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Assembly GOP leader talks policy – From water to education reform to a full-fledged California State University campus for Stockton, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen touched on a wide range of topics during a visit Tuesday with The Record’s editorial board. Stockton Record article
Facebook expands its role in politics, and campaigns find much to like — While it is no surprise that campaigns are devoting a greater share of their budget and energy on digital initiatives, Facebook, already a major player in past cycles, has been working to expand its digital dominance in the political realm. New York Times article
Dean Gardner, businessman and two-time Assembly candidate, dies at 72 — Dean Gardner, a Bakersfield businessman known for his two bruising battles against Nicole Parra for a Kern County Assembly seat, has died. He was 72. Gardner died Monday of prostate cancer, which he’d fought since 2005, according to his wife, Ruth.Bakersfield Californian article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
Recall of Richard Pan over vaccine bill cleared for signatures — Thwarted in the Legislature, opponents of California’s vaccine mandate law have turned to the ballot box with a recall aimed at Senate Bill 277’s champion. A campaign to recall Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, the pediatrician who carried the bill requiring full vaccinations for schoolchildren, has been cleared to advance to the signature-gathering phase. Proponents have until Dec. 31 to collect 35,926 verified signatures from registered voters in his district. Sacramento Bee article
Joe Mathews: Stay and run for the U.S. Senate, Joe! – Memo to Vice President Joe Biden: You cut a happy, glad-handling swath through California last week and got great reviews. In this era dominated by cold, strategic and distant California politicians, genuine human warmth and hugs were refreshing. And you seemed to enjoy yourself too. So why don’t we make this more than a visit, Mr. Vice President? Mathews in Fox & Hounds
San Jose mayor urges county to revise policy on ICE holds — Nine days after a woman was gunned down in San Francisco — allegedly by an illegal immigrant felon whom city authorities had released without notifying federal authorities — Mayor Sam Liccardo sent a letter to county officials urging them to reconsider a similar policy that he believes frustrates deportation efforts. Contra Costa Times article
Is Caltrans wasting millions on idle staff? – As part of their effort to pay for the major transportation overhaul Gov. Jerry Brown has called for without levying new taxes, Assembly Republicans have proposed cutting 3,500 full-time positions from the California Department of Transportation, at a savings to the state of half a billion dollars. Sacramento Bee article
Dan Walters: Big money, sex and eyeglasses – This is a tale about high-powered politics, big money and even sex – a tale, believe it or not, about eyeglasses and contact lenses. Walters column in Sacramento Bee
LA City Council bans large-capacity ammunition magazines — Defying the warnings of gun rights groups, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the possession of firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Backers of the plan said it would help minimize the bloodshed of mass shootings by forcing attackers to interrupt their rampages to stop and reload. LA Times article; New York Times article
Video: Vaccine letter from drug company speaks from the past – There’s a hopeful start to a 1962 letter from drug manufacturer Pfizer to then-toddler Theresa Hazelton: “By the time you are old enough for this letter to have any significance to you, it is probable that one of the most destructive diseases of childhood will no longer be a problem.” The missive informed Hazelton – now 55-year-old Terry Rugne – that she was the first child to receive the measles vaccine in California, as part of a field trial of the new drug. Capitol Alert
Sacramento Bee: Liquor industry uncorks distillery bill – In a state where wineries and small breweries flourish, small manufacturers of spirits ought to be able to make money, too. The Legislature seems to have reached that conclusion, with the consent of the liquor lobby. Sacramento Bee editorial
Anti-abortion activists rally in Sacramento — Religious leaders and other anti-abortion rights activists rallied Tuesday outside a Planned Parenthood in midtown Sacramento, after an anti-abortion group released a third video related to the use of fetal body parts. Capitol Alert
Twin tunnels protestors decry ‘darkened forces of political control’ — In a sterile hotel conference room filled with the conversation of consultants wearing dress shirts and ties, 31-year-old Jon Michelsen abruptly stood on a chair, lifted his guitar and began to sing about the “darkened forces of political control.” The song, he later said, was his own “public comment” of sorts about Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan, which, after all, was the subject of the meeting. Stockton Record article
Fresno City Council to debate police recruitment plan – City Hall is touting a potential recruiting incentive for perhaps the best job round — Fresno police officer. A handful of top city officials gathered Tuesday at City Hall to push a plan that would pay $10,000 to qualified peace officers who leave their old job and join the Fresno police force. The plan also would pay $1,000 to Fresno officers who find such veteran recruits. Fresno Bee article
Jobs and the Economy
