January 12, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Poll finds rare agreement in California on some gun-control steps — Californians on both sides of the political aisle strongly agree that it’s a good idea to ban gun sales to people on the federal “no fly” list and require anyone buying ammunition to undergo a background check, but they remain split on the overall subject of greater limits on gun ownership, according to a new Field Poll. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Analyst calls Jerry Brown’s budget ‘prudent’ — The Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst on Monday called Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal a “prudent” spending plan, while arguing he may underestimate the amount of available revenue. Sacramento Bee article
State budget

Joe Mathews: An irresponsible budget — The January budget announcement was a dispiriting reminder: Gov. Jerry Brown is a fetishist, not a strategist. His fetish is being cheap in budget terms. He was cheap at the beginning of his term when the California economy and budget were a mess. He was cheap a couple years in when things had improved. And he’s still cheap now that we’re flush. Mathews in Fox & Hounds 

Valley politics

AD 31: Hopefuls clash over payday lender contributions – Over the weekend, 31st Assembly District candidate Clint Olivier took to Twitter to slam his main opponent for the seat, Joaquin Arambula, after learning that the Kingsburg Democrat had accepted campaign contributions from two different payday lenders. It turns out, however, that Olivier – currently serving his second term on the Fresno City Council – has also accepted money from the controversial industry, which offers short-term loans at sky-high interest rates and has been criticized for preying on the poor. Fresno Bee article

Bredefeld drops out of Fresno City Council race – Garry Bredefeld, who five weeks ago said he’d seek to recapture his old District 6 Fresno City Council seat, said Monday he’s pulling out of the race. The decision is health related as Bredefeld, 56, continues to recover from cancer, a battle that took up almost all of 2014. Fresno Bee article

Two announce candidacies for Kern judgeship — Both announced their candidacy for judgeships in Kern County Monday, but that’s where the similarities between the candidacies of Ken Green and Arturo Revelo end. Green is a prosecutor, Revelo a defense attorney. Green is running unopposed for the seat of retiring Judge Gary Witt, while Revelo is challenging sitting Judge Cory Woodward in Mojave. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joel Fox: Ballot manipulation — The California Supreme Court decision to allow an advisory measure on the statewide ballot may appear to promote democracy. However, there is little doubt that the proposed ballot measure is another in a line of maneuvers by the Democratic majority in the legislature to manipulate the ballot. Fox in Fox & Hounds

California could see new political party with independence goal — The state’s voter registration rolls someday could include a political party with the central goal of making California independent from the rest of the United States. Secretary of State Alex Padilla last week notified county election officials to begin tracking the number of voters affiliating with the California National Party. Sacramento Bee article

Merchant backs disability access reform – Jerry Brannon, owner of Brannon Tire and other Stockton businesses, recently settled a disability access lawsuit over violations at Advanced Trailer Sales on Wilson Way. But despite paying a few thousand dollars to Scott Johnson — a serial plaintiff who has filed dozens of similar suits against San Joaquin County businesses in recent months — and many thousands more in attorney fees and court costs, he has not given up the fight. Rather he has thrown additional financial support behind an initiative to reform California’s disability access laws. Stockton Record article

US border agents to inspect US-bound trucks on Mexican soil — For the first time, U.S. border authorities will inspect trucks entering the United States on Mexican soil, working simultaneously with Mexican counterparts. AP article

Other areas

Poll: Californians’ views on gun control unchanged by San Bernardino attack – The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino last month had little, if any, effect on Californians’ views on gun control, with the electorate continuing to favor stricter measures by about the same margin they’ve held for more than a decade, according to a new poll. Sacramento Bee article 

Assembly elects Anthony Rendon to serve as next speaker – Members of the state Assembly tapped Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, a Lakewood Democrat, to be the next leader of the chamber Monday, signaling–but not fully ushering in–the ascent of a new generation of lawmakers in the Capitol. LA Times articleKQED reportSacramento Bee article

Supreme Court seems poised to reject mandatory union fees for teachers – The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared ready Monday to strike down mandatory fees collected by the California Teachers Association and other public-sector unions from workers who do not belong. McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times articleNew York Times articleEdSource article

