Backers of $15 minimum wage submit signatures to get on ballot – Supporters of a $15-an-hour state minimum wage submitted signatures Tuesday to qualify the measure for the November ballot, setting the state for a contentious fight between labor and business groups. San Francisco Chronicle article
Dan Walters: California’s big benefit debt load will grow — With no thought to long-term financial consequences, California politicians, both state and local, have saddled taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in debt for pensions and retiree health care. Walters column in Sacramento Bee
Lenny Mendonca and Pete Weber: Cutting ‘fatal flaw’ helps budget – The co-chairs of the Leadership Council of California Forward write, “For now, voters who supported Proposition 2 because they remember past years of fiscal anxiety can rest more comfortably. The state has a budget reserve because they don’t want to go through that again. Neither do we. And, thankfully, neither does the governor.” Mendonca/Weber in Capitol Weekly
Joel Fox: Budget rollercoaster and the oil severance tax — Californians have ridden the down side of the budget rollercoaster in the recent past because of heavy reliance on upper income taxpayers taking a hit during recessionary times. The state budget could face that again considering the steep drop in the stock market of late. Is this a precursor of budget woes to come? Fox in Fox & Hounds
Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian won’t seek reelection — Debbie Poochigian, the longtime behind-the-scenes political activist who stepped into the spotlight to make a successful Fresno County supervisor run, said Tuesday she won’t seek a third term this year. Don’t think, however, that this is the end of her political life. Fresno Bee article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
Change to Prop 13 could be headed for November ballot — California voters could be asked this fall to touch what’s been an untouchable law: the property tax initiative known as Proposition 13. A potential November ballot proposal would raise taxes on the state’s highest-value properties and spend the money on anti-poverty programs. Capital Public Radio report
The Senate’s homelessness proposal may need to go to the ballot — A budget plan by California senators to reduce homelessness has a potential hitch — it may require voter approval. Capital Public Radio report
Playing the odds, Gavin Newsom endorses rival minimum wage hikes – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been all over the minimum wage debate. Now, as labor unions pitch competing measures, Newsom is playing every available card. Sacramento Bee article
Gavin Newsom fundraising on Super Bowl for gun control — For a $5 donation to his ballot measure to strengthen gun control laws in California, supporters can be entered into a drawing to win tickets to the big game in Santa Clara next month. Sacramento Bee article
Voter signatures gathered in Fresno to support initiative to increase minimum wage — Employees in health care and low-wage fields submitted thousands of voter signatures Tuesday to the Fresno County registrar in a campaign to qualify a statewide ballot initiative that, if passed, would raise California’s minimum wage. Fresno Bee article
Supreme Court sets election-ear clash on immigration — The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to an election-year review of President Barack Obama’s executive action to allow up to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to “come out of the shadows” and work legally in the United States. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article
Guidelines issues for California’s assisted suicide law – With the state’s assisted death law taking effect in months, the California Medical Assn. on Tuesday issued guidelines to physicians on writing prescriptions of lethal doses of drugs for terminally ill patients. LA Times article
State Sen. Jean Fuller: Vision and clarity: Senate Republicans’ priorities for 2016 – Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller writes, “The “vision” of Republicans is the same as that of all Californians – a state that can once again be the land of opportunities where high-paying, mortgage-supporting jobs are created; a state where educational opportunities are available and affordable to everyone qualified to attend; and a state where our residents can feel safe to raise their families and run their businesses.” Fuller op-ed in Bakersfield Californian
Interview: Fresno Bee reporter John Ellis talks California politics – California politics are ever evolving. With election season around the corner and with state officials like Henry T. Perea leaving office early the political landscape is on the move. To discuss current and future political happenings KVPR’s Joe Moore spoke with The Fresno Bee Reporter John Ellis on this week’s Valley Edition. KVPR report
California bill limits rifle, shotgun sales to 1 per month – Californians would be limited to buying a maximum of one rifle or shotgun each month under newly proposed legislation. It would be the same limit currently in place for handguns. AP article
Congressman Jeff Denham: President ignores role of mental health in curbing gun violence – The Valley Republican writes, “Any legislation pertaining to firearms should address the underlying causes of these acts and seek to strengthen our mental health system, not persecute citizens seeking protection, safety and peace of mind. Obama’s instinct to go around the will of the American people and ignore Congress, especially on an issue of this importance, is disturbing.” Denham op-ed in Modesto Bee
California Government Today:
Bakersfield city council contemplates mid-year budget cuts, adjustments — After months of plummeting oil prices and three consecutive quarters of weak or negative sales tax revenue, city staff will ask the Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday to approve cutting more than $1.7 million in capital projects, using the money instead to balance the general fund. Bakersfield Californian article
State Senate leader plans oversight hearings on California’s bullet train — The Democratic chairman of the state Senate transportation committee said he plans to hold oversight hearings on the bullet train to examine its management performance, construction schedules and cost estimates. LA Times article
Jobs and the Economy
Oil companies may shut off their wells – If you’re not in the oil business, watching the plunge in prices can be deceptively satisfying, as if the lower they go, the better for consumers who rely on gasoline to get around. But it’s not that simple. In fact, there are concerns a reckoning may be near. Bakersfield Californian article
Gene Rose: Corporate name grab is just latest attack on Yosemite – The former Fresno Bee reporter and photographer writes, “The commercialism of the Yosemite name grab by Delaware North is getting national publicity, but the battle for the heart of Yosemite National Park was lost decades ago.” Rose op-ed in Fresno Bee
Stockton Record: Co-opting Yosemite – The outrage and scorn felt for Delaware North certainly isn’t going to help the company in the long run. But it also appears as if the company has a case. The word “settlement” appears the best avenue to take — as distasteful as it seems. Stockton Record editorial
Kern supervisors to be asked to put library tax on ballot – A group hoping to get a library tax on the June ballot initially needed 13,269 voter signatures. Now they need five. That’s because a disagreement with the Kern County elections office over how to gather signatures has delayed the work of Advocates for Library Enhancement. Bakersfield Californian article
Sacramento ballot measure will seek to extend library parcel tax – The Sacramento City Council formally placed a measure on the June ballot seeking to extend an annual parcel tax that funds libraries. Sacramento Bee article
BARC shutters two programs amid budget freeze – A longstanding Bakersfield nonprofit organization that provides jobs and services for the developmentally disabled will be closing two programs this month, leaving 25 employees out of work. Bakersfield Californian article
Block-by-block transformation in Stockton – Clouds hovered and wind whipped, but as far as Roslyn Burse was concerned, the sun was beaming as she approached the tidy blue bungalow that soon will become her home. Stockton Record article
Fresno real estate through the eyes of ‘That Fresno Blog’ creator Veronica Stumpf — Veronica Stumpf is not your typical commercial real estate broker. The eclectic 24-year-old Fresno State grad looks more like an artist than an expert in office, retail, industrial and multifamily properties. She studied economics, but after graduating in 2011 she got her broker’s license and joined her father’s real estate business – Stumpf and Company. Fresno Bee article
Sacramento City Council ends meeting as homeless protest erupts – The Sacramento City Council meeting Tuesday night ended abruptly after homeless rights activists spoke out and refused to refrain from applauding during the meeting. Sacramento Bee article
Elk Grove moves forward on $51.1 million Civic Center project — Elk Grove’s City Council unanimously voted last week to move ahead on several portions of the city’s long-awaited Civic Center project. Sacramento Bee article
Santa Clara Valley Water District CEO’s resignation, $278,000 payout raises questions — Last Thursday, Silicon Valley’s largest water district issued a statement to the public saying that its CEO, Beau Goldie, had retired.But what went on behind closed doors at the government agency told a different story: In truth, Goldie was forced out. San Jose Mercury News article
Forecast sees modest job growth in Sacramento in 2016 – Sacramento’s economy will continue growing this year but will continue to suffer from a shortage of high-paying jobs, according to a closely watched forecast released Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article
Ross Devol and Kevin Klowden: Boost California tax credits to spur research – The California Center at the Milken Institute leaders write, “To maintain its leadership in innovation, California must provide a competitive business environment and identify key decision-making moments for companies in the state that are looking to make new investments.” Devol/Klowden op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Who, exactly, uses the on-demand marijuana delivery service Eaze? — Many medical cannabis users indulge in the morning, “waking-and-baking,” and Northern Californians prefer trippier kinds of marijuana than folks in Southern California. Those are among the insights gleaned from the aggregate use patterns of 100,000 clients of Eaze, a medical marijuana delivery service that released information Tuesday about users in the 80 California cities where it operates. San Francisco Chronicle article
3 supervisors say city needs better deal on Super Bowl costs – It may be a Hail Mary pass, but at least three San Francisco supervisors will introduce an emergency resolution next week demanding that the city recoup from the National Football League the nearly $5 million it is expected to spend on city services during the Super Bowl 50 celebrations. San Francisco Chronicle article