California pension funds saw $100 billion gain in 2013-14 – California’s state and local government pension systems saw their assets climb by more than $100 billion during the 2013-14 fiscal year, outpacing the national trend by several percentage points, according to a new Census Bureau report. Sacramento Bee article
Sacramento mayor launches study of higher minimum wage – Mayor Kevin Johnson on Tuesday formally launched a task force of business, community and labor leaders that will study possible minimum wage increases and report back to the City Council. The 15-person group will hold the first of five scheduled public meetings Wednesday at City Hall. Sacramento Bee article
Stanislaus County leaders support forming benefit district for downtown Modesto – Stanislaus County is casting its ballots in favor of forming the downtown Modesto community benefit district. The proposed benefit district would promote, beautify and improve security downtown to make it more inviting for patrons and visitors.Modesto Bee article
Merchants debate changes to downtown Bakersfield parking structure – The old parking gates have come tumbling down at Bakersfield’s downtown parking structure as part of a renovation opening all 509 spaces to public parking — but not everyone is happy about fee hikes beginning next month. Bakersfield Californian article
Cal Water proposes Visalia water rate hike – More than a year after the city of Visalia settled a dispute with California Water Services Company over its propose rate water rate hikes for the city, the utility is preparing its next rate proposal. Visalia Times-Delta article
Joe Mathews: If you care about California, then you should care about Salinas – Do you worry about the future of California? Then you should worry about Salinas. Because if this Monterey County town of 155,000 can’t build itself a brighter future, it’s hard to imagine other struggling places doing the same. Mathews in Zocalo Public Square
U.S. homeownership rate drops to 63.4 percent, lowest since 1967 – The share of Americans who own their homes fell to the lowest level in almost five decades, extending a multiyear decline as families struggle to regain ground lost during the financial crisis and rentals gain favor. Bloomberg article
Report: May foreclosure rates decline across Valley – Foreclosure rates in Fresno decreased for the month of May compared to the same period last year, according to a new report from CoreLogic. Foreclosure rates in Visalia-Porterville also decreased for the month of May over the same period last year. The Business Journal article
Kings County foreclosure rates keep dropping – The foreclosure rate in Kings County in May dropped to less than one percent of all outstanding mortgages, according to real estate analysis firm CoreLogic. The rate was 0.83 percent in May, down from 1.05 percent a year ago and lower than the national foreclosure rate of 1.29 percent.Hanford Sentinel article
Kings/Tulare homeless programs switch to ‘triage’ model – In hopes of better serving the local homeless population, the Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance is changing the way it connects high-risk homeless residents with housing. Hanford Sentinel article
Atwater approves building project off expressway – Plans for a gas station, hotel and several retail stores moved forward this week after a unanimous vote from the Atwater City Council. Merced Sun-Star article
Lawmakers cancel spending plans made by former Councilman Tom LaBonge — The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to roll back plans made by former Councilman Tom LaBonge to spend more than $600,000 in discretionary money, heeding a call by newly seated Councilman David Ryu to reexamine how the funds should be used. LA Times article
LA’s Mayor Garcetti is mum on financial pledge for 2024 Olympics – With Los Angeles’ hopes of hosting the 2024 Summer Games unexpectedly revived, Mayor Eric Garcetti must soon decide whether he is willing to accept the sort of financial risks that his counterpart in Boston — the U.S. Olympic Committee’s first choice of host city — balked at this week. LA Times article
U.S. Olympic Committee contacts Los Angeles about 2024 Summer Games — The U.S. Olympic Committee has contacted Los Angeles about the possibility of stepping in as a replacement bidder for the 2024 Summer Games, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who is not authorized to speak publicly. LA Times article
Fresno jury awards $2.2 million in damages to former B of A employees – A Fresno County jury has awarded $2.2 million in damages to two former Bank of America employees who contended their boss defamed them when he fired them in November 2011. Fresno Bee article
State agencies discuss making freight more sustainable – California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that tasked state agencies to come up with a plan to improve the state’s $700 billion dollar freight system while reducing emissions. California’s air quality rules have already reduced diesel soot by more than 50-percent in nine years. But air regulators say the current freight system needs to move to zero emission technologies. Capital Public Radio report
NTSB releases cause of SpaceShip Two’s fatal crash — The breakup of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two over the Mojave Desert last year was caused by the co-pilot unlocking the feather locks — which brake the ship — 14 seconds before the flight manual minimum speed, according to reports released by the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article