Sacramento Bee: In Friedrichs case, justices should follow precedent, side with labor – Flawed though it is, organized labor is one of the few forces that works to limit corporate overreach. We hope the court doesn’t further tilt electoral politics by eroding public employee unions’ ability to fund their efforts. Sacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters: Supreme Court could hit unions in wallet – Even as the big public employee unions such as the California Teachers Association pursue their agendas this year in the Legislature and in ballot measures – on taxes, particularly – a pending U.S. Supreme Court case threatens to reduce their political power. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California labor unions react to Supreme Court dues debate — State and local public union officials plowed through a 100-page U.S. Supreme Court transcript on Monday, trying to divine how the nine justices are leaning in a case with the potential to tie a knot in the pipeline of money that feeds their treasuries. Sacramento Bee article

Ballot selfies are illegal, but this Bay Area legislator says they shouldn’t be – Beyonce’s done it, Sean Hannity’s done it, and we all know Kim Kardashian has done it too. Now a Bay Area lawmaker wants all California voters to be able to do it too, without the threat of arrest. That is, take selfies in the voting booth. LA Times article 

Martha Coakley: Legislators should debate daily fantasy sports – The former attorney general of Massachusetts writes, “Elected officials, regulators and reporters continue to grapple with the new phenomenon of daily fantasy sports. Yet what’s curious – even troubling – about California’s recent approaches to the issue are voices such as Assemblyman Marc Levine, who seems to suggest that legislators have no role to play in addressing regulatory shortfalls and protecting consumers.” Coakley op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Hero who thwarted train attack considers career in politics – Spencer Stone plans to finish his commitment to the U.S. Air Force then use his veteran benefits to pursue a college degree. After that, he said, he may consider a career in politics, though he described himself as a typical 23-year-old who frequently changes his mind. AP article

Congressman Valadao to bring Delano police officer to State of the Union as guest – U.S. Rep. David G. Valadao will bring an officer of the Delano Police Department as his guest for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address on Jan. 12. Valadao said he chose officer Mark Morales to honor the sacrifices and service of law enforcement officers. Fresno Bee article

These Californians all have tickets to State of the Union address — Several members of the San Bernardino community will watch from the House gallery on Tuesday night as President Obama gives his final State of the Union speech. With the aid of two California colleagues, Rep. Pete Aguilar invited San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and Loma Linda University Medical Center emergency department nurse James Parnell to be his guests. First responders have been praised for calmly managing the December terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center. LA Times article

Poll shows majority in West opposes giving states control over federal land — According to the Conservation in the West poll, sponsored by Colorado College and now in its sixth year, 58% of people questioned in seven states in the Mountain West oppose giving state governments control over federal public lands and 60% oppose selling “significant holdings” of public lands, such as national forests, to reduce the budget deficit. LA Times article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

UC applications top 200,000 for first time — Getting into the University of California just got even more competitive: The system announced on Monday that it received a record number of applications for the 12th consecutive year, topping 200,000 for the first time. Sacramento Bee articleSan Jose Mercury News articleLA Times article 

UC Merced applications outpace other campuses — The number of applications to UC Merced continues to grow faster than any other campus in the University of California system, the school reported Monday. Total applications to attend UC Merced from first-year and transfer students grew by 13.5 percent compared to the same time last year. Merced Sun-Star article

High-speed rail board considers contract for third San Joaquin Valley segment — The third of three construction contracts for designing and building a high-speed rail line through the San Joaquin Valley could be awarded Tuesday by the California High-Speed Rail AuthorityFresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Nationally renowned economist delivers upbeat forecast to Fresno Rotarians – At a Monday luncheon presentation to Downtown Fresno Rotarians, Gary Schlossberg, senior economist at Wells Capital Management, predicted 2016 should be “a better and less tumultuous” year economically than 2015. The Business Journal article 

NFL consensus builds for a Rams-Chargers stadium project in Inglewood — On the brink of a vote that could return the NFL to Los Angeles, a consensus is building within the league for the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to share a stadium in Inglewood. LA Times article

