July 8, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 California water bill likely to pass U.S. House, then lose steam — An ambitious California water bill will pass a key House committee this week and soon will sail through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on a near party-line vote. Then it will crash into the Senate, where negotiators may or may not be able to craft a package acceptable to enough Democrats that it can become law. McClatchy Newspapers article

 Dan Walters: Tax surge a problem for Democrats — The powerful flow of extra money gives conservative anti-tax increase groups a potent argument that the proposed tax increases aren’t really needed, particularly if the cornucopia continues into 2016. It puts spending advocates, especially liberal legislators, in the awkward position of arguing that the state has much more money to spend than Brown acknowledges and simultaneously complaining that there’s not enough money to meet all needs. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

 California assisted death bill appears finished for the year — With votes lining up against the measure, California’s controversial assisted death bill was pulled from the Assembly Health Committee schedule Tuesday for the second time in two weeks and appears done for the year. Sacramento Bee article; KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article; Fresno Bee editorial; LA Times article

Gov. Brown

 Gov. Brown says climate change creates Titanic-like scenario for world — In an interview before his trip, the governor said the world needs to make significant changes in order to prevent an irreversible “tipping point” in the environment, and he compared the situation to the sinking of the Titanic. LA Times article

 For Jerry Brown, climate change issue melts the spiritual and political — Buried in Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change was a reference that Gov. Jerry Brown could have appreciated. The pontiff cited a French priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose controversial writings on science and religion veered from church dogma and were forbidden for Brown to study when he was a young Jesuit seminary student. LA Times article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Joe Mathews: Del Baccaro wins on books — He doesn’t have much of a chance of winning in next year’s U.S. Senate elections. But if former California GOP chair Tom Del Beccaro can somehow make the 2016 contest a referendum on the quality of the candidates’ books, he could make it a race. Mathews in Fox & Hounds


Feinstein: Immigrant charged in killing should not have been freed – In a sharply worded rebuke just days after the killing of Kathryn Steinle, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the man charged with her murder — an undocumented immigrant with a string of felonies and deportations — “should not have been released” by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and urged the city to “take immediate action” against further tragedy and join a new federal program aimed at deporting “dangerous criminal aliens.” San Francisco Chronicle article

 Gun in San Francisco shooting belonged to federal agent – The gun used to fatally shoot a woman on the San Francisco Embarcadero belonged to a federal agent, sources confirmed Tuesday. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

 San Francisco murder case exposes lapses in immigration enforcement – The case of a Mexican laborer with a lengthy criminal record who was charged on Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an American woman on a pier in San Francisco has exposed a gulf of mistrust and failed communication between the federal authorities and the police in California over immigration enforcement. New York Times article

 Mirkarimi, immigration authorities trade blame in Pier 14 shooting – San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi appeared on KQED Forum Tuesday and deflected blame to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the release from jail of the man who went on to allegedly shoot and kill 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco last Wednesday. KQED report

 San Diego County congressman wants to punish ‘sanctuary’ cities — San Diego County Rep. Duncan Hunter said he plans to introduce a bill to restrict funding to“sanctuary” cities that do not always cooperate with immigration authorities. KPBS report

 Clinton: San Francisco wrong to free immigrant from jail — Hillary Clinton says San Francisco officials were wrong to release from jail the Mexican national who is now at the center of a national immigration controversy. AP article

Other areas

 Lawmakers warned about threat over vaccine bill – California lawmakers and their security officers have been warned to keep an eye out for a man who was arrested last week after he spray-painted threats against public officials for the approval of a tough new vaccine requirement. LA Times article

 California bill would ban Confederate names on schools, public property — A new bill in the California Legislature would prohibit using the names of Confederate elected and military leaders on state and local property. Sacramento Bee article

 Could Fort Bragg be compelled to change name? – Could a proposed new law compel Fort Bragg, a picturesque tourist and fishing hamlet on the Mendocino County coast, to change its name? Sacramento Bee article

 Rep. Ami Bera posts another strong fundraising quarter – Rep. Ami Bera will announce that his campaign has raised more than $420,000 in the second quarter, bringing his cash on hand to about $685,000. Capitol Alert

