July 24, 2018






Donations to Nunes improperly used to charter a private jet, says complaint to FEC

Fresno Bee

Political donations to Rep. Devin Nunes were improperly used to fund $5,518 in private jet travel, says a complaint filed by a nonpartisan watchdog group with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

See also:

     Analysis: With the release of new documents, Devin Nunes’s memo on Carter Page has gotten even less credible Washington Post

     EDITORIAL: Carter Page documents prove only that the FBI was doing its job San Francisco Chronicle

     Opinion; Devin Nunes sees the future, and it scares him Visalia Times-Delta

     The Memo: Dems grapple with Trump’s resilience The Hill


After confusion and failing to meet, Tulare City Council ready to go?

Visalia Times-Delta

A week ago, Tulare City Council didn't meet after three members failed to show up. In fact, since December 2016, Tulare City Council didn't meet once because of lack of a quorum.


Supporters of Leticia Perez plan rally prior to supervisors meeting

Bakersfield Californian

Supporters of Supervisor Leticia Perez have planned a rally to escort Perez as she walks to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning.


Supervisors to take up sales tax, medical cannabis dispensary ban at Tuesday’s meeting

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Board of Supervisors will have a busy morning on Tuesday. The supervisors will decide whether to allow a sales tax measure to appear on the November ballot, as well as two conflicting medical marijuana dispensary measures.




CA vs. Trump immigration stance divides Bee influencers

Sacramento Bee

The war over California’s sanctuary state policy, which limits local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials, has been waged for months in the state Legislature and the halls of Congress, on the campaign trail and in the courts.


Walters: Splitting California runs afoul of constitution

Not too many years ago, when California’s government appeared to be totally dysfunctional, some reform-minded folks considered sponsoring a broad overhaul of the state’s governance structure.

See also:

       EDITORIAL: State Supreme Court took a cowardly path in quashing vote on 3-state initiative Sierra Star




Why Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans

Visalia Times-Delta

Democrats and Republicans alike should welcome Brett Kavanaugh's focus on the roles of Congress, the public and federal agencies in our democracy.

See also:

     White House ramps up pressure on Dems to meet with Kavanaugh Sacramento Bee

     Judge Kavanaugh could give conservatives the vote they need to rein in EPA rules on climate change Los Angeles Times

     Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh’s Responses Reveal Views Roll Call


Record 71% of Voters Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade
Wall Street Journal
A majority of voters say they are increasingly opposed to undermining a woman’s right to have an abortion and are becoming more likely to say they support abortion-rights candidates, a new poll shows.

See also:

     Polls on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, and abortion AEI


Centrist Dems begin arguing against far-left agenda as 2020 play

Sacramento Bee

Leading moderate Democrats forcefully argued this week that the party can embrace a robust agenda of change while still praising capitalism and downplaying income inequality.

See also:

     Undaunted Democratic Centrists Ready to Fight Trump and Bernie at Same Time New York Magazine

     Inside the mission to blow up the 2020 Democratic field Politico

     American democracy’s built-in bias towards rural Republicans Economist

     Moderation & Centrism in American Politics National Review

     The Trump Divide Grows Wider Wall Street Journal

     The anti-Trump hysteria isn’t helping AEI

     American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization PRRI


Senate confirms Pentagon official Robert Wilkie to lead VA

Mercury News

The Senate easily confirmed Robert Wilkie on Monday as the 10th secretary of Veterans Affairs, elevating the top Pentagon official to lead an agency that serves a key constituency for President Donald Trump but has floundered amid political infighting.

See also:

     Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Wall Street Journal

     Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie to be Veterans Affairs Secretary Roll Call

     Congress Passed VA Bill but Now Debates How to Pay for It Wall Street Journal

     For New Veterans Affairs Chief, That Was the Easy Part Roll Call


5 Big Things the House Is Not Doing Before August Recess

Roll Call
As the Senate prepares to work into August, the House is set to adjourn Thursday for its annual late summer recess with some unfinished business. The House has passed only half of the 12 appropriations bills for fiscal 2019.

