June 11, 2015


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Political Briefs

 Top stories

 Monday’s budget will reflect Legislature’s priorities, not deal with Brown — Lawmakers will pass a budget bill by Monday’s constitutional deadline but, unlike last year, it won’t be something that will win the support of Gov. Jerry Brown. Sacramento Bee article; Contra Costa Times article

 U.S. House could put some bullet train funds at risk — One of the financial lifelines of California’s bullet train project has been $3.2 billion in federal grants. But a provision included in a key transportation funding bill passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday could place a roadblock on future federal payouts. LA Times article

 State budget

 California is flush with cash. So why the warnings to prepare for recession? — The governor’s warnings may seem overwrought, given that economists see no sign of trouble on the horizon. And state revenue has routinely exceeded even the most bullish projections in recent years. But the question is whether California has done enough to guard against another budget crisis, and experts say that the answer is a resounding no. LA Times article

 Gov. Brown

Cathleen Decker: Crisis or not? Jerry Brown avoids offering stern advice on drought — The governor offered little in the way of advice for Californians wondering how, exactly, to trim a quarter of their water usage, the level necessary statewide to satisfy his plan. Instead, there was a lot of Brown-speak, explanations of the nuances needed to forge political solutions and airy soliloquies that seemed intended to avoid nasty specifics. Decker in LA Times

 Valley politics

 Modesto Bee: Oakdale Irrigation District’s out-of-whack districts must be fixed – now — Does it matter that the Oakdale Irrigation District’s five election districts are wildly out of balance? Absolutely. Modesto Bee editorial

 Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Alex Padilla unveils California voting overhaul bill — Every California voter would be mailed a ballot that they could drop off at a new network of early voting centers under an ambitious election overhaul bill Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced on Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article



 For those in California illegally, health services vary greatly by county – Counties are required under a 1933 state law to “relieve and support all incompetent poor, indigent persons.” That requirement has been open to interpretation when it comes to healthcare for those in the country illegally. Among the 11 counties that provide low-cost medical care to such immigrants, some limit treatment to seriously ill patients or children. LA Times article

 Other areas


Prop 13 overhaul targets commercial property tax rates – Facing long political odds, state Sens. Loni Hancock and Holly Mitchell introduced on Wednesday a constitutional amendment to overhaul portions of Proposition 13, California’s landmark tax-limiting measure. Capitol Alert; LA Times article; AP article

 White House trade pitch draws Swearengin to D.C. event – A feverish White House trade pitch is relying on support from California Republicans, in a cross-party lobbying campaign that reaches beyond Capitol Hill. With a showdown congressional vote fast approaching, the Obama administration’s touch has extended to Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Though a stalwart Republican, Swearengin was the only mayor at a high-level White House trade session Wednesday alongside cabinet secretaries and corporate CEOs. McClatchy Newspapers article

 George Skelton: State Controller Betty Yee wants tax reform that relies less on the top 1 percent — New state Controller Betty Yee is not your typical politician. She’s boldly sticking her neck out on a continuous issue bound to cause grief. The issue is tax reform, a taboo subject for most elected officials. At least, the comprehensive reform — not merely cutting taxes and creating loopholes — she’s talking about. She wants to broaden the tax base, collecting from more people and relying less on the top 1%. Skelton column in LA Times

 Joel Fox: Protests north, protests south — California politics did not lack for full-throated policy debates yesterday when protestors turned out in Sacramento to oppose SB 277, the vaccination bill for school children, and in Los Angeles to oppose the proposed route of the high -speed rail through the San Fernando Valley. Whether the protestors in either case will ultimately disrupt the policy decisions that they opposed is yet to be determined. If political persuasion fails, in California there is always the question if the protestors can use direct democracy to achieve their goals? Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Dan Morain: On the trail of kangaroo legislation – Although Adidas has stopped using kangaroo, the product remains important to Australia. The Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia retained Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, a high-end law and lobbying firm. Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley raised the issue with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León in a meeting last month.Morain in Sacramento Bee