 Tom Fife: Never mind trumped up rhetoric, The Donald is for real — Whatever the media and the competition do with or to Trump going forward, they should never underestimate him. Trump will keep the Republican field off-balance as he raises points other candidates might like to avoid. Right now, to millions of frustrated voters, Donald Trump is the only candidate offering up red meat. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

 Video: California senator calls new Mexican envoy ‘hot’ — The California Senate this week welcomed Sacramento’s newly-appointed Mexican Consul General Alejandra Garcia Williams with praise for her previous experience in Orange County…and her looks. “All I can say, as politely as possible, is Alejandra is hot,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, who also noted that Williams speaks Dutch. Capitol Alert

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 UC campuses aim to admit more students from 2-year colleges — The University of California is trying to increase the number of undergraduates it admits from the state’s community colleges by spelling out the courses transferring students need to be eligible to complete their studies at a UC campus, UC President Janet Napolitano said Tuesday. AP article; Bakersfield Californian article; Sacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article

 Could swapping farmland for eco-friendly homes be a cure for the drought – Agriculture consumes a lot of water in California, but so do homes and businesses. In the fourth year of drought water consumed by both are issues and both sectors have faced cutbacks. But as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports the Central California town of Reedley is on the move to build an eco-friendly community that some say could use less groundwater for development and living. KVPR report

 Jobs and the Economy

 Michael Fitzgerald: Arena: An upside to red ink? – I do support city plans to hire an independent consultant to re-evaluate SMG’s performance standards and the arena’s economic benefit. Best to run things as tightly as possible. The irony is that downtown’s comeback has begun. But it appears to be happening in response to changing market forces, not because the arena sparked it. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

 Debate rages as Stockton council delays Fair Oaks Library decision – The ongoing struggle over how to reopen east Stockton’s Fair Oaks Library, or whether even to do so, took a few twists at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Stockton Record article

 Edison: Power company not delaying Costco – Despite numerous obstacles to the proposed Costco shopping center on East Lacey Boulevard, at least one roadblock appears to have vanished or never existed in the first place. Hanford Sentinel article

 Two firms to build commercial buildings in Old Town Clovis – Two local development companies will build commercial buildings next to the recently completed Centennial Plaza in Old Town Clovis, bringing more restaurants, retail and office space to the city’s growing urban center. Fresno Bee article

 North Meadows Business Park lands pallet company – Wooden pallet supplier CHEP USA Inc. has agreed to join North Meadows Business Park. The Orlando, Fla.-based company, a subsidiary of Australia’s Brambles Limited, expects to create 50 local jobs by moving into an 85,600-square-foot, build-to-suit facility at 19254 Quinn Road. Bakersfield Californian article

 Outdoor activities impact lives and the economy — Parks and recreation departments aren’t just for a walk in the park. “A good recreation department can impact the local economy,” said Matt Young, Manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District. “It can bring money into a city as well as bring families into a community. A good department attracts a lot of different people.” Tehachapi News article

 Valley Business Bank ranked as a top community bank – Valley Business Bank received a top honor recently that gave them national recognition. Through the American Banker’s annual publication, Valley Business Bank ranked 142 out of 200 community banks based on its performance. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Why San Jose is barely in the black despite tech boom – San Jose’s under-resourced fire stations provide just one example of the fiscal challenges facing California’s third-largest city. San Jose is barely in the black after years of deep deficits and painful cutbacks. Yet all around San Jose, the Silicon Valley boom is pumping unprecedented wealth into the Bay Area. Why is San Jose — the self-described “Heart of Silicon Valley” — not riding the economic wave? KQED report

 Infographic:  Latinos have passes whites as largest ethnic group in California – New population figures released by the U.S. Census show that Latinos have passed whites as the largest ethnic group in California. The tally shows that as of July 1, 2014, about 14.99 million Latinos live in California, edging out the 14.92 million whites. LA Times infographic

California state government diversity lacking – An ironic fact: California is the nation’s most ethnically diverse state, but its government is disproportionately white, while Hispanics are heavily underrepresented. Sacramento Bee article

 Final arguments Wednesday in Sacramento arena trial – In a lawsuit challenging the downtown arena deal between the city and Kings basketball team, lawyers on both sides will present their closing arguments Wednesday morning in Sacramento Superior Court. Sacramento Bee article