Carmen George: Valley Dream Center moves into Fresno’s ‘ground zero’ to help those living in poverty – Shortly after founding Valley Dream Center two years ago to help alleviate poverty, Rene Charest went in search of a headquarters for the Fresno nonprofit’s “ground zero.” The executive pastor at Valley Christian Center knew the needs of those living in poverty in Fresno were far greater than his church could handle alone. So he created a nonprofit, Valley Dream Center, and assembled a team of allies – a number of partner organizations, churches and businesses – to tackle the problem together. George in Fresno Bee

LA tourism sets record for 5th straight year —  Los Angeles has set a tourism record for the fifth year in a row. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city’s tourism board say 45.5 million people visited the city last year — up by nearly 3 percent or about 1.3 million visitors from 2014. AP article

The effect of Obamacare on employment — Nearly a year ago, the CEO of the parent company that owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s made a significant claim. “Obamacare,” said Andy Puzder, “has caused millions of full-time jobs to become part-time.” It’s just one of many bold predictions that the health care reform law would lead to employers reducing workers’ hours to avoid the costs of providing insurance to their workers.   Yet, a new report in the journal Health Affairs finds little evidence that the health care law is pushing people out of full-time work. Marketplace article 

LA pot shops plan to go to the ballot box to get city permits — To smooth the way for local cannabis shops to get state approval, Bolaños said her group wants to ask voters to approve a new measure this fall, one that would create a city system for permitting marijuana businesses. Bolaños said her group plans to submit their proposed measure by the end of the week. LA Times article 

The State of Women in Silicon Valley: Unwanted sexual advances — Unwanted sexual advances. Deemed “too aggressive” or “too quiet.” Overlooked at meetings. That’s the state of being a woman in tech, according to a new surveySan Jose Mercury News article

Turlock Chamber of Commerce sifting candidates for a new leader — The search is on for a permanent leader for the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, expected to take the helm in April of a streamlined organization with its recent troubles behind it. As of Friday, more than a dozen applicants had put in for the job ahead of the Jan. 22 deadline, said interim chief Paul Wright, a past chamber leader who stepped in after the retirement of Sharon Silva. Modesto Bee article 

Martin Snider: State scientists are getting stiffed on pay – The research scientist with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control writes, “State scientists understand that Californians want an efficient, frugal government. But residents also value the work we do to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, ensure safe food and water, conserve natural resources and prevent disease. So, too, should Gov. Brown.” Snider op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Snowpack in Kern River watershed still slightly below normal – Closer to home, the snowpack in the Kern River watershed, which feeds the City of Bakersfield, supplies irrigation water for many area farms, and helps replace depleted groundwater, is still below normal. Though not by much. Bakersfield Californian article 

Timothy Quinn: Agencies deserve credit for water supply investments – The executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies writes, “If the State Water Board’s current approach continues in 2016, there could be little incentive for public water agencies and their ratepayers to invest in additional drought-proof supplies. Water agencies also could see damage to their credibility with customers if they cannot use the very tools paid for with ratepayer dollars.” Quinn op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Public Policy Institute of California blog: State’s ecosystems face a flood of changes — With El Niño making an impressive new year’s debut, talk of drought has turned to worries about floods. How will the state’s drought-starved ecosystems adapt to the taps being turned on again? We talked with Joshua Viers, an ecological engineer at UC Merced and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about California ecosystems’ response to flooding. PPIC blog 

Ready for El Nino? Here’s what most homeowners don’t know about flood insurance – Even those people with flood policies may be in for a disappointing surprise. The National Flood Insurance Program draws careful distinctions about what kind of damage it covers. And although FEMA says that buying insurance “puts you in control,” some victims of previous storms say that even with flood insurance, they were left feeling helpless. LA Times article

Friant Water Authority names new chief executive — The Friant Water Authority, which operates the Friant-Kern Canal, has hired Jason Phillips as its first chief executive officer in hopes of avoiding a third year of zero water deliveries in the California drought. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Spraying case under scrutiny — Twenty months after a helicopter herbicide spraying operation over two Delta islands allegedly went awry, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is investigating whether civil or criminal prosecution is warranted. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stanislaus County report discusses first-year fallout from Prop 47 – Local law enforcement agencies have made fewer arrests, and there has been a sharp decrease in felony prosecutions since Proposition 47 became law more than a year ago. Modesto Bee article

