County has a bad reputation for exceeding the statewide average for a host of medical ills including heart disease and diabetes, but vaccination rates are one of the region’s few bright spots. The state tracks immunization rates for kindergarteners and seventh graders. At Kern County schools, 93.5 percent of students enrolled in kindergarten were fully immunized this academic year, compared with 90.4 percent statewide.  Bakersfield Californian article

Vaccine avoiders put California at risk — Low immunization rates, public health and infectious disease experts say, leave the state exceptionally vulnerable to outbreaks, not just of measles but potentially other diseases like mumps, rubella and whooping cough.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Whooping cough vaccine failing for many patients — The paradox – high infection rates amid high immunization rates – underscores a disturbing truth about the current whooping cough vaccine: It is wearing off after just a few years, and many Californians who thought they were protected instead are catching the disease.  Sacramento Bee article

Robert Oakes: Mental health money is well spent – The executive director of County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California writes, “Publicly available data unequivocally show that implementation of the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act meets the intent of voters: reducing homelessness, incarceration, and emergency room use by Californians with serious mental illness.”  Oakes op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Dr. Stephen Seager: A violent place we call a hospital – The staff psychiatrist at Napa State Hospital writes, “Like all five California state forensic mental hospitals, Napa State Hospital, where I work, suffers from a plague of violence. Top administrators who oversee the system, however, are slow to respond.” Seager op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Malcolm Dougherty: Caltrans making progress, but funding lags – The Caltrans director writes, “With the engagement of the California Transportation Commission, Caltrans will continue its efforts to improve efficiency, modernize processes and align resources to create a safe, sustainable and efficient transportation system. More needs to be done, but progress is being made.” Dougherty op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other Areas

Key figure in CalPERS bribery scandal lived large, died leaving tangle of questions — Living like a high roller right to the bitter end, Alfred Villalobos had himself chauffeured to the shooting range where police say he killed himself last month, putting a bullet through his head.  Sacramento Bee article

Widow spirals into homelessness – Gone is the middle-class life Washington’s widow once enjoyed, the family fishing trips, the daily laughter of a big family. Erica Washington, now 44, lost everything: her children, her house, three cars, her personal belongings, even her dignity. She became homeless a decade ago, and her oldest son, Keyontae, 25 — raised for several years in foster care — now lives with her in a tent under a freeway.  Stockton Record article

Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star reporters honored for investigative series – A joint investigation by Modesto Bee and Merced Sun-Star reporters into a flurry of Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits filed in the northern San Joaquin Valley has been recognized with a McClatchy Co. President’s Award for journalism excellence.  Modesto Bee article

Civil rights leader Julian Bond urges next generation to take action, find solutions — Civil rights leader Julian Bond spoke of his life and his work with Martin Luther King Jr., sharing hard-won wisdom and a gracious wit with a packed house Saturday night at the Modesto Junior College 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. Modesto Bee article

Donald Blount: The special bond between parent and child — Today would have been my father’s 83rd birthday. Unfortunately, he died of multiple myeloma, a blood disorder, in 1996. On his 64th birthday we gave him a surprise birthday party, his cancer well advanced had given him a reprieve that day so as surprised as we was, I believe he had enjoyed the party more than anyone.  Blount column in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Finally, reason takes over in measles debate.

Modesto Bee – We need a better way to honor our greatest president.

Sacramento Bee – The Great Almond Rush has brought billions to the state’s economy. But it has also raised existential questions about water rights, land use and development, the environment, ethical food policy, fracking, job creation and this fertile state’s responsibility to feed the world.