January 18, 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

Emerging state Democratic leaders have little connection to the Valley – The problem for San Joaquin Valley Democrats — who enjoy voter-registration advantages in several districts, yet have lost them to rival Republicans — is that the up-and-comers are unlikely to excite the local electorate any more than the older generation did.  Fresno Bee article

UC president, Gov. Brown to jointly review university finances — Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano, who have butted heads over proposed tuition increases, are expected to team up next week as a rare two-person committee to review the 10-campus system’s spending patterns, graduation rates and pension costs and to evaluate the $3 billion California taxpayers spend annually on the university.  LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Dan Walters:  Brown’s pet proposition is just a stopgap – Gov. Jerry Brown exudes pride that voters approved Proposition 2, which creates California’s first meaningful budget reserve, hailing it as a bulwark against periodic flirtations with fiscal insolvency. However, even though legislators voted overwhelmingly to place it on the ballot, the rainy-day fund is causing friction in the Capitol just a few weeks after its passage.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

William Endicott: Brown has come to terms with heritage, it seems – The former deputy managing editor of The Sacramento Bee writes, “It’s likely that analysts will still be trying to figure out Jerry Brown long after his fourth and final term is over, but for now he seems anxious to embrace his heritage and come to terms at last with who he is and from whence he came.” Endicott op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Mike Dunbar: To Cannella and Denham, ideas matter — Why is it that we like our elected representatives best when they appear to be standing alone? It’s that old “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” image of the courageous individual refusing to violate his ideals vs. the compromisers and dealmakers. In reality, we need both – even in the same individual. We just prefer to embrace the idealist more than the realist. That brings us to two elected representatives – state Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock – who seem to be willing to stick to their ideals when it matters. Such backbone is worth noting.  Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Villaraigosa makes moves ahead of possible Senate run – Antonio Villaraigosa has been telling friends that he’s grown more resolute about mounting a challenge that key players in the Democratic Party didn’t consider him for. He relishes a possible role as an underdog, as he was in his City Council race and first two races for mayor, they said.  Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Dan Morain: Harris’ Senate ambitions are now more sizzle than substance – Even for Kamala Harris, glittery politician that she is, the rollout of her U.S. Senate campaign must’ve been heady stuff.  Morain column in Sacramento Bee

Joe Mathews: What should the next senator be? – California’s political class, predictably, is having the wrong conversation again. We’re talking about who should replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate. But we should be talking about what should replace Boxer.  Mathews in Bakersfield Californian

Is California’s declining turnout connected to higher poverty rates? — Much has been written about the abysmal voter turn out in this fall’s California election. Everything from voter apathy to sophisticated micro-targeting has been blamed for the record-low participation rates. But missing from much of the post-election analysis is a simple fact that has long been known to depress voter turn out – high rates of poverty are directly connected to lower rates of voter participation.  Grizzly Bear Project article

The remarkable California turnout curve – Political Data also gave us a pretty unique set of numbers: Turnout in November 2014 in California by age. Which allowed us to make this remarkable graph, showing how many voters at each individual age actually showed up to vote.  Washington Post article

Voters beware: 2016 ballot will likely be filled with propositions — California voters in November 2016 may be forced to read a ballot pamphlet as long and dense as a political science textbook — and oddly enough, they’ll have the millions who sat out last year’s sleepy elections to thank for the extra work.  Contra Costa Times article


Ruben Navarrette Jr.: GOP is caught in the immigration trap — After the vote by House Republicans to essentially kill the administration’s deferred action, I jotted down a list of what Republicans do wrong every time the topic of immigration comes up — mistakes that several of those who seek the 2016 GOP nomination are likely to make. Navarrette column in Fresno Bee