California prisons end controversial visitor strip searches – California prison officials are ending visitor strip searches in response to a recent change in state law, but visitors will face increased scrutiny for a year if traces of drugs are detected by dogs or airport-style scanners. AP article
Merced County Sheriff’s Office swears in 20 new employees – The Merced County Sheriff’s Office swore in 20 new employees Monday morning in a continuing effort to bolster the department’s ranks. The new employees will fill various positions, including animal control officers, deputy trainees, court bailiffs, dispatchers and patrol deputies. Many of the new hires have previous experience in law enforcement, an important selling point for the Sheriff’s Office, which lost many of its experienced deputies last year to better-paying jobs. Merced Sun-Star article

LAPD chief recommends criminal charges for officer in fatal shooting of homeless man in Venice – Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has recommended criminal charges against an officer who killed an unarmed homeless man in Venice, marking the first time as chief that Beck has called for charges in a fatal on-duty shooting. LA Times article

Convicting an officer in an on-duty shooting is an uphill climb —  If the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office agrees to Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck’s request for criminal charges against an officer who shot and killed a homeless man in Venice last year, it would set the stage for an extremely rare kind of case in California, that of a police officer charged in an on-duty shooting. LA Times article 

Homicides up in Bay Area’s biggest cities — The Bay Area’s biggest cities fought hard to reduce homicides — and in 2014shrunk them to the lowest level since 2001. But the momentum shifted a bit in 2015, with killings up nearly 10 percent, underscoring that law enforcement and community leaders have more work to do. San Francisco Chronicle article


Brown says its time to abandon API to judge schools’ performance – Members of the State Board of Education who favor replacing the three-digit Academic Performance Index with a “dashboard” of measurements highlighting school performance can count on the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown. EdSource article 

Data Tracker: See which colleges nationwide attract the most California students – Almost 40,000 California residents left the state to start college at a four-year university in 2014, nearly double the number leaving in 2006, according to new data submitted by colleges to the U.S. Department of Education. By comparison, about 15,000 students left other states in 2014 to start college in California. Sacramento Bee article

Visalia Unified looks to expand kindergarten hours – Visalia students entering kindergarten this Fall can expect to be in class as long as their older siblings. The Visalia Unified School District will discuss the proposition of all-day kindergarten at Tuesday’s school board meeting. If adopted, students across the district would switch from a three-hour day to an all-day schedule. Visalia Times-Delta article

Bakersfield City School District seeks input on superintendent search — The Bakersfield City School District is seeking people’s input on what qualities they would like to see in the agency’s next superintendent during two public forums next week. Bakersfield Californian article

Michelle King is named superintendent for LA Unified — The Los Angeles Board of Education on Monday named Deputy Supt. Michelle King as superintendent, ending a high-stakes search to fill a challenging and hard-to-fill job at a seminal time in California’s largest school systemLA Times article

Winton teacher shows students how to pay it forward — Jose Olguin spent his 36th birthday completing tasks assigned to him by his students. But they weren’t just any tasks. They were 36 random acts of kindness, all to be finished in one day – his birthday. Merced Sun-Star article


State senator wants older Aliso Canyon gas wells shut until they are inspected — Older natural gas wells operated by Southern California Gas Co. at Aliso Canyon should be shut down until state officials and an outside agency can verify that they do not pose a risk to public health, a state senator said Monday. LA Times article

No breath tests in these roadside checks — A CHP unit with emergency lights blinking stands guard as vehicles on well-traveled Kiernan Avenue funnel from two lanes into one, then slow to a stop near a temporary shelter. Sobriety checkpoint? No – it’s only 10 in the morning, on a Monday no less. A man in an orange safety jacket assures drivers they’re in no trouble and asks if they’d like to participate in a roadside smog check. Most decline and are waved on, but plenty agree and patiently wait their turn in a shortish line. Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Report: Residency program humming along at Clinica – The family practice medical residency program Clinica Sierra Vista took over from Kern Medical Center is doing well, clinic chain CEO Steve Schilling told Kern County supervisors Monday. Bakersfield Californian article