 Fiorina’s campaign-trail attacks leave out her own ties to Clinton — In Fiorina’s own philanthropic ventures, one of the key points of her resume as a White House hopeful, she has had a friendlier relationship with the Clintons and their foundation than she highlights on the campaign trail. And, in pressing for help for women around the globe, Fiorina is more similar to Hillary Clinton than she admits. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 California bounces back as number 7 economy in the world — After taking a significant recession-era hit, California’s economy has bounced back up to the seventh largest in the world as the state’s gross domestic product reached $2.3 trillion in 2014, show figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. AP article

 Valley agencies gearing up for potentially ‘catastrophic’ fire season – After several consecutive years of record-low rainfall and record-high heat, firefighters in the central San Joaquin Valley are preparing for the possibility of another disastrous fire season. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

 Bondholders renew fight against CalPERS in bankruptcy – Setting up a possible showdown with CalPERS, two bond firms are reviving their legal campaign to win a bigger share of the money being doled out by bankrupt San Bernardino. Sacramento Bee article

 Fresno County reaches agreement with its largest union – Fresno County officials confirmed Wednesday that a tentative agreement has been reached with its largest union, a contract offering 9% in raises by July 2017 if the Service Employees International Union membership ratifies the proposal. Fresno Bee article

 Kern supervisors vote to place county personnel department under CAO’s control – Kern County supervisors approved an ordinance that will shift control of county personnel matters into the hands of County Administrative Officer John Nilon. Bakersfield Californian article

 Howard Jarvis association formally opposes Salida fire assessments – The taxpayers group that wrote California’s Proposition 218 is formally opposing the special assessments proposed in the Salida Fire Protection District. Modesto Bee article


Fresno partners with White House to help small entrepreneurs – Fresno is one of 11 communities nationwide committing to a partnership with the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration to launch a program that will help entrepreneurs start a business in one day. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article


David White: Promoting innovation in Stanislaus County – The CEO of the Stanislaus Business Alliance writes, “One thing that has become clear to me during the years as I have served in economic development, is that innovation is key to a vibrant economy.” White op-ed in Modesto Bee

 Sno-capped entrepreneurs – When Robert Winters was looking for a way to satisfy his yearning to run a Hawaiian shave icebusiness last year, he came across the “Big Kahuna.” It’s a mobile shave ice unit that travels all over town, work functions, graduations, school affairs and private events. He purchased the decked-out truck in October of 2014 and “the rest is history,” the 58-year-old said. Visalia Times-Delta article

 LA County supervisors propose wage hike for in-home care workers – Each year some 140,000 in-home workers take care of approximately 190,000 infirm residents of Los Angeles County. They help them stay out of convalescent centers and other high-cost institutions by doing light housework, cooking, administering medicines and assisting with everyday tasks. But many of those helpers say they cannot make ends meet on the current minimum wage, just over $20,000 a year for full-time work. LA Times article

 Sacramento advocacy groups charge CarMax with selling unsafe used vehicles — Two Sacramento advocacy groups on Wednesday released a report contending that CarMax is selling unsafe cars in California and called on state officials to investigate the in-state operations of the Virginia-based used-auto selling giant. Sacramento Bee article

 Northern California tribe wins right to develop casino – A tiny American Indian tribe in Northern California has won the right to pursue development of a casino in Humboldt County thanks to a federal appeals court decision clarifying the legal rights of more than 200 tribes to millions of acres in the West and across the nation. LA Times article

 Kings EDC, job office revamps website – The Kings Economic Development Corp. and the Kings County Job Training Office launched a new website Wednesday, aimed at providing a one-stop resource for employers and job-seekers alike. Hanford Sentinel article

 Visalia-based Suncrest among nation’s 200 healthiest banks – Although Suncrest Bank will open a new branch June 22 in Kingsburg, with just two other branches inVisalia and Porterville, the bank is still extremely new compared to many of the 6,998 banks in the U.S. Visalia Times-Delta article

 San Francisco officials want to save city’s ‘legacy businesses’ — San Francisco city officials plan to put a measure on the November ballot asking voters to back a preservation fund supporting longtime small businesses and nonprofits facing rising commercial rents and gentrification. KQED report