Other areas

Dave Palermo: Million-dollar gambling investigation in California reveals need for better regulation – The freelance writer who specializes in Indian tribal government gambling writes, “California boasts having the nation’s largest gambling industry with American Indian casinos, card rooms, race tracks and the lottery generating net revenues of roughly $10.4 billion a year. And the Legislature is again considering growing the gambling market even more with Internet poker. Unfortunately, California’s politically bifurcated system of regulating about 80 card rooms and providing oversight for 59 tribal casinos is highly dysfunctional, incapable of regulating what gambling is already legal in the state, let alone Internet poker.” Palermo op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Obama team tailors State of the Union for age of Twitter and YouTube – The State of the Union address is a century-old tradition that has served to set the president’s agenda for the coming year and reflect on the previous one in front of Congress and the country, but in 2015, just giving a speech in prime time is no longer enough. The platform that introduced to the world the Four Freedoms and the War on Poverty is now a Twitter-friendly, YouTube-able event to be consumed in as many ways as Americans have screens.  LA Times article

Obama to propose overhaul of capital gains and dividends taxes — President Obama, keeping up a push for what he calls tax fairness, plans to unveil a new package of tax proposals that target inherited assets, capital gains and large financial firms to pay for billions in new tax benefits for low- and middle-class taxpayers.  LA Times article; AP article; New York Times article

From traffic ticket to Supreme Court: a gay couple’s legal odyssey — At first, they were just joking. Thom Kostura had gotten a traffic ticket, and he and his partner Ijpe DeKoe had swung by a New York courthouse to pay it off. The county clerk’s office was right there. New York had legalized same-sex marriage about a week earlier in July 2011. DeKoe was going to deploy to Afghanistan in a week. Kostura brought the subject up first.  LA Times article

Romney, Clinton offer signs 2016 will be about economy — Not yet in the presidential race, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitt Romney already are previewing the likely focus of the 2016 campaign, a competition over who’s better able to boost paychecks for working Americans.  AP article

Victor Davis Hanson:  The offenders of the Western faith — The issue is not whether the late editors and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were obnoxious or clever, self-destructive or courageous — but only whether Westerners reserve the right on their own soil to express themselves as they please. Too bad so many of our leaders do not understand that.  Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Briefs

Top Stories

Feds say San Joaquin River could reach the ocean this year, but farmers say it isn’t even close — Stream gauges and monitoring wells are ready and waiting along the San Joaquin River. Big money has been spent for the right to let water flow through a private bypass. All that’s missing now is water. If the drought breaks by spring, the river should be ready to reconnect with the Pacific Ocean for the second time in the last six years, say federal officials who are working on restoring the San JoaquinFresno Bee article

State identifies 108 Kern oil injection wells on the line — State regulators are scrutinizing more than 100 Kern County injection wells that if closed, as federal officials warn may be warranted, could force local oil companies to decide between cutting production and finding a new destination for several billion gallons of wastewater per year. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Fresno’s Prop 218 protest vote is one for the ages – Fresno’s dramatic struggle with water is sparking a memorable test of democracy. The city finds itself in the middle of an unusual election on water rates. The campaign runs for another half-month and revolves around a single issue:  Should the residential and commercial rate hikes proposed by Mayor Ashley Swearengin to pay for a $429 million upgrade to the city’s antiquated water system go to the City Council?  Fresno Bee article

Lower oil prices provide benefits to U.S. workers – Wall Street may be growing anxious about the negative impact of falling oil prices on energy producers, but the steep declines of recent weeks are delivering substantial benefits to American working-class families and retirees who have largely missed out on the fruits of the five-and-a-half-year economic recovery.  New York Times article

Labor disputes at West Coast ports threaten economy – A study by the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that a 10-day shutdown would cost the nation’s economy nearly $2 billion a day and “could be catastrophic” for retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries across the economy that rely on the ports for both imports and exports.  San Bernardino Sun article

Playa Vista turning into Silicon Valley South as tech firms move in — First came Facebook and YouTube. Then Microsoft moved in. Google is on its way. And now Yahoo, too, is joining the high-tech cluster that has sprouted in Playa Vista. The burgeoning Westside neighborhood is fast becoming the Southern California hub of Silicon Valley, with a growing number of tech companies choosing the relatively undeveloped area as their gateway to the region’s entertainment and media offerings.  LA Times article

Small, exterior projects give homeowners more bang for their bucks — Gone are the days of spending tons of money on major kitchen and bathroom renovations to add thousands of dollars to the price tag of a house. The home remodeling projects with the best return for homeowners looking to sell are small improvements, like replacing an entry door or a garage door, painting and landscaping.  Fresno Bee article