See also:

     Appropriations, Trade Policy Keep K Street Swamped Roll Call


Russian Hackers Reach U.S. Utility Control Rooms, Homeland Security Officials Say

Wall Street Journal

Hackers working for Russia claimed “hundreds of victims” last year in a giant and long-running campaign that put them inside the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities where they could have caused blackouts, federal officials said.

See also:

     Is America ready for Russian cyberattack on our election? The Hill




Shepard named TBC Media's city editor
Bakersfield Californian

TBC Media has hired Stacey Shepard as The Bakersfield Californian's city editor. Shepard will guide the metro team, the group tasked with producing the organization’s award-winning news report.


Fact-checkers have debunked this fake news site 80 times. It's still publishing on Facebook.


Despite being debunked at least 80 times, and having its posts fact-checked as false through Facebook’s fact-checking partnership at least 45 times, YourNewsWire is still publishing on the platform — amassing hundreds of thousands of engagements each month.


How to Bring the Ballot to Aging Americans

Pew Charitable Trusts
Bringing the ballot to residents of long-term care facilities, many of whom may have impairments that limit their ability to cast a vote independently, is a proven way of increasing voter access, said Dr. Jason Karlawish.


The dangers of independence for executive branch agencies

Ultimately, Congress has the power to nullify the power of the president by placing administrative agencies outside the president’s control. In most legislation, Congress empowers an agency or an administrator, not the president.




Sunday, July 29, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report“I Didn't Vote!:  Civic (Dis)Engagement and the (Dis)Interested Voter”​ – Guests: Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Mindy Romero, Director of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, July 29, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report ​ - Valley Views Edition​: “Addressing Civil Illiteracy in the Valley”​ – Guests: UC Merced Prof. Nate Monroe, John Minkler with the California Council for Social Studies, Fresno Superior Court Judge Don Fransen, and Fresno Attorney Michael Wilhelm. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, July 29, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Californians & Civic Engagement”  Guest: Mony Flores-Bauer, League of Women Voters in California. Host: Ana Melendes.



Topics in More Detail...




White House readies plan to extend about $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in Trump’s escalating trade war

Washington Post

An announcement could come as soon as Tuesday, according to two people briefed on the matter. This is the latest sign that growing tensions between the United States and other countries will not end soon.


Mobile Food Banks Roll to Isolated, Rural Poor

Pew Charitable Trusts

Food pantries and soup kitchens tend to be in densely populated cities, where they can draw a lot of people. That model doesn’t work in rural counties, where settlement is sparse. Counties with the highest rates of “food insecurity” are disproportionately rural.


Despite Revenue Incentive, Most Cities Not Embracing Legal Pot Sales

Public CEO

Six-plus months into the beginning of California’s experiment with legal recreational marijuana, a review of Proposition 64’s effects shows a mixed and complicated record. Here’s a look at four broad categories. 






Family asks Fresno County DA to file charges in double-homicide, but no arrest made yet

Fresno Bee

The family of double-homicide victims Jennifer Dupras, 55, and Cynthia Houk, 88, gathered for, not a protest, but a “silent sit-in” to let District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp know the community cares about the case and is anxious to see charges filed.

See also:

     Alison Dupras holds a silent protest demanding justice for her mother and grandmother Fresno Bee


State funding to help build new HQ for KCSO and Corcoran Police


More than $8 million from this year's state budget will help fund two public safety buildings in the South Valley. Rudy Salas was credited with securing the state funds.


CA prisons recorded more sex assault reports in 2018

Sacramento Bee

California prison inmates filed 1,150 complaints last year alleging they were mistreated sexually behind bars, a 29 percent increase over 2016.