 Joe Mathews: Who’s to blame for the drought? Everyone, everywhere – This drought is all your fault. Mathews in Sacramento Bee

 Ducks, geese and rice – the next victims of California’s drought? – The nests of hundreds of thousands of birds and the food for millions more could be imperiled this year due to fewer rice crops in California – the latest symptom of the state’s historic drought. LA Times article

 California rice farmers find Japanese trade negotiators a bit starchy – Even as California farmers eye what could be a lucrative expansion into the world’s most discriminating rice market in Japan, their ambitions have been complicated by the state’s severe drought and the surge in the dollar. LA Times article

Drought forging new water partnerships – The California Water Service Co., which serves about two-thirds of Bakersfield, and the Rio Bravo Country Club, in the city’s northeast, are in discussions to acquire months of additional water, Bakersfield officials said Wednesday at the city water board meeting. Bakersfield Californian article

 Mendota water advocate, leader Ed Petry, 86, dies — Mendota civic leader Edward Petry died Friday in Fresno after decades of representing his area’s water interests with state, federal and county agencies. Mr. Petry, a native of Boston, was 86. Fresno Bee article

 Drought cancels mud volleyball; epilepsy group hit hard — It’s been a welcome respite from Kern’s brutal heat for 23 years, but the annual Mud Volleyball Tournament was canceled Wednesday after organizers decided the man-made mini lake the event requires wasn’t a responsible use of a critically low resource, even though they had the necessary permissions to go forward. Bakersfield Californian article

 Drought doesn’t make everyone a stick in the mud — The drought isn’t drying up all the fun to be had in mud, but organizers of events say they’re trying to be more responsible with the water used. Saturday will bring the second annual Muddy With a Mission mud volleyball tournament in Turlock, a fundraiser for three local nonprofit ministries: Prodigal Sons & Daughters,Turlock Pregnancy Center and Turlock Gospel Mission. Modesto Bee article

 California settles heat-death lawsuits, agrees to improve — Family members of two farm workers who died from suspected heat-related illnesses and a labor union have settled their lawsuits against California on the condition that the state do more to ensure laborers are safe when temperatures rise. AP article; Bakersfield Californian article

 Artificial turf for Sacramento’s front lawns? — If you live in the City of Sacramento, it is illegal to replace your front lawn with artificial turf. But, that could change. Capital Public Radio report

 Lemoore home set to reuse gray water — Grey water could become the new, not-so-secret weapon in Kings County residents’ war against drought. At least, Michael Dias sure hopes so.Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Lodi police acquires a civilian-made armored vehicle — Lodi police have taken possession of a new armored vehicle, a civilian-made model that promises to safely deliver officers into active-shooter crime scenes. Sacramento Bee article

 Study: San Francisco needs hundreds more cops – Two San Francisco supervisors are calling for a major expansion of the police force, saying a city study released Wednesday suggests that hundreds more officers should be on the streets to deal with a growing population and a surge in property crimes like car burglaries and auto thefts. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Advocacy groups criticize $500 million in local jail funding – Sixteen different California advocacy groups are criticizing the way a state board is distributing $500 million for construction of local jails. AP article

 Why LAPD’s Beck and civilian police panel differ on Ezell Ford shooting – The disagreement between the chief and his civilian bosses about whether police should have detained Ford at all is at the heart of their conflicting conclusions about his death in August at the hands of two members of a gang unit. LA Times article

 LAPD union president blasts commission ruling on Ezell Ford shooting — The president of the union that represents rank-and-file Los Angeles police officers said Wednesday that his members were frustrated and worried after the city’s Police Commission this week found that an officer who shot Ezell Ford was at fault. LA Times article

 Ezell Ford’s mother says decision shows ‘what happened to Ezell was wrong’ — When Ezell Ford’s mother learned Tuesday afternoon that L.A. police commissioners had faulted one of the officers who fatally shot her son, her first reaction, she said, was: “Hallelujah!” LA Times article

 Police skip Oakland nighttime protest by 100 marchers — An energetic group of about 100 protesters took to the streets of downtown Oakland Wednesday in yet another challenge to Mayor Libby Schaaf’s crackdown on nighttime demonstrations. San Francisco Chronicle article


