June 14, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Dan Walters: California’s Capitol is isolated island with two tribes — Anthropologists probe the evolution of primitive societies, which makes the Capitol a perfect laboratory. It’s an isolated island occupied by two tribes with distinct cultural attributes. Sometimes they cooperate to pursue common goals but often are rivals. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

 Democratic lawmakers push Brown for more spending — The Democratic-controlled Legislature is expected to pass the state budget on Monday with one caveat: It’s not done. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Dan Morain: Don’t mess with Munger’s baby — Charles Munger Jr. is ready to pounce, not that he wants to, necessarily. As soon as Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a decision that, if it turns out as Munger fears, could lead to the demise of his creation, a voter-approved independent commission that draws district lines for California’s 53 members of Congress. Morain in Sacramento Bee


 Angelica Salas: California needs to invest in deferred action plans for immigrants – The executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles writes, “As part of its final budget negotiations, the Legislature is considering a $20 million proposal dedicated to coordinate citizenship and immigration assistance. This is a step in the right direction, but this step must be followed by others.” Salas op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Immigration forum draws crowd at Fresno’s Manchester Center – Around 75 people gathered Saturday morning at Manchester Center for a forum discussing the latest immigration laws after President Barack Obama’s executive actions and possible scams plaguing immigrant communities.  Fresno Bee article

 Other areas

Jon Coupal and Rex Hime: Attacking Prop 13 would hurt businesses, economy – Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Rime, president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association, write, “This massive tax increase is not really about forcing businesses to pay their fair share because they already do. Instead, it is simply a money grab by special interests who want to raise taxes even more than the billions of dollars in new taxes raised by Proposition 30 in 2012.” Coupal/Hime op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Labor ponders how hard to punish Democrats who back trade measures – Retaliation is always difficult to game out, but in California it would come with a twist: The members labor is angriest at are Democrats who barely won their seats against strong Republican challenges. LA Times article

 California state legislature LGBT Caucus to honor Porterville’s Gurrola — On Monday, June 22, the LGBT Caucus of the California Legislature will honor Porterville’s Virginia Gurrola, and others from across the state, in recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments and leadership as members of the LGBT and allied communities. Visalia Times-Delta article


News Briefs

Top Stories

 Running dry: How drought is forging a new California – As water grows scarcer, Californians must decide how to parcel out a shrinking inheritance. There will always be some water. How much is unknown. How it’s divided has consequences. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Pesticide use near schools triggers a push for statewide regulations — After a flurry of concern in recent months from parents such as Elliott, school administrators and local leaders, California regulators are developing the first statewide restrictions on pesticide use near schools. The move has reignited a debate about how to protect children from potentially dangerous chemicals used to grow strawberries, almonds, lettuce and other crops in the nation’s top agricultural-producing state. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

 Young professionals are the face of evolving downtown Fresno – New apartments and remodeled lofts have sprung up all over downtown Fresno, a place many had once written off. Although revitalizing downtown still has a ways to go, the new homes are filling up. Just who is moving there? The answer you often hear is “young professionals.” Fresno Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: A way to tame the pension beast – Behind every cut City Hall makes, every withering city service, and ominously behind Stockton’s aspirations to become a cooler, safer city in a new era, looms the specter of Hogzilla. Public employee pensions. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

 San Bernardino: Broken city – San Bernardino, once a sturdy, middle class “All-America City,” is now bankrupt, the poorest city of its size in California, and a symbol of the nation’s worst urban woes. LA Times article

 Mayor Garcetti signs measure to boost LA’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020 – Promising to provide relief for families enduring “back-breaking poverty,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Saturday signed into law a measure raising the citywide minimum wage to $15 by 2020. LA Times article; AP article

 Increasing number of women-owned businesses in Sacramento, statewide – Sacramento-area women running their own firms say they are not surprised by the growth in women-owned companies in the region and across the state. Sacramento Bee article

 Rising loan volumes raising credit union fortunes – Credit union loan volumes are climbing in San Joaquin County, although the rebound from the lows of the Great Recession trails that of the Central Valley and California, the California Credit Union League reported. Stockton Record article

 California’s commercial drone industry is taking off — 3D Robotics is out in front of dozens of California companies jumping into the nascent business of selling drones to consumers and commercial enterprises, just as companies in the state did earlier when the drone market consisted largely of one customer: the Pentagon. LA Times article