Public Safety:


Turlock considers shorter hours, more light to deter bad behavior at 3 city parks

Modesto Bee

The Turlock City Council will consider Tuesday reducing the hours of operation for three downtown parks and installing brighter lights in an effort to deter crime and bad behavior.




Ferguson Fire balloons in size, danger to structures and cost. Blaze two miles from Yosemite

Fresno Bee

With the Ferguson Fire now threatening more than 3,000 structures, a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson said the communities of El Portal and Foresta are now in the most danger of structural damage.

See also:

     Ferguson Fire continues slow march towards Yosemite ABC30

     Western wildfires force evacuation Visalia Times-Delta

     Forest fires near Sequoia, Yosemite national parks grow Visalia Times-Delta

     Yosemite fire: Park’s air pollution now worse than Beijing’s due to heavy smoke Mercury News

     Ferguson Fire moving toward huge 2013 burn area Mercury News

     Ferguson fire is burning in 'some of the most unforgiving topography in the central Sierra' Los Angeles Times

     Huge fire creeps closer to Yosemite despite containment progress San Francisco Chronicle

     ‘This Fire Will Continue to Grow’: Scenes From the Yosemite Fire New York



Cleaning Up: Inside the Wildfire Debris Removal Job That Cost Taxpayers $1.3 Billion


The Army Corps of Engineers said the high cost of the project was necessary to ensure a safe and effective cleanup. But KQED found that these multimillion-dollar federal cleanup contracts actually incentivized unsafe and destructive work.






How California can head off the next recession and step back from partisan extremes

Sacramento Bee

After almost a decade of uninterrupted growth, an unemployment rate of just over four percent and a $6 billion budget surplus, California’s economy is thriving. But there are ominous storm clouds on the horizon.


Capitalism needs a welfare state to survive


A good basis is the negative income tax, which subsidies workers below an earnings threshold, while taxing those above it. It is a relatively simple, efficient way of targeting poverty while maintaining incentives to work, so long as the tax rate is not too high.


Zero Tariffs? There’s a Precedent
Wall Street Journal

If President Trump is serious about using current tensions to usher in an era of free, fair and reciprocal trade, there is an approach that has worked. He should follow the example of Caterpillar in 1988.


These 3 advantages once ensured U.S. prosperity. They’re not coming back.

Washington Post

We Americans have long been obsessed with economic growth — “prosperity” in everyday lingo. We’re not just good at this; we’re better than everyone else. Or so we thought.




Will California's New Worker Classification Test Be Applied Retroactively? One Judge Says Yes

The Recorder

Plaintiffs lawyers were buoyed last week after an Orange County judge concluded a California Supreme Court landmark decision on worker classification should be applied retroactively


California Employment Report for June 2018
California Center for Jobs and the Economy

The Center for Jobs and the Economy has released its full analysis of the June employment data. For additional information and data about the California economy visit our website.


Trump’s Tax Cut Hasn’t Done Anything for Workers

First, the tax reform hasn’t yet resulted in appreciably higher wages for American workers. Real average hourly compensation actually fell in the first quarter after the tax reform was passed.






Behind The Campaign To Get Teachers To Leave Their Unions

Last month, the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFCSME dealt a major blow to public sector unions. The court ruled that these unions cannot collect money, known as agency fees, from nonmembers who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.


Are Private Schools Immoral?

The Atlantic

Public schools in gentrifying neighborhoods seem on the cusp of becoming truly diverse, as historically underserved neighborhoods fill up with younger, whiter families. But the schools remain stubbornly segregated.


Higher Ed:


CSUB Athletics generates most money in 11 years

Bakersfield Californian

Cal State Bakersfield’s athletic department generated its most amount of money in 11 years by bringing in more than $3 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year. It was an increase of 70 percent from the previous year.


Understanding California’s New Promise to Community Colleges

California Budget & Policy Center
The California College Promise is a voluntary program administered by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The program provides funding to community colleges that advance the program’s goals and implement program strategies.