Sacramento approves restrictions on short-term rentals such as Airbnb – The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved two ordinances Tuesday allowing short-term rental services such as Airbnb. The ordinances require Sacramento operators of short-term rentals to obtain a permit and pay associated taxes and fees. Sacramento Bee article
DWP approves power rate hike to raise $720 million — The board that oversees the Los Angeles Department of Water and Powerapproved a plan Tuesday to increase power rates in a move it said was necessary to meet a slew of energy-related mandates and repair the city’s degrading power infrastructure. LA Times article
Dueling San Francisco housing measures submitted for June ballot — City Hall was unusually quiet Tuesday as it stirred from a three-day weekend. But behind the scenes a series of power plays were unfurling between Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee as the 5 p.m. deadline to put certain measures on the June ballot neared. San Francisco Chronicle article
Panel: El Nino won’t solve water woes – On a day that brought with it two inches of rain in Wofford Heights and a quarter inch of rain at Meadows Field, experts gathered to discuss the effect El Niño will have on Kern County this year. Bakersfield Californian article
Rain, snow making a dent in California’s historic drought – The rain and snow falling across Northern California in recent days is by no means extraordinary. In the Sacramento region, precipitation remains below normal for the season. But inch by inch, forecasters say, it’s doing the work necessary if California is to reverse years of epic drought. Sacramento Bee article
California drought: Stormwater floods Modesto almond orchard in experiment to restore aquifer – In an effort to restore California’s desperately depleted ancient aquifers, scientists are testing an approach that seizes surplus winter rain and delivers it to where it’s most useful: idle farms and fields. San Jose Mercury News article; Modesto Bee article
Rain slightly delaying citrus harvest – On Monday and Tuesday, more than 100 field workers who normally would be picking naval oranges for Cecelia were instead at their homes waiting for the rain to stop and for citrus groves to dry out enough that they could get back to work harvesting. Visalia Times-Delta article
Just like city folks, water rights holders will have to track usage – Acknowledging they can’t manage what they can’t measure, regulators in Sacramento passed rules to require holders of longtime water rights to track and report what they draw from rivers and creeks. San Francisco Chronicle article
Matheny Tract water lawsuit pits city, county – The lawsuit the City of Tulare filed in connection with the contract to provide potable water to Matheny Tract residents may have a resolution before a jury trial set for April 11. Visalia Times-Delta article
Stockton Record: Water battle: Science, hysteria collide over chloramines issue – The chloramines issue is not at all new, and was publicized heavily in reporting by The Record and Sacramento television stations for the past several years. What’s new here is Brockovich’s involvement, social media — and potentially more of Silva’s political nonsense. Stockton Record editorial
Michael Fitzgerald: Adding baloney to our water – If you want to worry, don’t waste time fretting that the city is putting chloramine in the municipal water supply. Worry that someone is putting crazy pills in the water supply. The uproar over the city’s decision to put a standard disinfectant in the water is a dismaying outbreak of Facebook-induced anxiety. One Mayor Anthony Silva is stoking for political gain. Stockton Record article
Not all are affected by Stockton drinking water change – Officials with the California Water Service Co. clarified Tuesday that they have no plans to change how water provided to central Stockton residents is treated. Stockton Record article
Citrus plant, fruit quarantine clamped on north Stockton — State farm officials have expanded a quarantine on the movement of citrus plants, leaves and fruit from an area in and around Lodi to include most of Stockton, north of Highway 4 and the Crosstown Freeway, and extending well beyond city limits, both east and west. Stockton Record article
Oakdale Irrigation District squabbles over service on county’s Water Advisory Committee — Disagreement on how members of a Stanislaus County groundwater committee should be selected has led to a curious power struggle at the Oakdale Irrigation District. Modesto Bee article
Discussion: Fresno police use data analytics to determine threat ranking – The Fresno Police Department recently made national headlines in the Washington Post with its suite of data analytics, which is uses to gain insight into crime. In Fresno, a “real time crime center” brings together a network of video cameras, law enforcement databases and gunshot detection technology. In the future, social media mining software may also be a part of the package. This has raised concerns from some civil liberties groups, including the ACLU. KVPR report
Man gets three years in landmark oral swab DUI case – Bakersfield resident Junior Salas, 22, believed to be the first person in the state convicted of drunken driving in part by oral swab evidence, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in state prison. Bakersfield Californian article
LA to pay $24 million to two men imprisoned for decades after wrongful murder conviction — Los Angeles will pay more than $24 million to two men who were wrongfully convicted and spent decades behind bars before being freed, city lawmakers decided Tuesday. LA Times article