 Sacramento Marina looks to stage a comeback — An event for boating enthusiasts at the Sacramento Marina drew a few hundred people to Miller Park Saturday, part of a larger effort to raise awareness about the landing after a period of decline. Sacramento Bee article



 California farmers wasting water or providing benefits? – California’s historic drought has taught us a lot about how water is used and who uses it the most. Well-publicized reports and studies have broken down the amount of water needed to grow food in California. And while the numbers were known to farmers, they weren’t to many nongrowers, with some reacting strongly and openly criticizing the agriculture industry for its water usage and crop choices. Fresno Bee article

 Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’ – Drought or no drought, Steve Yuhas resents the idea that it is somehow shameful to be a water hog. If you can pay for it, he argues, you should get your water. Washington Post article

 State curtails senior water rights for Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts – The state Friday curtailed some of the water rights for the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts, a move their leaders vowed to fight. They and the already-ravaged Merced Irrigation District were among 114 rights holders in the Central Valley that the State Water Resources Control Board included in its latest order amid the extreme drought. Modesto Bee article

Whose water is it? Managers may audit pipes by Hart Park – In wet years, no one pays much attention to the pipes that dip down into the Kern River near Hart Park and, like so many straws, suck up water for use by riverbank property owners. But at times like these, with the Kern running at exceptionally low levels, water rights-holders downriver start to wonder: How many of those pipes are operating legitimately, and how many are essentially siphoning someone else’s water? Bakersfield Californian article

 UC Merced study champions locally produced food – The local food movement gets a boost in new research out of UC Merced, which finds potential for plenty within 50 miles of most American cities. The study projects that 80 to 85 percent of the nation’s people could get all of their food within that radius if farming practices changed to serve just local markets. Modesto Bee article

 Esperanza Vielma: Gov. Brown, abandon delta tunnels plan – The Stockton resident and executive director of Café Coop writes, “The tunnels would be the death of the delta, and overpumping is just a slower death. If the governor gets his tunnels, the delta farm community will end up with many homeless families. These decisions will pit farmworker against farmworker, because the tunnels transfer water — and wealth — from one region to another. Delta farm workers will end up losing out.” Vielma op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Tim Buzby: Uprooting some farming myths – The president and CEO of Farmer Mac writes, “As California descends further into its worst drought in recorded history, residents of the Golden State are looking for someone to blame. Many city dwellers have pointed fingers at the state’s farmers and ranchers. But they’re blaming the victims.” Buzby op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Andrew Watkins: Plethora of regs hamper farmers ability to farm – The president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation writes, “In California, we are proud of the fact that we have the most diverse agricultural industry in the world. Unfortunately the magnificent Mediterranean climate does little to ease the pain of the increasingly onerous regulatory climate.” Watkins in Stockton Record

 Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Sacramento Bee: Confront reality and end death penalty charade – People on death row have committed horrible murders. Each should die in prison. But California’s elected leaders and the electorate must face reality. The death penalty has not worked, and never will. Sacramento Bee editorial

 Luis Alejo: Time for Legislature to act on body camera funding for police – The Watsonville Democrat and chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus writes, “Body cameras should not be limited to those communities that can afford them – especially when low-income communities are more likely to need this technology. Not providing cameras to communities that desire the latest technological advances in public safety is a disservice.” Alejo op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Rise in accidental gunshots by LA County deputies follows new firearm — Accidental gunshots by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have more than doubled in two years, endangering bystanders and occasionally injuring deputies. The jump coincides with the department’s move to a new handgun that lacks a safety lever and requires less pressure to pull the trigger. LA Times article

 Some criticize Garcetti’s low-key approach to police shootings – At a time when officers’ killings of young black men have tested big-city mayors across the country, some question how well Garcetti’s low-key style can be adapted to the combustible politics of race and policing. LA Times article

 On Duty with the CHP: Recruiting the best of the best — With over 7,500 sworn officers across the state, the CHP is the largest state police force in the nation, and we are constantly searching for women and men to join our department. The CHP is actively striving to have a force that reflects the diversity of this great state. This is going to be a recruitment article. On Duty column in Fresno Bee


 California launches audit of mental health services in schools – California’s state auditor has launched an investigation of school districts and other local educational agencies to determine whether they are delivering enough treatment to children with serious mental illnesses. Sacramento Bee article