Stockton Record: An investment in south Stockton – There has been a clarion call for businesses to invest in south Stockton. Step forward and take a bow, Financial Center Credit Union.Stockton Record editorial

 Oakland mayor, port developer in dispute over plan to ship coal — Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the powerful developer behind the city’s ambitious redevelopment of the old Oakland Army Base are embroiled in a dispute over a proposal to use a new cargo facility to export coal — a rift the developer says could threaten the success of the $500 million project.KQED report

 LA County supervisors move to consolidate power by weakening CEO’s job — The board unanimously approved a plan that would weaken the role of the county’s chief executive officer and give the five board members the authority to hire and fire department heads and work more directly within county government’s myriad agencies. LA Times article

 Two LA County supervisors seeking crackdown on wage theft —  As Los Angeles County prepares to vote on a proposed minimum wage increase, two members of the Board of Supervisors moved Tuesday to curb illegal efforts to deny employees their full pay. LA Times article

 Major job cuts expected at Microsoft – Microsoft plans to announce a major new round of layoffs as early as Wednesday, as the company seeks to further cut costs in a shifting technology landscape. New York Times article

 Diana Dykstra: Credit unions are good for California – The president and CEO of the California Credit Union League writes, “The tired talking points recently made by the California Bankers Association (“Credit unions need to pay fair share,” Viewpoints, June 18) conveniently misrepresent the critical role credit unions play in communities across California. It’s disappointing that a special interest is using this historic announcement to push a political agenda.” Dykstra op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Merced supervisors approve emergency water aid plan – As California’s drought worsens, Merced County residents whose wells have failed could get some temporary help come August.Merced Sun-Star article

 New film documents a ‘changing season’ on Masumoto farm – In the tiny community of Del Rey sits one of the nation’s most acclaimed organic farms. The Masumoto family has been farming the land there for generations, and their heirloom peaches are sought after by the country’s top chefs. But the Masumoto farm is also in transition, a transition of generations, as David “Mas” Masumoto’s daughter Nikiko has returned home to work with her father and keep the farm alive for another generation. KVPR report

 California’s drought changes habits in kitchens — Across California, home cooks and restaurant chefs are adjusting to a new reality in kitchens where water once flowed freely over sinks full of vegetables, and no one thought twice about firing up a big pot of water for pasta. New York Times article

 Folsom Lake now being drained more slowly — Water regulators are easing off on plans to draw down Folsom Lake, responding to concerns from Sacramento area water agencies about the availability of supply, officials said Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

 Tom Sellick ‘drought shamed,’ accused of using hydrant water – Actor Tom Selleck had truckloads of water from a public hydrant delivered to his sprawling Hidden Valley ranch, according to court documents filed against the veteran actor by a Ventura County water district. LA Times article

 Psyllid quarantine expands in Santa Clara County — A quarantine against the Asian citrus psyllid in Santa Clara County has been expanded after agriculture inspectors found the harmful pest in San Jose. The expansion adds four square miles to the northwest section of the quarantine in Santa Clara County and about nine miles in the Fremont area of Alameda County. Fresno Bee article

 Turlock feed company funds rehab of fair livestock area — Young livestock exhibitors started arriving Tuesday for a Stanislaus County Fair that will be cooler and safer than in years past for themselves and their animals. The livestock area underwent a major renovation over the past few months, thanks to a $250,000 donation from Associated Feed & Supply Co. of Turlock.Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Fresno police unveil state-of-the-art crime tracking system – The Real Time Crime Center is a privately funded computer system designed to monitor the network of cameras and sensors throughout Fresno. The center will field all 911 calls, and it gives officers access to any city camera — including police body and dash cameras and new traffic cameras. It officially went into 24-hour use on Tuesday. Fresno Bee article

 Tears, laughter mark Bakersfield police officer’s memorial – With tears, laughter and heartfelt stories, local law enforcement officers bid farewell Tuesday to Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson. Nelson, 26, a two-year patrolman who graduated second in his academy class, was fatally injured June 26 in a single-vehicle crash during a pre-dawn pursuit. Bakersfield Californian article