Chances grow for fourth dry year in, around Modesto — One 117th of January’s accustomed rain has fallen so far into the downtown gauge of the Modesto Irrigation District. Elsewhere in that 11th Street building, and at irrigation districts across the Northern San Joaquin Valley, water managers are bracing for yet another year of tight supplies.  Modesto Bee article

Andrew Fahlund: Work is just beginning for California water policy – The deputy director of the California Water Foundation writes, “Terms like “monumental” and “historic” are overused and what they describe seldom lives up to those monikers, but I really believe 2014 qualifies. But last year won’t truly be historic if we don’t follow through this year. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get started.” Fahlund op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

California for-profit company faces allegations of inadequate inmate care — At least three county grand juries have criticized California Forensic Medical Group’s role in inmate deaths. Some investigations have been spurred by a spike in deaths – four people in Sonoma County in an 11-month period ending in 2007 and four people in nine months in Santa Cruz County after CFMG took over health care in 2012.  Sacramento Bee article

Bay Area homicide rates show striking drop — Homicides in the Bay Area’s biggest cities fell in 2014 to a level that hasn’t been seen since 2001 and has rarely been achieved in the past four decades, according to a Chronicle analysis.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Modesto City Schools board to weigh in on security officers – The Modesto City Schools board will weigh in Tuesday on plans for a school security team. Staff is recommending hiring eight unarmed guards to serve its high schools.  Modesto Bee article

New Stockton Unified officers have deep Stockton roots – Three new officers joining Stockton Unified’s police force have something in common — they all have local roots and graduated from the district’s high schools.  Stockton Record article

Fresno Bee: The real test of Common Core is about to begin – This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national roadmap for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests. Brace yourself. The results will just be a baseline, but they may not be pretty.  Fresno Bee editorial

Thousands participate in youth government conference in downtown Fresno — High school students from around the state poured into Fresno on Saturday to learn firsthand how California government and courts work. The California YMCA Youth & Government program is training 3,100 students in the responsibilities of public service at the downtown Fresno Convention Center through Sunday.  Fresno Bee article

Peer-to-peer talking reduces bullying – Give kids an open mic and ask what they can do at lunchtime to make their school better, and you get some surprisingly grown-up answers. Now grownups are catching on to something kids have known for a long time: They can say something till they’re blue in the face, but until kids hear it from their own peers, it doesn’t really sink in. That’s why getting those peers to rethink what’s cool makes sense. And bullying, more and more young people are coming to realize, is definitely not cool.  Stockton Record article

‘Fog guru’ has student safety at heart — It was 5 a.m. and still dark outside as Chuck White drove west in his older-model Ford pickup. The 60-year-old director of operations and transportation at Rio Bravo-Greeley School District knew dense fog was in the forecast Wednesday, and sure enough, a thick gray mist hung ominously in the cold, pre-dawn air.  Bakersfield Californian article


Mystery gunk kills East Bay birds — More than 70 birds along the East Bay shoreline have been grounded and incapacitated after becoming coated in a mystery substance over the weekend, with an additional dozen killed by the gray, sticky stuff, according to International Bird Rescue and state wildlife officials.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

California nurses call off strike against Kaiser — The California Nurses Assn. announced Saturday that it has called off plans for a strike next week against Kaiser Permanente after reaching a tentative contract agreement for 18,000 of its members in Northern and Central California.  LA Times article; KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article; Modesto Bee article

How safe is your hospital? A look at California ratings — A detailed look at performance data shows many California hospitals continue to struggle with medical errors and injuries to patients — despite industrywide efforts to remedy those problems.  LA Times article

Kaiser, Sutter top latest Consumer Reports health care ratings – Sutter Medical Group and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, south Sacramento, earn all “4s” in a special “California Doctor Ratings” section of the February issue. Of the approximately 170 practice groups rated statewide, only a handful got such high marks.  Sacramento Bee article