 Fresno Bee: Open up Fresno Unified schools for community use – Fresno only need look to Clovis to see how it is done. That community has grown dramatically in size and popularity because it has made schools and recreation top priorities. Clovis Unified doesn’t chain the gates to its schools when the teachers leave for the day. Fresno Bee editorial

 Kern district expects millions in savings from new energy contract – The Kern High School District plans to start initial construction late July in a $69 million energy conservation project officials say will mean short- and long-term energy savings. Bakersfield Californian article

 Lewis Griswold: Porterville school excels at Odyssey of the Mind – A team of students from Summit Charter Collegiate Academy in Porterville took second place in the Odyssey of the Mind world finals. Griswold in Fresno Bee

 Ethnic studies gaining traction in Sacramento-area public schools – Sacramento City Unified this month became the fifth – and largest – school district in the state to add ethnic studies as a future graduation requirement, joining a handful of districts across California that will ask students to study U.S. minority cultures, including Woodland Joint Unified. Sacramento Bee article

 A marvel and a miracle — Even before he beat cancer — twice — and walked across the stage of Morada Middle School’s eighth-grade promotion ceremony to loud cheers and tears of joy, Jojo Quilantang was a marvel. Stockton Record article



 Mandatory insect spraying angers Sacramento County residents — Mandatory state spraying of three pesticides to kill the invasive Japanese beetle in Fair Oaks and Carmichael has drawn the ire of residents concerned about forced spraying on their property and the lack of a public forum to discuss the issue with neighbors. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

 California’s largest nursing home owner under fire from government regulators — Since 2006, Rechnitz and his primary company, Brius Healthcare Services, have acquired 81 nursing homes up and down the state, many of them through bankruptcy court. In the past year, multiple alarms have been raised about this relative newcomer to the industry and the care provided in some of his homes. His facilities have become the target of police scrutiny, lawsuits, stiff regulatory fines and state and federal investigations that have uncovered numerous alleged violations.Sacramento Bee article; ‘Nine stories from Rechnitz’s California nursing homes’ in Sacramento Bee

 Study of returns to ER suggests lack of follow-up care – No one wants to make a repeat visit to the emergency room for the same complaint, but new research suggests it’s more common than previously thought and surprisingly, people frequently wind up at a different ER the second time around. AP article

 Stanford stem cell product, delayed for more than a decade, to be tested again — In the 1990s, Stanford’s Irv Weissman created a unique way to grow and deliver blood stem cells to desperate patients with aggressive cancers, boosting survival rates. But then the discovery itself died — a victim of the heartbreaking economics of commercial stem-cell development, where the long and rocky road of research, especially in the field of “personalized medicine,” often discourages investment. San Jose Mercury News article

 Volunteer physicians fill care gap through telemedicine — It is Herzberg and medical professionals like him that a San Francisco physician named Laurie Green had in mind when she conceived and co-founded the Maven Project. Her goal was to harness the energy and talent of volunteer physicians, particularly those who are retired, to help solve some of health care’s most vexing issues: the lack of access to both primary and specialty medical care in under-served areas and a growing need for health services, spurred in part by having more people covered under the federal health law. San Francisco Chronicle article


North County Corridor expressway debates on the horizon – A major milestone in the North County Corridor planning process for an expressway skirting Modesto, Riverbank and Oakdale will be pushed from July to August. That’s when key environmental documents will become public, with reams of studies on how the road could affect people, farms and other businesses, depending on which specific route segments among several are chosen. Modesto Bee article

Modesto concerned about potential closure of Highway 99 exit to downtown — It may not happen for more than a decade, but Modesto officials are asking the California Department of Transportation not to close a key Highway 99 exit to downtown. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

 Jeff Jardine: Apathetic folks share blame when they don’t pay attention to public agencies – There’s never a bad time to pay attention to what public officials, elected or otherwise, are doing. A couple of stories in The Modesto Bee over the past few days offer stark reminders. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

 Kerman city manager Luis Patlan to resign – Kerman City Manager Luis Patlan announced Tuesday he will resign effective July 3. He did not say why he was resigning. Patlan began working with the city in 2007 as its director of planning and development services. Fresno Bee article

 Donald W. Blount: No fun at this pool party — It would be an understatement to describe the video from the McKinney, Texas pool party debacle as disturbing. Blount column in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Open up Fresno Unified schools for community use.

Sacramento Bee – People on death row have committed horrible murders. Each should die in prison. But California’s elected leaders and the electorate must face reality. The death penalty has not worked, and never will.


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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