February 8, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California issued 605,000 new driver’s licenses for immigrants in the U.S. illegally last year — An estimated 605,000 licenses were issued under the law last year, accounting for nearly half of all new licenses, according to the California DMV. Nearly 400,000 of the licenses were issued during the first six months. LA Times article

State Sen. Andy Vidak: Gov. Brown, please stop holding BARC hostage – The Hanford Republican writes, “The governor’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year shows California’s budget growing to a record $124.4 billion, and tax revenues are up by an unanticipated $5.9 billion. Despite these record-setting tax revenues, Gov. Brown is again holding the developmentally disabled hostage in an attempt to raise taxes, while budgeting flush revenues for his pet legacy projects, like High-Speed Rail.” Vidak op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Valley politics 

AD 12: Modesto’s Zoslocki pulls out of Assembly race — Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki has ended his campaign to succeed Kristin Olsen in California’s 12th Assembly District, which covers eastern Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties and includes Turlock, Manteca and part of Modesto. Modesto Bee article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Sanchez’s claim about gun database rated ‘pants-on-fire’ — Critics have repeatedly attacked California Attorney General Kamala Harris for what they say is her slow progress investigating gun owners who are legally prohibited from having them. Capital Public Radio report


After recent ICE raids, church leaders offer refuge to Central Americans facing deportation — Rev. Fred Morris is familiar with violence in Latin America. Morris, currently leading North Hills United Methodist Church, survived detention and torture at the hands of Brazil’s military dictatorship in 1974. That’s one reason Morris said he’s ready to defy Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and offer his place of worship as a refuge for Central Americans facing imminent deportation to a region with escalating violence. LA Times article 

Other areas 

Supreme Court to render a verdict on Obama’s use of executive authority — Now, as President Obama begins his last year in office, the court is set to render a verdict on his use of his executive authority. The justices will decide whether he violated the law by authorizing more than 4 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation and obtain work permits. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Forecast predicts economic growth in 2016 for Merced, San Joaquin Valley — Forces from within Merced County and around the state will continue to improve the county’s economy in the coming years, according to a recently released report. Merced Sun-Star article

Dry February could bring problems for drought-stricken Valley — El Niño has given Central California a wet – and welcome – start to the rainy season, raising water levels in foothill reservoirs and blanketing the Sierra with snow. But the tap has been turned off for the foreseeable future. Fresno Bee article
Jobs and the Economy

Modesto considers leasing fire engines – A Modesto City Council committee will hear a Fire Department proposal Monday to start a fleet replacement program for aging fire engines and other vehicles. The program consists of leasing five engines and two ladder trucks from Pierce Manufacturing and PNC Equipment Finance. A city report says this is less expensive than purchasing vehicles. Modesto Bee article

California saves $12 million in new energy market – California’s participation in a growing network of power utilities and operators in the western U.S. called the Energy Imbalance Market yielded savings of $12 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, state power officials said Monday. Sacramento Bee article

Major tech hub taking shape in downtown Sacramento – There’s a century-old bank building at Seventh and J streets that is a remnant of this city’s past. It’s a stately looking structure, with large windows facing the street and masonry columns reaching seven stories into the sky. It also could be where Sacramento’s tech future finally takes off. Sacramento Bee article 

San Francisco a winner with out-of-town Super Bowl fans – Relax, San Francisco boosters. The world — at least the world of wealthy Super Bowl visitors — thinks the city is still wonderful. Even if it cost $700 a night to stay in somebody’s Airbnb and one Bud Light cost as much as a six-pack during the NFL’s high holy week. San Francisco Chronicle article

CalSTRS gets new power to set state, school rates — Little noticed at the time, the legislation (AB 1469) also gave CalSTRS some long-sought power to raise employer and state rates — a big step toward normalizing the teachers’ pension system and a rare loosening of legislative control over the state budget. Calpensions article

A Bay Area battle over proposed Warriors move from Oakland to San Francisco – A proposal to move the Golden State Warriors from Oakland to San Francisco’s Mission Bay district has given rise to a NIMBY battle on steroids, a dispute pitting billionaires against billionaires. LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: Dumping coal stock was easy, oil not so much — The decision by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System board last week to unload its remaining coal holdings was significant, but mostly for its symbolism. Sacramento Bee editorial

Christopher Cabaldon: Pacific trade pact means more jobs, higher wages for north state – The mayor of West Sacramento writes, “Leaders of 12 Pacific Rim countries signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday, the first step in approving this historic agreement that will support thousands of jobs in Northern California, while boosting wages and expanding opportunities for Americans investing overseas. Perhaps most importantly, this agreement tackles inequality in a way that no trade deal has ever done before – by raising global standards on human rights, labor and the environment.” Cabaldon op-ed in Sacramento Bee 