Better treatment for breast cancer hasn’t boosted the benefit of mammograms, study says – The goal of cancer screening is to reduce the number of cancer deaths by finding tumors when they are still small and, presumably, easier to treat. But a new study finds that in the case of breast cancer, improvements in treatment have barely changed the benefit of using mammograms as a screening tool. LA Times article 

Bay Area biologist’s gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen table – On the kitchen table of his cramped apartment, Josiah Zayner is performing the feat that is transforming biology. In tiny vials, he’s cutting, pasting and stirring genes, as simply as mixing a vodka tonic. Next, he slides his new hybrid creations, living in petri dishes, onto a refrigerator shelf next to the vegetables. San Jose Mercury News article

San Francisco supervisor wants junk food out of vending machines — Supervisor Mark Farrell on Tuesday will introduce legislation that would ban sugary and fatty items from the approximately 150 vending machines on city property — including at City Hall and the airport — and would also require city meetings to feature healthier food. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Natalie Bolin: CWS working to treat childhood – and parents’ – trauma – The manager for Tulare County Child Welfare Services writes, “In 2013, Tulare County Child Welfare Services (CWS) partnered with the Chadwick Center for Children & Families to implement trauma-informed screening and practices as an extension of the existing partnership between CWS and Tulare County Mental Health Services.” Bolin op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Stem cell agency’s key meetings going live on the Internet — With no fanfare, California’s $3 billion stem cell agency is making a significant step forward in openness and transparency regarding the dealings of its governing board, which operates outside of the control of the governor and Legislature. Capitol Weekly article

Former California health regulator agrees to a fine for helping Kaiser – A former top regulator for the state who was involved in an audit of Kaiser Permanente before going to work for the HMO has admitted she acted improperly and has agreed to pay a fine, according to documents released Monday. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Bakersfield releases updated environmental review of 24th Street project — The City of Bakersfield is circulating for public review an updated environmental impact report on the controversial reconstruction of 24th Street downtown. The 2013 document had to be updated after a Kern County Superior Court judge ruled, in a case brought by a citizens group, that it was inadequate. Bakersfield Californian article 


Sacramento transit crime dropped in 2015, agency reports — Crime on Sacramento Regional Transit buses and trains dropped for the second consecutive year in 2015, the agency announced Monday. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Modesto considers medical pot rules – The Modesto City Council will consider Tuesday limiting the cultivation of medical marijuana to qualified patients and primary caregivers, and grows that must be indoors and take up no more than 50 square feet. Modesto Bee article

Panelists look at school and work safety – The first 210 forum of the year shed light on a topic many have been thinking about since the tragic San Bernardino attacks in early December. What’s being done to keep us safe at work and school? Visalia Times-Delta article

Wearing unearned medals is protected by 1st Amendment, appeals court rules – A military veteran persuaded a federal appeals court Monday to overturn his conviction for wearing a medal he didn’t earn. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said a portion of a federal law that made it a crime to wear an unearned military medal violated freedom of speech rights. LA Times article

1906 San Francisco earthquake’s last survivor dies at 109 — The last known survivor of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire died Monday, three months shy of the 110th anniversary of the disaster that killed 3,000 people and forever changed the face of the city. San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento won’t discuss investigation of sexual harassment claims against Councilman Allen Warren — An outside law firm hired by the city of Sacramento has completed its investigation into a sexual harassment claim made last year against City Councilman Allen Warren, but city officials are refusing to release documents related to the investigation or discuss its findings. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Whatever actor Sean Penn’s cloak-and-dagger interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is – vanity project, movie treatment, friendly chat between celebrity and sociopath – treating it as real journalism would be a mistake.

Sacramento Bee – Whatever actor Sean Penn’s cloak-and-dagger interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is – vanity project, movie treatment, friendly chat between celebrity and sociopath – treating it as real journalism would be a mistake; In Friedrichs case, U.S. Supreme Court justices should follow precedent, side with labor.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers on citizens watching water usage, good economic news for San Joaquin County and other issues.

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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