Firms left out of LAPD’s body camera search decry ‘piggybacking’ bid process – LAPD officials are asking the City Council to purchase body cameras from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International. They also want to avoid a time-consuming and potentially politically messy bidding process. So they’ve asked city lawmakers to let them “piggyback” on a competitive search carried out by officials in Kern County. LA Times article
Merced police dog helps capture robbery suspect – Merced police on Tuesday credited their canine, Rex, with helping arrest a teenager accused of shooting a man during a failed robbery. Merced Sun-Star article
East Coast authorities link school threats to Bakersfield — Bomb and mass shooting threats possibly linked to Bakersfield were made against more than two dozen schools in New Jersey on Tuesday, along with schools in at least six other states, forcing evacuations and lockdowns that affected thousands of students. Bakersfield Californian article
Cal State faculty won’t go on strike over salaries – for now — Hundreds of thousands of Cal State University students will not have to worry about their professors going out on strike after the union representing faculty members failed to authorize a work stoppage on Tuesday. That reprieve may be temporary, however. The leaders of the California Faculty Assn. warned they could still hit the picket line in the near future if their salary demands are not met. LA Times article
Regional labor groups will join CSU faculty in potential strike — Ratcheting up the pressure in an ongoing dispute over raises, the California State University faculty union announced Tuesday that it has secured the support of more than a dozen regional labor councils for a strike that it may call in the coming weeks. Sacramento Bee article
UC officials prepare housing, hiring plans to accommodate 6,500 more California students – University of California officials are scrambling to find more housing, hire additional faculty and expand support services as they prepare to admit 6,500 more California undergraduate students this year than last — the largest enrollment boost of state residents in years. LA Times article
Fresno State to invest $20 million for campus modernization – At Fresno State’s spring assembly for faculty and staff, school President Joseph Castro discussed a five-year plan that will include a $20 million investment to modernize the campus. The money will go toward improvement and expansion of classrooms and lecture spaces, roof replacements, heating/air conditioning replacements, ADA improvements and elevator upgrades. Visalia Times-Delta article
Help wanted: Especially in math, science, special education – Education leaders, experts and policy makers came together Tuesday at the Sacramento Public Library to find solutions to combat an emerging teaching shortage, felt from up north in the Sierras to the beaches of San Diego and right here in the Central Valley. Stockton Record article
Federal officials urged not to step on state’s school reforms — Superintendents, teachers, advocates for students and business and community leaders sounded a strong, though not unanimous, call Monday for federal officials to give California wide berth to fashion a school improvement system without micromanagement from Washington. EdSource article
Nan Austin: What will your school district have to spend next year? Experts weigh in – For kids, January is the start of a new semester, the end of the school year seemingly forever away. For teachers, it starts the ignition countdown to testing time. But for administrators, January means a first peek at the state budget that almost completely determines what schools will have to spend for the following year. Austin in Modesto Bee
Modesto City Schools will appoint trustee to fill empty seat — The Modesto City Schools Board will fill its vacant seat by appointment, with applications due Jan. 27 and interviews and appointment on Feb. 1. Modesto Bee article
As with lakes around the world, water temperature in Lake Tahoe rising — Like hundreds of lakes around the world, Lake Tahoe has been warming steadily for more than 40 years, with surface temperatures rising faster than the global warming rate of oceans and the atmosphere, an international survey has detected. San Francisco Chronicle article
California to investigate whether Exxon Mobil lied about climate-change risks – California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is investigating whether Exxon Mobil Corp. repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change — and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws. LA Times article
Erin Brockovich appeals to Porter Ranch residents as law firms push gas leak suits — Movie-famous activist Erin Brockovich stood in front of 400 Porter Ranch residents on a recent weeknight and told a disturbing personal story. LA Times article
Coastal Commission executive director under fire — A move to oust the executive director of the California Coastal Commission is under way, an effort that marks the most significant attempt against the commission’s ranking administrator in two decades. Capitol Weekly article
Fixing the Valley’s doctor shortage – There’s a significant shortage of doctors in the San Joaquin Valley, a shortage that some believe nurse practitioners can help fill. Hanford Sentinel article
U.S. toughens rules for latecomers trying to enroll in Health Care Act – The Obama administration, responding to complaints from insurance companies, announced several steps on Tuesday that will make it harder for consumers to obtain health insurance after the annual open enrollment period. New York Times article