Valley is on track to break heat record; energy and air quality alerts issued

Fresno Bee

Fresno is on track to break the record of consecutive days over 100 degrees. Along with the heatwave, a heat advisory, an energy flex alert and an air quality alert have been issued for the region.

See also:

     Heat advisory in effect, triple digits expected this week Stockton Record

     Heat equals ozone pollution, but there's a silver lining Bakersfield Californian


A Running List of How President Trump Is Changing Environmental Policy
National Geographic

The Trump administration has promised vast changes to U.S. science and environmental policy—and we’re tracking them here as they happen.

Capitalism Will Solve the Climate Problem
Wall Street Journal

Together, science and capitalism built the modern world. But across the political spectrum, both are under attack. If we are to solve our greatest challenges, including climate change, we have to deploy the power of these twin engines of civilization.


10 things you should know about the carbon tax

A “carbon tax” is one way to price carbon emissions generated from the burning of fossil fuels—e.g., coal and natural gas—to generate energy. Economist call these emissions “negative externalities” because their costs are borne by the community.


Global warming will increase suicides, researchers say

San Francisco Chronicle

More people are likely to take their own lives as the planet warms, say researchers at Stanford University and UC Berkeley in a study published Monday that suggests yet another worrisome impact of climate change.




PG&E loses jury verdict linked to an explosion

Mercury News

PG&E must pay an ex-employee because it retaliated against him after he brought safety issues and racial problems at the utility to the company’s attention, a jury has determined, raising fresh questions about the utility’s commitment to safety.






House Backs Suicide Hotline Bill; Could Lead to 3-Digit Dial Code

Roll Call

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is headed for an overhaul, with passage of a House bill Monday. The bipartisan proposal would move towards creating a new national dialing code, similar to 911, to be used for a mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.


Alzheimer's: The Issue Republicans and Democrats Agree On


The costs of health care and long-term care for individuals with Alzheimer's or other dementias are so substantial that it could bankrupt Medicare.


EDITORIAL: Anti-vax doctors are granting bogus vaccine exemptions. How to make them think twice.

Sacramento Bee

Few pieces of legislation have made more of a difference to more Californians more quickly than the bill two years ago to tighten school vaccination laws.


Human Services:


Poverty in California


More than 7 million Californians—including 2 million children—lived in poverty in 2016. And most poor families are working. These fact sheets provide key details about poverty, child poverty, and the working poor in California.


Why Crackdown Fears May Keep Legal Immigrants From Food Stamps

Pew Charitable Trust

Latino immigrants’ use of food stamps drops after deportation efforts increase.


Mobile Food Banks Roll to Isolated, Rural Poor

Pew Charitable Trusts

Food pantries and soup kitchens tend to be in densely populated cities, where they can draw a lot of people. That model doesn’t work in rural counties, where settlement is sparse. Counties with the highest rates of “food insecurity” are disproportionately rural.


Returns on Recovery: Expanding County Substance Abuse Services Benefits Community Over Long Term

Public CEO

San Bernardino County residents have access to wider array of services to treat substance use disorders thanks to the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS), which began implementation in March.

See also:

     These Pills Could Be Next U.S. Drug Epidemic, Public Health Officials Say Pew Charitable Trusts




Judge, calm in court, takes hard line on splitting families

Sacramento Bee

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw challenged the Trump administration to explain how families were getting a fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution, but also expressed reluctance to get too deeply involved with immigration enforcement.


Kirstjen Nielsen falsely says there are billboards in Central America on illegal immigration


Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the Trump administration is frustrated by a lack of congressional action on "loopholes" incentivizing illegal immigration.




Land Use:


How can SJ boost its parks?

Stockton Record

Parks advocates were understandably disappointed late last month when the county budget increased by $112 million to $1.78 billion even as funding for parks were cut by about 10 percent.




Sacramento needs a real plan to help renters, not another windfall for landlords

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento demands better solutions to the renter housing crisis than giving our tax dollars over to market-rate landlords.




