January 11, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Tax issue nags Jerry Brown — State taxation of multistate and multinational corporations is not an issue for the fainthearted. The formulas for calculating their tax liabilities are complex and interpreting them has involved decades of political and legal wrangling, fueled by the issue’s multibillion-dollar stakes. The issue bugged Jerry Brown during his first governorship four decades ago and as his second governorship winds down, it’s still percolating. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

George Skelton: In state budget, too many good programs can sometimes be bad — Gov. Jerry Brown‘s new state spending plan could be called a chicken budget — as in the chickens are coming home to roost. Not bad chickens, mind you. But expensive. The birds I’m talking about are programs, mostly worthwhile, that Sacramento previously enacted. Now they have to be paid for. Skelton column in LA Times

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kamala Harris, Lorettz Sanchez shop for Democratic Party endorsement for Senate – The party endorsement has traditionally been a powerful signal to voters, particularly those not familiar with the candidates. Harris and her chief rival, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, are reaching out to communicate with delegates as part of their steep climb for the nod at the party’s February gathering in San Jose. Sacramento Bee article

Cathleen Decker: Kamala Harris shows she’s still a U.S. Senate candidate under construction – As her campaign seeks to establish a more invigorated public presence with five months to go before the Senate primary, Harris remains a candidate under construction, demonstrating glimmers of the star many in her party hope she will be and, as well, of the uncertain presence some fear she is. Overall, she exuded Sunday the sense of a candidate trying hard to please as many people as possible. Decker in LA Times

Kamala Harris calls armed Oregon standoff ‘obnoxious’ — California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, on Sunday sharply criticized the armed activists occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon, calling the protestors “crazy” and their actions “obnoxious.” Sacramento Bee article

Harris on Sanchez’s Muslim remarks: ‘Let’s just call it what it is’ — U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Sunday challenged Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s contested remarks about Muslims and terrorism. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Can tech really disrupt gun violence? – Though many Second Amendment advocates say they have no problem with smart-gun technology, the gun lobby has not embraced the innovations due to concerns that the devices will become mandatory. And big manufacturers remain hesitant to work with the fledgling technologists for fear of alienating customers or, worse, the politically powerful National Rifle Association. San Francisco Chronicle article 

How things change when there is a mass shooting in your legislative district – When news broke of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) knew he’d call Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands), stepping into an uncomfortably familiar role of counseling a member ofCongress whose district just went through a tragedy. LA Times article 

Obama executive actions could benefit California – California is way ahead of President Obama’s executive action to expand background checks on firearm sales: The state, for years, has required the checks for all gun sales, even between private sellers. But Arizona, Nevada and Texas — the source of many of the firearms used in California crimes — do not. So the new federal regulations could help stem the flow of firearms into the Golden State. San Jose Mercury News article

Poll: Obama job approval stable in California – President Barack Obama’s job ratings are relatively steady in California, with 56 percent of voters approving of his performance, according to a new poll. Obama’s approval rating dipped slightly from 60 percent in October, yet views of the president remained higher here than nationally, the Field Poll showed. Sacramento Bee article

Supreme Court weighs union fees for teachers: Is it a matter of free speech? – The outcome of a major case on labor unions before the Supreme Court on Monday may turn on whether the conservative justices adopt a broad view of the free-speech rights of public employees, a position that liberals had favored before. LA Times articleNew York Times article

French train hero Spencer Stone: ‘I feel great’ — Spencer Stone, one of three young men from Sacramento who gained worldwide fame for foiling a mass shooting in Europe in August, will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama. Sacramento Bee article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Kern’s use of oral swab in DUI case watched nationwide – A recent Kern County case in which oral swab evidence was used to convict a man of driving under the influence is being watched by law enforcement officials nationwide, who believe it will set legal precedent and could popularize the technology. Bakersfield Californian article

Will California’s booming economy pay off in pupil spending? — Soaring tax revenues have carried per-pupil education spending in California beyond where it stood before the recession, but even the record sum proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is unlikely to reverse the state’s standing as a comparative miser when it comes to investing in public schools, advocates and education officials said. AP article

Jobs and the Economy

CalSTRS $11.5 billion reserve: money well spent? — The state makes large annual payments to a CalSTRS supplemental fund with a reserve that more than doubled in the past six years to $11.5 billion, while the fund’s annual payments to retirees dropped from $348 million to $193 million. Calpensions article

FTC chairwoman calls for legislation to tackle hidden resort fees —  To stop hotels from charging hidden resort fees, Federal Trade CommissionChairwoman Edith Ramirez has suggested that Congress draft new legislation instead of having the consumer protection agency investigate hotels on a case-by-case basis. LA Times article

Homeless ‘safe ground’ back in the mix for Sacramento — The protest has generated new attention toward one of the city’s most pressing – and seemingly intractable – social issues. After years of political resistance, that energy is leading some at City Hall to consider a city-approved “safe ground,” an outdoor encampment with on-site services designed to provide a transitional springboard for the homeless into permanent housing. Sacramento Bee article 

Tax code change expected to be financial benefit to Sacramento region’s arts nonprofits — A recent change to the U.S. Tax Code is being seen by Sacramento area nonprofits as a major win for their capacity to raise funds through charitable giving. Sacramento Bee article


Demise of Klamath River deal could rekindle old water-use battles — The demise of a deal to end decades of feuding on the Klamath River could rekindle old battles over water use and dams in a remote corner of California. LA Times article