 California lawmakers’ socks ‘stand with CSU’ – The state budget is not entirely done, and some state lawmakers are sending a message to Gov. Jerry Brown by wearing their priorities on their feet. Last week, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and a bipartisan group of legislators dressed up their suits with bright red socks to #StandWithCSU – a bold fashion statement that was part of a push by California State University to get more money. Capitol Alert

 Avoiding the dead end of never learning English — It’s been more than four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark case involving San Francisco Unified School District, ruled that students whose first language is not English must receive extra help to learn it, otherwise their education would be meaningless. Yet today, California schools are still under scrutiny by the federal government for failing to educate English learners. KQED report

 Sexual assault prevention program cuts risk of rape nearly 50 percent, study says —  An intensive program showing female college students how to recognize and resist sexual aggression reduced their chances of being raped over a year period by nearly half, according to new research. LA Times article

 Fresno Bee: Hanson and board must fix construction contract problems – Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson and most of the district’s trustees have been notably silent since the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that the contract awarded to Harris Construction to build Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School didn’t follow state law. Fresno Bee editorial

 State funding to improve engineering education of Merced, Mariposa teachers — The Merced County Office of Education announced additional funding this week for a total of $1.8 million that is earmarked to train teachers in engineering instruction. The Merced County Office of Education will partner with UC Merced, Merced College, Merced City School District and Mariposa Unified School District for the three-year California Academic Math Science Program grant through the California Department of Education, according to a news release. Merced Sun-Star article

 Adjoining counties devise different strategies to expand preschool — The counties’ contrasting approaches to funding early education programs highlight the efforts of local governments across the state to expand access to preschools. EdSource article


 Officials: Cost to clean oiled Santa Barbara beaches exceeds $60 million – Cleaning up the thousands of gallons of crude oil that fouled Refugio State Beach on May 19 has cost more than $60 million, officials said Wednesday, and the figure is expected to grow as the cleanup continues. LA Times article; AP article

 Sacramento Bee: Oil spill inquiries show the need for real oversight –How about just some real enforcement while we try to operate an oil industry and a paradise in the same space? Or is that too mysterious? Sacramento Bee editorial

 Santa Barbara County official rejects plan to move crude oil by truck – A Santa Barbara County official has rejected a proposal by Exxon Mobil to send a fleet of 6,720-gallon trucks on as many as 192 daily trips on U.S. 101 while the pipeline the company normally uses is out of commission after last month’s oil spill. LA Times article

 EPA ‘environmental justice’ map highlights California’s pollution ills — Many Southern California communities stand out as some of the nation’s worst environmental justice hot spots, according to a new map released Wednesday by the Obama administration. LA Times article

 Health/Human Services

 Drug-cost disclosure hits obstacle – An attempt to force drug makers to disclose their costs and profits for drugs that sell wholesale for more than $10,000 annually has derailed in the  Assembly, facing strong opposition from an industry targeting similar measures in other states. The forces battling over the bill include some of the most powerful in California.  Capitol Weekly article

 Form signed by ill ER patient doesn’t immunize hospital for shoddy care – A state appeals court said Tuesday that hospitals can’t automatically shield themselves from damages by relying on a form signed by an emergency room patient who may be seriously ill. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Four-year study shows long-term gains for children on the autism spectrum – The long-term success of an early autism treatment co-developed by a UC Davis researcher was validated this week by a national study soon to be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Sacramento Bee article

 FDA panel backs Amgen cholesterol drug for some patients – Federal health advisors say a highly anticipated cholesterol-lowering drug from Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. should be approved for some patients with dangerously high levels of the artery-clogging substance. AP article

 Merced County’s Human Services Agency director to retire at end of July — Ana Pagan retires at the end of next month, leaving Merced County with dozens of community programs and a team ready to continue her mission of creating a stronger and healthier community. Merced Sun-Star article

 Land Use/Housing

 Sacramento seeks to demolish, rebuild public housing projects — Housing officials say it’s time for the rows of antiquated barracks-like brick buildings to come down, to be replaced by a mixed-use neighborhood, where the poor would mingle with more affluent families in an urban, energetic community. Sacramento Bee article