More students vaccinated as enforcement effort increases – Vaccination rates increased across the state for kindergartners in 2015-16 as schools reacted to the news that their daily attendance figures would be scrutinized if they had high numbers of students who were only partially vaccinated, according to a summary analysis by the California Department of Public Health, which released its school-by-school immunization data on Tuesday. EdSource article
Alameda County vaccinations surge in wake of enforcement — When it comes to vaccination rates, Alameda County made the comeback of the year in California. KQED report
Families sue Community Behavioral Health Center in Fresno for wrongful deaths — The day after an ambulance brought Jodi Booze to Community Behavioral Health Center, she killed herself in the Fresno psychiatric hospital, her family says. In another case, the children of Gloria Archuleta say a male mental-health patient with a violent past attacked their mother in the hospital, breaking her back and causing injuries that resulted in the 67-year-old Selma woman dying from a heart attack. Fresno Bee article
Lee vetoes San Francisco’s proposed rolling-stop for bicyclists — Mayor Ed Lee has followed through with his pledge to veto legislation that would allow bicyclists to roll through stop signs instead of coming to a full stop. San Francisco Chronicle article
Report: Fresno Fire Department needs ‘culture’ change when it comes to safety – The Fresno Fire Department has released its final report on last year’s accident where Captain Pete Dern fell through the roof of a burning garage, suffering critical burns on a large portion of his body. The incident was captured on video and made national headlines. KVPR report
Valley communities rush to ban medical marijuana, but do the bans work? – After nearly two decades of legalized medical marijuana in California there is a sudden mad dash among valley communities to establish local regulations and bans. But do the bans actually drive growers and dispensaries out of business? Valley Public Radio takes a look. KVPR report
Merced County law enforcement reports recent rise in pedestrian deaths – Pedestrian deaths in Merced County have spiked in recent months, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Merced Sun-Star article
John Shirey to depart as Sacramento city manager in November — Sacramento City Manager John Shirey announced Tuesday he will leave City Hall when his contract ends in November. Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial
In Memorium: Floyd Weaver leaves legacy of quiet, effective leadership — Stockton civic leader, educator and civil rights advocate Floyd Weaver died Jan. 18 after a sudden illness. He was 82. Among the many highlights of his life, Weaver served 12 years on the Stockton City Council and also served as the city’s vice mayor. Stockton Record article
LA council may tighten penalties for LAX taxi drivers who show racial bias – A City Council committee moved Tuesday to tighten penalties for taxi drivers who face complaints of discrimination for refusing to pick up an airport passenger on the basis of race. LA Times article
Valley Editorial Roundup
Fresno Bee – Congress should strengthen federal laws to prevent this kind of overreach. And the National Park Service should redo its contracts to pre-empt other attempted hijinks. In the meantime, Delaware North should reconsider this shakedown. Otherwise, its new name will be “mud.”
Merced Sun-Star – Iran nuclear deal has made the world safer.
Modesto Bee – Iran nuclear deal has made the world safer.
Sacramento Bee – John Shirey’s announcement that he’s leaving as Sacramento’s city manager in November just before a new mayor takes office doesn’t come as a huge surprise. But he’ll leave some big shoes to fill, and his departure deepens a leadership vacuum for the region; The Oscars really are too white.
Stockton Record – The outrage and scorn felt for Delaware North certainly isn’t going to help the company in the long run. But it also appears as if the company has a case. The word “settlement” appears the best avenue to take — as distasteful as it seems; The chloramines issue is not at all new, and was publicized heavily in reporting by The Record and Sacramento television stations for the past several years. What’s new here is Brockovich’s involvement, social media — and potentially more of Silva’s political nonsense.
Sunday, Jan. 24, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Eliminating Fraud, Waste & Abuse in State Government: Who You Gonna Call?” – Guests: California Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, California State Auditor Elaine Howle, California Little Hoover Commission Exec. Dir. Carole D’Elia and Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, Jan. 24, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Discerning Fact from Fiction in State & Local Policy Debates” – Guests: Bill McEwen (Fresno Bee Editorial Page Editor), Mike Dunbar (Merced Sun-Star and Modesto Bee Opinion Page Editor), Paul Hurley (fmr. Visalia Times Delta Editorial Page Editor) and Cal State Fresno Political Science Prof. Jeff Cummins. 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.
- State Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) and The Wonderful Company will host a Career & Resource Expo at Tachi Palace on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information: Claudia Salinas at 559.585.7161or Claudia.Salinas@sen.ca.gov.
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/
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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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