Measles outbreak spreading beyond Disneyland visitors – The measles outbreak that began at Disneyland during the holiday season is now spreading beyond people who contracted the disease at the theme park, with those patients now exposing others after they arrived back in their hometowns, health officials said Saturday.  LA Times article

Marty Wormuth: Concussions are serious; I should know – The senior at Central Catholic High School in Modesto writes, “To this day, I have problems trying to remember things. My brain feels like a sieve and information is sand just pouring through the holes. Concussions are not something to joke around about – take it from someone who has dealt with them firsthand.”  Wormuth op-ed in Modesto Bee


U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham: Without a viable funding plan, high-speed rail goes off its tracks – The Valley congressman (R-Turlock) writes, “The United States has led the world in rail infrastructure for generations. Now we have an opportunity to move into the 21st century with safe and efficient high-speed rail systems. California’s high-speed rail, with no viable funding plan, little support from the voters and a ‘don’t worry about it’ attitude toward the future, is no way to set an example.”  Denham op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Jeff Jardine: Will bullet train eventually co-opt Delhi? – Should the state choose to mirror the SP tracks, though, it could send progress right through the little community of Delhi. The caveat: Lisa Marie Alley of the High-Speed Rail Authority said the agency is still years away from picking a route and will conduct extensive community outreach before doing so.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Sacramento Bee: One way or another, you’ll pay more for roads – Critics of high-speed rail home in on the cost, $68 billion. That is a huge number. Over time, it probably will rise. But good roads come a steep cost, too. Those of us who drive ought to anticipate paying more for the privilege, in one form or another.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Modesto rethinking plans for Crows Landing Road improvements — Local officials are rethinking a previous plan to make Crows Landing Road in south Modesto a six-lane traffic artery. City of Modesto staff members have studied the corridor for two years and recommend a different plan to improve safety for pedestrians, slow traffic and spruce up the thoroughfare between South Seventh Street and Whitmore Avenue.  Modesto Bee article

Other Areas

Michael Fitzgerald: City history, writ in light – When night falls, and the city dons its evening jacket, its snazziest bit of bling is neon. Stockton is no Glitter Gulch (though many of the neon signs in Nevada and other casino centers came from Ad Art in Stockton) but if you look closely you find enough neon for a noir novel.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Mike Klocke: A little of this, a little of that around San Joaquin County – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Donald W. Blount: On gas guzzlers, foreclosures and red meat – Here are a few things that perhaps only interest me but I thought I would share anyway.  Blount column in Stockton Record

Our Diversity: Working to support local Asian culture – Dennis Lee’s original idea has demanded more diverse skills than he anticipated.That includes publishing a semi-monthly newspaper and charming people as a host and president/CEO. Lee’s concept — providing a central source of economic and cultural support for Asian-American businesses in San Joaquin County and the Central Valley — has been working.  Stockton Record article

Derby, Preakness winner California Chrome horse of the year – California Chrome’s rags-to-riches story keeps getting better. The winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness last year picked up two Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park on Saturday night, including horse of the year — the biggest prize, one that would have figured to be unthinkable for the offspring of an $8,000 mare and $2,500 stallion.  AP article

Boy battling brain tumor plays superhero at Pacific game — Villains and miscreants have run rampant in this proud port city community in recent years, casting a shadow of fear over the entire town. Some days it seems no one can keep the city safe from the scoundrels who have taken harbor here, but today Stockton has a new hero. His name is Joey Sinco. By day, he’s a 6-year-old boy who suffers the debilitating effects of a brain tumor. By night, he dons a cape and joins forces with Captain America and his other superhero friends to help those in need.  Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national roadmap for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests. Brace yourself. The results will just be a baseline, but they may not be pretty.

Modesto Bee – This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national roadmap for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests. Brace yourself. The results will just be a baseline, but they may not be pretty.

Sacramento Bee – This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national roadmap for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests. Brace yourself. The results will just be a baseline, but they may not be pretty; Critics of high-speed rail home in on the cost, $68 billion. That is a huge number. Over time, it probably will rise. But good roads come a steep cost, too. Those of us who drive ought to anticipate paying more for the privilege, in one form or another.