California heads above the rest in national beer industry study – When it comes to beer, California is heads above the rest. California’s beer industry topped three key economic sectors in a nationwide study released Tuesday by the Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association in Alexandria, Va.Sacramento Bee article
Sunglass company Oakley is laying off more than 160 workers — Orange County sunglass company Oakley is laying off more than 160 employees in Southern California, according to state records, as it further merges operations with its Italian parent company. LA Times article
Stanislaus County leaders approve more drought relief for homes with failed wells – Tuesday, supervisors decided to team with Self-Help Enterprises to deliver temporary storage tanks to eligible homes. The tanks come with a pump and fittings for restoring water to the taps. Modesto Bee article
Law could force water consolidation — A new state law allowing the State Water Resources Control Board to order the consolidation of smaller residential water systems with larger providers would run into serious hurdles if the board tried to order a consolidation in Kings County, according to local officials familiar with the issue. Hanford Sentinel article
Squeezed by drought, some California farmers switch to less thirsty crops — Water scarcity is driving California farmers to plant different crops. Growers are switching to more profitable, less-thirsty fruits, vegetables and nuts. Nowhere is this truer than San Diego County, where water prices are some of the highest in the state.NPR/Capital Public Radio report
Keeping up with the Joneses’ drought-friendly yard boosted MWD’s tab for rebates – When it came down to it, the number crunchers at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California knew they saved a lot more water for every dollar spent subsidizing low-flush toilets than drought-friendly lawns. But there was one thing the MWD planners didn’t bank on when they threw an unprecedented $340 million into persuading residents to tear out their lawns: The value of one-upping your neighbor. LA Times article
Water sale agreement gets final OK from Turlock Irrigation District – The Turlock Irrigation District gave final approval Tuesday to selling Tuolumne River water to a proposed treatment plant. The 5-0 vote by the district board came two weeks after it approved the idea of providing the supply for Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto. City representatives approved theagreement Thursday, but with a slight change that required a second TID vote. Modesto Bee article
Tulare County offering water for north county residents – North county residents are finding it more difficult to buy or otherwise acquire enough water to meet their basic household needs, so Tulare County officials plan to install three 5,000-gallon community water tanks south of Visalia, as well as in Cutler and Ivanhoe. Visalia Times-Delta article
Sacramento County supervisors retain water-waste fines on pot growth – Sacramento County supervisors Tuesday broadened a recent ordinance declaring outdoor marijuana cultivation a waste of water, maintaining higher fines despite objections from medical marijuana advocates. Sacramento Bee article
‘My Job Depends on Ag’ strikes marketing gold – Valley residents Stephen Malanca and Erik Wilson were fed up with claims that farmers use too much water and do more damage than good to the environment. They were also frustrated that many residents, even as close as San Francisco, had no idea of the scope of Valley farming and how much it’s connected to other major businesses, thus playing a large role in the success of California’s economy. The Business Journal article
Salinas Valley tries to position itself as hub of ag tech boom — The new Taylor Farms building anchors downtown Salinas. It’s a company built on three generations of farming, a fixture in the Salinas Valley, but perhaps just as important to the future of this region is what happened recently in the temporary tent set up just out front. It’s enormous — the type of tent you’d find at an outdoor wedding. KQED report
Tracy tomato grower, UFW renew contract – Tracy-based Pacific Triple E, a tomato growing and shipping company, and the United Farm Workers signed Tuesday a new three-year contract giving the company’s 450 field workers improved wages and benefits. Stockton Record article
Farmers’ social networks key to spreading knowledge – Knowledge is power, they say. But the problem for University of California Cooperative Extension is sharing information about new crops, growing techniques or farm economics through a limited number of farm advisers. Stockton Record article
LA County supervisors compromise on ban on Santa Monica vineyard ban — After hearing from grape growers upset by a drought-inspired ban against new or expanded vineyards in the north Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles County supervisors compromised Tuesday, voting to extend the ban four months instead of 10 and letting existing permit applications proceed. LA Times article
Ex-felons find a clean slate under Prop 47 – Thousands of residents in the valley are working through the process of having their previous felony convictions dropped to misdemeanors. It’s an element of Proposition 47 intended to help provide people with a clean slate and re-integrate more easily back into society. Advocates and the public defender in Merced are working hard to get the word out. KVPR report
Kern deputy to face misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge — The Kern County District Attorney’s office will charge sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Clerico with one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter with negligence in the death of a woman in Oildale, it was announced Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article