 Controversial proposal for downtown high-rises goes to Sacramento planning commission — A proposal to convert a downtown Sacramento development built in the 1960s from low-rise apartments to high-rise condos has reignited a debate over whether this leafy, four-block piece of real estate should be packed with housing or left alone. Sacramento Bee article


GET proposes higher bus fares – Golden Empire Transit District is proposing its first fare hike in five years in hopes of raising an additional $320,000 a year and coming into compliance with state rules that passengers pay at least a fifth of the public bus system’s expenses. Bakersfield Californian article

 Modesto official says long-delayed Virginia Corridor extension to open – The newest addition to the Virginia Corridor – the paved trail popular with walkers, bicyclists and joggers – finally will open after many months of delays. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

 Homeless numbers rise in Kings, Tulare counties – The number of homeless people in Tulare and Kings counties is increasing, and the rate of homelessness is higher than national and state averages, according to a new report. The 2015 Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Persons by the Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance shows the total number of counted homeless in the two counties going up for a second year in a row, following several years of declining numbers. Fresno Bee article

 Another poet laureate, and another focus on Fresno’s vibrant poetry scene – Somehow, between the constantly ringing phone and the TV news crews crowding into his home office and the Library of Congress pestering him to stick to his interview schedule, Juan Felipe Herrera on Wednesday afternoon remembered something very important. Fresno Bee article

 Interview and poems: Fresno’s Juan Felipe Herrera named U.S. Poet Laureate – For the second time in five years, a Fresno poet has received the nation’s highest honor for his field. Former Fresno State professor Juan Felipe Herrera is the new Poet Laureate of the United States. Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both the beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. He joins the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.   In this interview Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero chats with Herrera about his life, poetry and future.  KVPR report

 State high court gives Napa foie gras lawsuit the go-ahead – The state Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Wednesday to an animal-rights group to sue a restaurant that served foie gras, but the suit will proceed only if federal courts reinstate California’s ban on the dish. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Livingston council appoints new member – The Livingston City Council appointed a new member to the board Tuesday, filling the position left empty in late April by a councilman who resigned. With a 3-0 vote, the council appointed Alex McCabe, 33, to fill the seat vacated by former Councilman David Mendoza, who resigned after he moved out of the city. Merced Sun-Star article

 Kings deputies slated for suicide-bomber response training – Quick quiz: How do you keep Kings County eligible for Department of Homeland Security grants? If you’re Sgt. Pete Thompson and Sgt. Mark Lusk of the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, the answer is easy: Attend the Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombings Course at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at New Mexico Tech University from July 26 to July 31. Hanford Sentinel article

 Stanislaus County might be liable for locksmith’s murder, judge says — Survivors of a locksmith slain in Modesto alongside a deputy sheriff could have a good case in their wrongful death lawsuit against Stanislaus County, a federal judge said in a key ruling made public this week. Modesto Bee article

 Fresno Council Member Olivier to City Hall: Paint the Art Museum — Coats of paint and sweetheart leases took center stage Wednesday morning at Fresno budget hearings. Council Member Clint Olivier asked City Hall to do its duty by painting the outside of the Fresno Art Museum. Fresno Bee article


Leaving Laos: ‘If we stayed, I knew we wouldn’t survive’ — Forty years ago the Hmong people began seeking refuge in the United States after the CIA recruited a guerrilla army of Hmong people to fight the North Vietnamese in Laos in what’s known as the Secret War. Before coming to the US they spent years in refugee camps in Thailand. Thousands of those refugees made it to America where their lives changed forever. KVPR report

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Finally, a sound proposal on motorcycle lane-splitting; Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson and most of the district’s trustees have been notably silentsince the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that the contract awarded to Harris Construction to build Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School didn’t follow state law.

Modesto Bee – Does it matter that the Oakdale Irrigation District’s five election districts are wildly out of balance? Absolutely.

Sacramento Bee – How about just some real enforcement while we try to operate an oil industry and a paradise in the same space? Or is that too mysterious?; No on Curtis Park gas station,yes on downtown housing.


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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