How an anonymous blogger stands out on California water policy – On a Thursday in February four years ago, the self-described “low-level civil servant” who produces OnthePublicRecord.org, an anonymous blog about California water, posted an existential lament about life amid the policy wonks. LA Times article 

Land purchase for Monson’s water system to be considered — The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will consider authorizing the purchase of property where the Monson community water system will be installed. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Bill Blake, iconic Merced lawman, dies at 65 – Friends say he was a warm, colorful, passionate and fearless leader who mentored generations of Merced County sheriff’s deputies. Bill Blake, a legend in Merced County law enforcement who served nearly 40 years with the Sheriff’s Office, has died. He was 65. Merced Sun-Star article 

Bee Investigator: Here’s when to call – and not to call – 911 – A lot of people, it turns out, question when it’s appropriate to call 911. Modesto police spokeswoman Heather Graves said it’s one of the most common questions at Neighborhood Watch meetings. Modesto Bee article

Ex-convict who owes victims $8 million vacations at beach resort – Convicted swindler Tony Daniloo enjoyed luxury cars and jewelry while bilking millions of dollars from victims in Modesto, Turlock and beyond. When he had trouble keeping a job soon after his release from prison three years ago, a federal judge agreed to lower Daniloo’s repayment duty to $50 a month. Daniloo, now a handyman, remains under order to pay a combined $8 million. His victims have not received a cent, yet a judge granted Daniloo permission to vacation last month with his girlfriend at a Mexico beach resort. Modesto Bee article

Lawyers for LA County sheriff’s sergeant wants ‘potty watch’ case dismissed — David Moser, a newly promoted Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant, was in his first day of training at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic when he saw an inmate handcuffed to a wall. LA Times article


New York stumbles, California advances on Common Core implementation — If there is a prime example of how one state mismanaged the implementation of the Common Core standards, triggering massive opposition, and how another did it deliberately, with a relatively smooth implementation and considerable public support, look no further than New York and California. EdSource article


Solar surges past wind, hydropower as state’s No. 1 renewable energy source — In just a few short years, solar power has gotten big in California, and now it’s at the top of the renewable energy heap. KQED report

Health/Human Services  

California regulators are urged to scrutinize health insurance mega-mergers – California is becoming a battleground state in the fight over health insurance mega-mergers. Consumer advocates are putting pressure on regulators in California and a dozen other key states to scrutinize the deals amid concerns that consumers will be left with fewer choices and higher costs. LA Times article 

Daniel O. Jamison: Is Obamacare a mistake? – The attorney and chair of the health law section at Dowling Aaron Inc. in Fresno writes, “Irrespective whether Obamacare was a mistake, it is a mistake not to heed President George Washington’s counsel that ‘the alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge,’ can lead to such disorder that a tyrant who promises order will rise ‘on the ruins of public liberty.’” Jamison op-ed in Fresno Bee 


Synchronized traffic lights coming soon to busy Merced streets — Any driver who takes G Street, Olive Avenue, Yosemite Avenue, M Street or 16th Street during their morning commute or other peak hours knows the pain of sitting in traffic while watching the clock tick closer to punch-in time at work. These are just a few streets that come to mind. Merced Sun-Star article

Other areas

Stanislaus County leaders could keep ban on medical pot outlets – Stanislaus County supervisors will make an attempt Tuesday to comply with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which creates stronger regulation of cultivation and other medical pot activities in California. Modesto Bee article

Cities scramble to beat state deadline on marijuana cultivation ordinances – Officials from cities throughout San Joaquin County said this week that the plethora of new or amended medical marijuana ordinances being enacted this month are not designed to make the drug illegal but are merely measures to retain local control of enforcement and regulation. Stockton Record article 

Fresno Chaffee Zoo, once downtrodden, now a model for the latest exhibits – It wasn’t long ago that Fresno Chaffee Zoo was battling for its very existence, but today it’s a destination for zoo officials nationwide who want to see some of the latest in animal exhibits. Fresno Bee article

Tulare County may seek bids to build new communications tower – The Tulare County Board of Supervisors is expected to reject on Tuesday three bids to build a new county communications tower in the Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge north of Springville. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Stockton City Council to begin looking at filling vacant seat – The process to replace Moses Zapien on the City Council will begin Wednesday if the proposed procedure for filling the vacancy wins approval at Tuesday’s meeting. Stockton Record article

Fighting erupts at Turlock’s Sikh temple – Fighting erupted at the Sikh Temple in Turlock on Sunday, and city police as well as officers from surrounding agencies converged at the Fifth Street site to quell the disturbance. Modesto Bee article

Fitz’s Stockton: Putting ‘Stalkton’ on the map – In December, Mayor Anthony Silva released a booklet outlining his vision for, among other unlikely things, a soaring waterfront “Stockton Tower.” Chuck Barnard got busy. Barnard, 87, is the retired executive art director for Ad Art. Ad Art makes big, dazzling signs. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record

Gotta go? Single-stall unisex restrooms may become law in San Francisco — Businesses and city buildings in San Francisco would be required to make single-stall restrooms available to “all genders,” under legislation to be introduced Tuesday by Supervisor David CamposSan Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – If you want good health, eat your vegetables.

Sacramento Bee – Some parts of the Central Valley are sinking, and time is running out to make the hard choices to slow the overpumping of groundwater causing it.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “How Political Influence is Changing California’s Political Landscape – Guest: CALmatters reporter Lauren Rosenhall. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “” – Guests:. 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.


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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