Teen girl shot after pointing realistic looking pellet gun at deputies — A teenage girl shot by deputies Friday was reportedly suicidal and pointed a replica handgun that appeared to be real at the deputies just before she was shot. Bakersfield Californian article
Meant to keep youths out of detention, probation often leads them there – Juvenile justice reformers have tried for years to figure out what works to help rehabilitate youth in trouble, and a recent shift away from locking kids up has been at the forefront of reform efforts. One of the most common alternatives to incarceration is to order kids directly into probation, instead of juvenile hall. But the goals of these alternative approaches don’t always match the reality — and disproportionately impact youth of color. NPR report
Search warrant: Former Fresno cop talked often with undercover detective about pimping his girlfriend — A search warrant filed in Fresno County Superior Court sheds light on the sexually explicit conversations that allegedly occurred between an undercover detective and Robert Knight, a Fresno police officer who resigned on July 13 after he learned he was suspected of helping his girlfriend prostitute herself on Craigslist. Fresno Bee article
Visalia gang member guilty in shooting of two police officers — A gang member was convicted Tuesday of attempted murder in the 2013 shooting of two Visalia police officers, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said. Fresno Bee article
Nan Austin: Doing the math, bond debt for California schools may not pencil out — The days of easily understood and argued school debt seem as bygone as brick facades. A report released July 21 by the nonprofit California Policy Center called “For the Kids” lays out $200 billion in existing school bond debt. In other words, taxpayers owe $32,074 for every child now in kindergarten through high school across California. Austin in Modesto Bee
Is there a solution to Silicon Valley’s teacher housing problem? — One of the rich ironies facing teachers in Bay Area school districts is their growing inability to afford homes in the communities in which they teach. KQED report
UC Merced names new dean of School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts – Jill Robbins was named the dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced and will begin her new post next year. Robbins replaces Mark Aldenderfer, who will go back to working as a professor. He served more than five years as dean. Merced Sun-Star article
UC Merced Connect: Local students gain lab experience — As a high school student in Merced, Ana Arteaga didn’t know which academic path she would choose in college. But her route became clear after she spent two summers in a chemistry lab at UC Merced. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star
Santa Barbara bar exam prep firm to pay $110,000 in refunds – A Santa Monica-based state bar preparation company has agreed to pay $130,000 in fines and restitution over accusations it made false statements about their students’ success on the legal licensing exam, authorities announced Tuesday. LA Times article
Catherine Reheis-Boyd: State science panel assesses fracking risks – The president of the Western States Petroleum Association writes, “The recent multivolume report by the California Council on Science & Technology offers a classic glass-half-empty or glass-half-full choice for people interested in energy production.” Reheis-Boyd op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Boy said to have started Willow fire near Bass Lake — Authorities say a juvenile has been identified as starting the Willow fire east of Bass Lake. The U.S. Forest Service and Madera County District Attorney David Linn issued a statement Tuesday saying the fire — now estimated at 1,700 acres — was “human caused” and that a juvenile suspect has been identified. Fresno Bee article
Willow fire not keeping people away from Bass Lake – The Willow Fire near Bass Lake in Madera County has grown to 1700 acres and is just 5% contained as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire has not brought activity at the lake to a stop, but it does have businesses and vacationers concerned. KVPR report
Edison seeks almost $7.6 billion in damages for nuclear plant — Southern California Edison is seeking almost $7.6 billion from the Japanese manufacturer of the faulty steam generators that led to the permanent shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. LA Times article
Kern to mandate treatment for those with serious mental illness – Kern County leaders will implement “Laura’s Law.” The 2002 law, which has been extended through 2019, authorizes mental health teams to compel victims of serious mental illness to take their medication. Bakersfield Californian article
Kern supervisors chart hospital authority path – The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday blessed a year-long plan to create a hospital authority that will run Kern Medical Center. The first step will be to pass an ordinance shaping the Kern County Hospital Authority. Supervisors will be asked to approve it Sept. 29 and finalize it Oct. 6. Bakersfield Californian article
Healthcare spending is projected to rise modestly over next decade – The total amount America spends on healthcare will rise modestly over the next decade, continuing a trend that began during the recession, according to new projections from government economists. However, national health spending is still expected to outpace economic growth, threatening to make medical care increasingly unaffordable. LA Times article