 State prisons hiring new officers — Three state prisons in Kings County are each understaffed of officers — a snapshot of the need to hire throughout California.  Hanford Sentinel article

 Bakersfield officer cleared in May shooting — A review board has ruled a Bakersfield police officer’s shooting of a suspect in May was within department policy and state and federal guidelines, it was announced Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

 Man shot and killed by Bakersfield police in southeast park — Bakersfield Police Department officers responding to reports of someone firing a gun at a park in southeast Bakersfield shot and killed a man Tuesday night. Bakersfield Californian article


 Common Core tests results due next Monday: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’ – After a year with no results to, in essence, test the test, this summer there will be numbers and ratings winging their way to parents’ mailboxes. “I’m expecting what everyone else is expecting. It’s not going to be pretty. We know that,” said Stanislaus Union Superintendent Britta Skavdahl.Modesto Bee article

 Cerritos College a model of boosting Latino students’ success, study finds – According to a study by New America, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, Cerritos College was singled out for increasing the number of Latinos who are eligible to transfer and who do well academically. LA Times article

 UC Merced announces next police chief — UC Merced will roll the chief of campus police and vice chancellor of public safety jobs into one position with a new appointment, university officials announced Tuesday. Albert Vasquez, who has 33 years of experience in law enforcement and public safety, will take over the dual role on Aug. 17, campus officials said. Merced Sun-Star article

 Hands-on activities motivate students – Building a capsule durable, strong, yet delicate enough to protect its most important passenger — in this case an egg — is just one of the lesson plans on hand for young students during a busy summer in the Reach for the Stars program at the University of the Pacific. Stockton Record article

Mattel funds classroom lessons that teachers love, critics want to limit — A multi-national toy company is breaking ground by teaming up with university researchers to create classroom curriculum using one of its popular toy lines, but the effort is drawing criticism. Called Speedometry, the project comes with dozens of Hot Wheels cars and tracks and an 85-page curriculum packet that guides fourth-grade teachers on how to teach math and science lessons using the toys. KPCC report


 Yosemite rock fall changes face of world-class climb — A massive sheet of rock has fallen from the vertical face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, making one of the most popular routes attempted by climbers in North America even more challenging, park officials said Tuesday. AP article; LA Times article

 PG&E report counters lawyers’ contentions about buried pipeline – Pacific Gas & Electric issued a report Tuesday that says the gas pipeline that exploded in northwest Fresno in April was buried 4.7 feet in the ground as recently as the day before a county front loader doing work at the Fresno Sheriff’s Foundation shooting range allegedly struck it, causing an explosion that led to one death and 12 injuries. Fresno Bee article

 UC Merced Connect: Climate scientist leads effort to shape national dialogue — Climate scientist Emmanuel Vincent noticed climate change discussions in Europe had become somewhat politically polarized before he left France a few years ago and found the same situation on a larger scale when he came to America. Vincent, now a project scientist with UC Merced’s Center for Climate Communication and the leader of ClimateFeedback.org, wants to see if discussions that are more rooted in science will defuse some animosity and change the conversation. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star

 Feds to decide whether state’s last nuclear plant stays or goes – Federal regulators have restarted the process of deciding whether California’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, will remain open for decades to come. And like most everything else in Diablo’s long, contentious history, the move is sure to provoke a fight. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Valley Edition: Reporter John Cox talks about the California electricity rate overhaul – A major overhaul of electricity rates is coming to California. The state Public Utilities Commission voted last Friday to switch from a four tier billing system to two tier system. As a result some low-use customers may see their bills increase, while high-use customers may see reductions. The tiers must be in place by 2019. Valley Edition on KVPR

 Johannes Escudero, Tom Cremins, Jose Mejia: Biofuels can be a bigger part of green energy – Escudero, executive director of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas; Cremins, director of the California-Nevada Conference of Operating Engineers; and Mejia, director of the State Council of Laborers, write, “Investing in biofuels is a quintessentially California solution. It’s a single policy that can tackle climate change, while improving economic opportunity and quality of life in communities still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. California needs to do more than talk about green energy. It needs to produce it.” Escudero/Cremins/Mejia op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Biomass incentives offered — Federal financial incentives now are being offered to farmers and forest owners interested in providing biomass — such as dead or diseased trees or orchard wastes — to approved biomass energy plants. Stockton Record article