10 things you should know about the carbon tax

A “carbon tax” is one way to price carbon emissions generated from the burning of fossil fuels—e.g., coal and natural gas—to generate energy. Economist call these emissions “negative externalities” because their costs are borne by the community.


EDITORIAL: Gov. Brown has joined one pension fight. Here's why he should add a second.

San Diego Union-Tribune

The governor has directly appealed to California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to expedite the court’s review of a lawsuit that challenges the Public Employee Pension Reform Act, a 2012 law that he championed.




Trump moving forward to end California's authority to set clean-air standards, mandate electric-car sales

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile emissions — including its mandate for electric-car sales — in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards.

See also:

     Trump could move soon to end state’s clean-car authority San Francisco Chronicle

     U.S. to propose revoking California authority to set auto emissions rules Reuters

     Trump to Seek Repeal of California’s Smog-Fighting Power Bloomberg

     Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards Wall Street Journal


California Highway Patrol to begin Age Well, Drive Smart classes

Bakersfield Californian

With more seniors on the road than ever these days, the California Highway Patrol is continuing a statewide program to address related concerns. The program, Age Well, Drive Smart, will include a class in Bakersfield.


Brookings survey finds only 21% willing to ride in a self-driving car

Recent fatalities involving self-driving vehicles appear to be making people nervous about self-driving vehicles. The support for self-driving cars is down a bit from other surveys over the past year.




Exeter waits to see potential problems facing city’s water infrastructure


The residents of Exeter were left without water for a night three weeks ago when a broken water main on Kaweah Avenue near the water tower was under repair. As a result people were under a boil water notice along with businesses.


State expected to release money for water projects


The state water commission is expected to release $1 billion in bond money on Tuesday to finance two major Bay Area water projects, one involving a new dam and the other a larger dam.

See also:

     $1 billion coming to Bay Area for two new dams Mercury News


In California's water wars, a new front opens in San Francisco and the Central Valley

Los Angeles Times

More than two decades after Los Angeles was forced to cut water diversions to protect California’s natural resources, the state is poised to impose similar restrictions on San Francisco and some of the Central Valley’s oldest irrigation districts.

See also:

     Water wars head upstream as state considers cutbacks for senior Central Valley irrigation districts Los Angeles Times

     Interior Secretary Meets With Group Seeking to Drain San Francisco Reservoir Wall Street Journal


The Great Era of California Dam Building May Be Over. Here's What's Next


For a century, California has harnessed its water with concrete, building dams and reservoirs on an epic scale. Now, as the state prepares to hand out $2.7 billion for new water storage projects, it looks as though that era of dam-building might be ending.


How Wildfires Affect California’s Water Supply

Public Policy Institute of California

While public safety and economic costs deserve and receive a great deal of attention, wildfires also have consequences for the management of water—including the amount and quality of supply, and the potential for flooding.




Here are the best tacos from the Taco Truck Throwdown. You can get some for $1 Tuesday

Fresno Bee

Thousands of tacos were scarfed down by thousands of people at the eighth Taco Truck Throwdown. With that in mind, we’ve listed the winners below.


Boots, Brews and Bacon and Rotary Craft Beer Festival bring flavor to Visalia

Visalia Times-Delta

All summer activities include one staple: food. For those looking for a summer activity centered around all things tasty, add these upcoming local food and beer festivals to your calendar.


Jonathan Gold, L.A. Times food critic, found lots to love in Bakersfield dining scene

Bakersfield Californian

Known for his enthusiastic writing about cuisines found in enclaves throughout Los Angeles, Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic for the Los Angeles Times, had a habit of turning readers on to humble spots they otherwise may have passed by.




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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.


The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.


This document is to be used for informational purposes only. Unless specifically noted, The Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno does not officially endorse or support views that may be expressed in the document. If you want to print a story, please do so now before the link expires. ​​​​​​​



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