Getting ready for the Ag Expo – For John Jung, getting ready for this week’s World Ag Expo in Tulare isn’t all that different from his side job of helping his wife’s run her wedding-planning business. In both, the little details are important. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Don Curlee: U.S. water rules slam farmers — The controversial and widely criticized rule by the feds that seeks to take control of puddles, ponds and polliwogs throughout the United States has made its unwelcome appearance on a California farm. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Breakfast meetings spread word on farm pests — Several times each spring, farmers can get a hearty breakfast and the latest advice on how to manage pests in Stanislaus County. The University of California Cooperative Extension holds the 7 a.m. meetings, most recently at the Old Mill Cafe in Modesto, to spread the word about insects and diseases affecting tree and vine crops. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Lodi forum on gangs scheduled for Tuesday – In the wake of two shootings within days of each other last month, a forum will be held in Lodi next week to update the community on efforts to suppress gang-related violence. Stockton Record article

Beyonce back-up dancers held ‘Justice 4 Mario Woods’ sign at Super Bowl — Some of Beyoncé’s Super Bowl backup dancers held up a sign reading “Justice 4 Mario Woods” at Levi’s Stadium, referring to the 26-year-old man shot dead by San Francisco police officers in December. San Francisco Chronicle article


Legislative Analyst endorses parental choice program – The Legislative Analyst’s Office, after concluding that the District of Choiceprogram is working as intended, recommended in a report last month that the Legislature extend it for at least five years beyond its June 2017 sunset date. The analyst’s office said the program is providing students with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, while encouraging students’ former districts to compete to retain them by providing magnet programs and courses that parents want. EdSource article

George Skelton: How California can entice young people back to teaching — Some politicians in Sacramento are very concerned. Last week, they proposed legislation to try to make teaching more enticing. My favorite bill is one by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), a former middle school teacher. It would reinstate a student loan forgiveness program that was eliminated during the recession. Skelton column in LA Times article

NAACP taking students to black college expo — Dozens of Stockton high school juniors and seniors will take a free trip to Oakland on Saturday to learn about 50 universities and colleges most of them have never heard of. Stockton Record article


Dan Walters: Leadership dispute rekindles coastline conflict — There’s a new skirmish in California’s perpetual – and perpetually hyperbolic – conflict over development along the state’s 1,000-mile-long coastline. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Mercury, DDT and other contaminants in fish are at four-decade low — Fish in today’s oceans contain far lower levels of mercury, DDT and other toxic substances than at any time in the last four decades, according to a major review by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Why it took years for the FDA to warn about infections tied to medical scopes –  An outbreak at a Pennsylvania hospital in late 2012 should have been an early warning that a reusable medical scope was spreading deadly infections and nearly impossible to disinfect. But staff at the federal Food and Drug Administration lost the report, one of multiple missteps that allowed doctors and hospitals to continue using the scope for three more years even as dozens of patients were sickened. LA Times article

Kaweah Delta staff prepare for new cardiac device — The Impella mobile learning center made a stop at Kaweah Delta Health Care District Friday, where hundreds of staff accessed the hospital’s newest cardiac device. The Impella is the world’s smallest heart pump, according to the company that developed the machine, Abiomed. The device pulls blood from the left ventricle through an inlet area near the tip and expels blood from the catheter into the ascending aorta. Visalia Times-Delta article


Jose Gaspar: Kern sends mixed messages of heavy maintenance facility — All of Kern’s state reps oppose high-speed rail and in fact, so does Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason. But Gleason said he realizes HSR is coming whether anyone likes it or not and he wants to land the HMF and its associated jobs here. Not everyone buys that, however. Gaspar column in Bakersfield California

Other areas

Stanislaus Supervisor Dick Monteith poised to give state-of-the-county address — Board of Supervisors Chairman Dick Monteith will deliver the state-of-the-county speech Tuesday, which will lay out this year’s priorities for Stanislaus County government. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – When there’s the political will, there tends to be a political way to accomplish the impossible. It appears this finally may be the case with the nation’s long-ignored epidemic of heroin and prescription opioid addiction.

Sacramento Bee – The decision by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System board last week to unload its remaining coal holdings was significant, but mostly for its symbolism.

Maddy Events 

Sunday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: Californian’s View of State Regulation and the Environment: Too Much, Too Little or Just Right?  Guests: Public Policy Institute of California analyst Dean Bonner. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Adapting to Climate Change: Implications for the Valley” – Guests: John Capitman, executive director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, and Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

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

  • 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/

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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