 Tulare County moving forward with building, improving parks — The rural town of Plainview doesn’t have a park or a public open area for children to play, but that will change in the coming months. Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding to build a new park in the rural town south of Exeter. Visalia Times-Delta article

Health/Human Services

 San Joaquin supervisors seek better results with Community Centers plan – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors wants to see a decrease in the number of low-income residents relying on government assistance programs at local community centers. Stockton Record article

 Heroin use and addiction are surging in the U.S., CDC report says – Heroin use surged over the past decade, and the wave of addiction and overdose is closely related to the nation’s ongoing prescription drug epidemic, federal health officials said Tuesday. LA Times article

 Nevada adds $200,000 to fight California patient busing lawsuit — Nevada officials including Gov. Brian Sandoval have approved more money to fend off a lawsuit that San Francisco filed over alleged psychiatric patient dumping. AP article

 Sacramento Bee: Let’s err on the side of caution with e-cigarettes — Until the science proves otherwise, the dangers presented by e-cigarettes should be treated like cigarettes. Anything else presents an unacceptable hazard to our children and to public health. Sacramento Bee editorial

Land Use/Housing

 Visalia supporters of backyard farm animals seek ballot initiative – Advocates calling themselves Urban Farmers for Food Freedom on Monday submitted a proposed ballot measure to the city to allow both chickens and goats. The Family Food Freedom Act calls for homes in Visalia to be allowed six chickens and four miniature goats. Fresno Bee article

Battle over access to Hollywood sign heads to court — Some homeowners are demanding that the city close a popular path into Griffith Park used to view the famed Hollywood sign until the effects on the neighborhood have been fully evaluated. LA Times article


 Hanford may seek rail station funds, despite Kings County — Despite county opposition, the City of Hanford recently prepared a grant proposal to help fund planning for a rail station. The Hanford City Council will hold a study session July 21 to consider whether to submit the grant request that could bring $600,000 in federal funds for a station on the east side of town. The Business Journal article

Other areas

 Lois Henry: Councilman Harold Hanson calls for ban on personal fireworks — It had nothing to do with me. I swear. In the end, it was the irresponsible 4th of July revelers themselves who convinced Bakersfield City Councilman Harold Hanson that enough is enough. Hanson told me he will call for a full-on ban of all personal fireworks at the council’s July 22 meeting and refer the issue to the Legislation and Litigation Committee. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

 Stockton Record: Opportunity for literacy, common sense – We’re hoping that common sense will prevail and the association will not only allow the Little Free Library to remain but will encourage more of them to be erected. Stockton Record editorial

 Judge blocks Sacramento’s blocked email deletion – A Sacramento Superior Court judge approved a temporary restraining order that stops Sacramento from deleting hundreds of emails.Sacramento Bee article

 Sacramento city documents detail Kevin Johnson’s involvement in black mayors’ group – The city of Sacramento released more than 6,100 emails and more than a dozen documents Tuesday detailing Mayor Kevin Johnson’s past involvement in the embattled National Conference of Black Mayors. Sacramento Bee article

 Stanislaus mayors to weigh kicking Beekman off LAFCO — Mayors of cities throughout Stanislaus County will gather Wednesday night in Newman to discuss removing Hughson Mayor Matt Beekman as the cities’ representative on the Local Agency Formation Commission. Most of the county’s nine mayors were upset when Beekman, as a LAFCO member, cast a vote in March to amend a farmland preservation policy. Modesto Bee article

 Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – End-of-life medical decisions are very difficult, and our state has yet come to grips with how to handle them. California lawmakers did that again on Tuesday when they blocked a sensible assisted-death bill.

Sacramento Bee – Until the science proves otherwise, the dangers presented by e-cigarettes should be treated like cigarettes. Anything else presents an unacceptable hazard to our children and to public health; A wide gulf between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Stockton Record – There has been a clarion call for businesses to invest in south Stockton. Step forward and take a bow, Financial Center Credit Union; We’re hoping that common sense will prevail and the association will not only allow the Little Free Library to remain but will encourage more of them to be erected.

Upcoming Events

  • 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 challengeThe 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 atwww.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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