Autism costs could reach $500 billion by 2025, UC Davis study finds — Autism costs to the U.S. as a whole are expected to reach nearly half a trillion dollars annually in the year 2025, according to an analysis from health economists at the UC Davis Medical Center. KQED report
Lakshmi Dhavanthari: Medicaid at 50 – also part of health care reform – The chief medical officer for Health Plan of San Joaquin writes, “This week, for its 50th anniversary, let us celebrate Medicaid – and how a great vision, powered by enduring partnerships, across political divides and from national to local levels, can deliver on the promise of quality health care access. Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) continues to be an example of government service at its best.” Dhavanthari op-ed in Modesto Bee
Modesto faces head winds in landing passenger flights — Travelers should not expect commercial flights to return to the Modesto Airport anytime soon. Airport Manager Mark Germanowski said service might resume in a year or two. But he said the city continues to work on landing the flights, preferably daily service between Modesto and Los Angeles, though service with Phoenix could be an option. Modesto Bee article
California counties face low supply of secure paper for birth, death, marriage certificates – Many counties across the state may soon be in short supply of birth, death and marriage certificates due to secure printing operations closing. Merced Sun-Star article
Lois Henry: More laws, yes. But they’re a good thing for Kern’s animals – County Planning staffers are proposing what I think are good, common sense changes to Kern’s zoning ordinances that will bring greater consistency to how animal rescue operations are governed and make room for new rescue models. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian
Battling blight: Getting ready to Neighborhood Blitz II – In mid-August, the Stockton Police Department will embark on a 90-day campaign in one such 35-square-block section of south Stockton to try to remedy a single neighborhood’s chronic battle with blight, housing code violations and crime. Stockton Record article
No timetable for reopening Fresno County Hall of Records after burst pipe floods building – A pipe broke Monday afternoon at the Fresno County Hall of Records, flooding the building and forcing hundreds of employees to evacuate. Fresno Bee article
Merced County grand jurors on third term, though code appears to allow only two – Trouble recruiting new members to serve on Merced County’s civil grand jury every year has caused court officials to reinterpret the laws governing grand-jury selection. Four Merced grand jurors are serving for a third consecutive year. Merced Sun-Star article
Cyber attack leaks Planned Parenthood employee information – Hundreds of names and email addresses of Planned Parenthood Federation of America employees across the nation were leaked after a security breach on Sunday night. LA Times article
Rehab work to start on crumbling memorial to Latino veterans — A group hoping to rehabilitate the deteriorating “El Soldado” memorial to Latino soldiers across from the state Capitol has the money to begin the project. Capitol Alert
Valley Editorial Roundup
Fresno Bee – A panel of academic, legal and law enforcement experts led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has produced a sensible set of recommendations on how California should legalize recreational marijuana, if that’s the path we choose.
Sacramento Bee – The sad pandering on Planned Parenthood video; In a state where wineries and small breweries flourish, small manufacturers of spirits ought to be able to make money, too. The Legislature seems to have reached that conclusion, with the consent of the liquor lobby.
Stockton Record – Tama Brisbane jumps into new Stockton poetry post with energy.
The Better Blackstone Association will hold a street festival, “Come Imagine the Possibilities for Blackstone …,” on Friday, Aug. 7, at the Susan B. Anthony school parking lot in Fresno from 5-8 p.m. More information: Call (559) 485-1416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “Unlocking Renewables: A Summit,” which will explore the clean energy potential in the San Joaquin Valley, will be held at Fresno State on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Featured speakers include state Sen. Anthony Cannella and Ken Alex, senior policy advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown and director of the Office of Planning and Research. More information: www.RenewablesInTheValley.org.
- West Hills Community College District will hold an event, “Shifting Ground — Adapting the San Joaquin Valley Economy to a Changing Climate,” on Oct. 8 at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Senior leaders from business, agriculture, government agencies and nonprofits will gather to launch immediate actions and provide near-term guidance to create next generation jobs in a region battered by drought and struggling with multiple challenges. Visitwww.essentialelementsseries.com for details of this no-fee policy series.
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/
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.
Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to http://twitter.com/MaddyInstitute. And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!
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.
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