June 15, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Lawmakers take up $117.5 billion budget without governor’s support — California lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a Democratic spending plan for the next fiscal year but they still have more work ahead. The Legislature plans a Monday vote on a $117.5 billion budget that would send billions more to public schools and create a new tax credit for the working poor. But Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t signed off that plan. AP article; LA Times article

 Gov. Jerry Brown pushes budget measures to consolidate water agencies — The Brown administration is pushing late-emerging budget legislation to let state officials force the consolidation of troubled water systems with larger, better-funded agencies, with the goal of improving Californians’ access to safe drinking water after four years of drought. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown

 George Skelton: Gov. Brown preaches adaptation but ducks big fights — Gov. Jerry Brown speaks passionately about how humans — Californians specifically — must adapt to changing conditions or become extinct. Hopefully he is listening to himself. Because, frankly, I haven’t noticed the governor adapting much in order to confront California’s modern challenges. His record is spotty at best. Skelton column in LA Times


 Border Patrol absolves itself in dozens of cases of lethal force  — In all, an internal investigation of 67 shooting incidents, which left 19 people dead, absolved agents of criminal misconduct in all but three cases, which are still pending. The review was completed last month. LA Times article

 In reversal, Sacramento County wants to restore clinic access to immigrants — Facing a $55-million deficit during the Great Recession, Sacramento County officials made a choice: To save money, they would close their free health clinics to people who entered the country illegally. Six years later, they want to reverse that decision. LA Times article

Other areas

Dan Walters: Torlakson green-lights teacher pay raises for union allies — Last week, state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson sent a letter to superintendents that skinned back on Breshears’ relatively strict interpretation of the LCFF rules, saying it “supersedes that letter.” The money could be used for general salary increases, Torlakson declared, if they furthered LCFF goals. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 Governor should reduce water to fisheries, environment, Stanislaus officials say – Stanislaus County officials think that Gov. Jerry Brown should further reduce water consumption by cutting supplies to the environment and fisheries. While others have made sacrifices, they said, the environment has not shared in the pain. Modesto Bee article

 California’s water czar, part empathetic confessor and part friendly scold – Felicia Marcus peered over her desk the other day as the State Water Resources Control Board came to order in a hearing room here, bracing for another day of bad drought news. There would be warnings about die-offs of birds and fish.  New York Times article

Jobs and the Economy

 Merced City Council eyes $201 million budget — The Merced City Council could adopt a proposed $201 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year during the regular meeting Monday. For the first time since 2008, the proposed budget includes raises for public employees and the addition of new employees. Merced Sun-Star article

 Gary Soiseth: Turlock council finds ways to cut debt, improve services – Turlock’s mayor writes, “Overall, this budget places Turlock on a clear path to a balanced budget by the end of the year, while restoring the most vital needs of our fire, police, parks, recreation, public facilities and engineering departments. It also allows Turlock to avoid nearly $2 million in interest payments by paying down debt with the highest interest rate.” Soiseth op-ed in Modesto Bee

 ‘Magnet for nation’s heroes’ — Along Hunter Street on the northern edge of downtown Stockton are two long-disused spaces, one of them a vacant lot, the other an empty building. But within a couple of years, both sites may come to represent additional puzzle pieces in the evolving profile of Stockton’s long-dormant center city. Stockton Record article

 Another bill to pay, but cost still the same – Tens of thousands of central Stockton residents might be surprised in July when they start receiving a new monthly bill in the mail. But they won’t be paying more overall, officials said. Stockton Record article

 Labor leaders’ credibility slips in minimum-wage debate – L.A.’s decision to boost the minimum wage should have been the sweetest of victories for organized labor. LA Times article

 Google to train San Joaquin County leaders – Some 50 officials at all levels of government in San Joaquin County will be provided with access to a variety of Google apps, developers and experts to help them establish a practice of “moonshot” thinking. Stockton Record article

 Higher home loan rates are likely as Fed rate hike looms — Higher mortgage rates are likely to face consumers once central bank policymakers raise the federal funds rate for the first time since 2006. The rate has been near zero percent since late 2008. LA Times article


 Clovis seeks users for recycled water — The city of Clovis has a precious commodity available: water. The city has become prolific at producing recycled water — once better known as sewage — that can be used for landscaping and irrigation. Fresno Bee article

 Drought slows Stanislaus River, but not the rafting fun – Worsening drought conditions have created slower river flows this summer, but Noah Suarez said he had just as much fun Sunday as any other time he’s rafted down the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry. Modesto Bee article

 LA water department will drain Silver Lake Reservoir this summer — The Silver Lake Reservoir is about to go dry. The reservoir will be temporarily drained this summer as part of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power project to build a new water pipeline beneath it. LA Times article

 Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Stockton officers kill suspect after pursuit — Two officers fatally shot a man threatening them with a stolen vehicle in Stockton’s quiet Country Club neighborhood Sunday afternoon, police reported. Stockton Record article


 Sacramento Bee: Middle-class students land an elegant win-win – Political junkies can savor a priceless line item: The New, Improved John A. Pérez Middle-Class Scholarship, brought to you by – wait for it – Kevin de León. Sacramento Bee editorial

 LA Unified funding for high-need students off target, study says —  In the first full year of a significant state funding boost, Los Angeles Unified administrators failed to consistently funnel the dollars to the high-need students they were meant for, a new study found. LA Times article

 Assemblymember Phil Ting: College accreditation agency is unfair, rife with conflict – The San Francisco Democrat writes, “Education is the great equalizer, but this vital role is compromised when standards are arbitrarily enforced. Just ask any of the students prevented from finishing their degrees because Heald College campuses in Roseville and Rancho Cordova recently closed their doors. The failings of California’s college accreditation system bear a lot of the blame.” Ting op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Proposed legislation would grant high school rodeo riders PE credit — High school freshman Jenna Culotta, 14, has a cowboy hat, a bay mare named Scarlett and a talent for rodeo barrel racing, which means she rides Scarlett like a race car driver around a three-barrel loop. What Jenna would like, please – rodeo riders must strive to be well-mannered, according to the National High School Rodeo Association rule book – is physical education credit for the hours of practice that have made her a barrel race contender. EdSource article


Prison plant problems endanger golf course, farm — Ever since the state prison in Tehachapi started turning foul wastewater into high-quality irrigation water several years ago, lots of people in town have benefited. But the supply of treated prison water has proved spotty this year and recently dried up completely because the state has for months failed to fix problems at the CCI plant. If they aren’t fixed soon, the golf course may have to close and another customer, a sod farm, may have to stop farming. Bakersfield Californian article

 Nonprofit improves air quality with free emissions tests – The non-profit organization Valley Clean Air Now reduced air pollutants while helping hundreds of locals save money Saturday by offering free emissions tests and diagnostic inspections, and by giving away vouchers for repair. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Challenges face Tule elk management in Point Reyes National Seashore — Once thought extinct, tule elk have returned in force in Marin and now have become the source of concern as well as controversy as herds in West Marin are managed against the backdrop of drought, working farms and tourism. Contra Costa Times article

 Monday Q&A: Modesto man takes on trash along river — Modestan Chris Guptill is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys hunting and fishing and hiking through national parks with his wife and two sons. But the Davis High School history teacher’s favorite activity is paddling the Tuolumne River. Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

 State subsidies safe from high court decision — If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare subsidies this month, Californians will not be among the 6.4 million Americans whose monthly premiums would quickly rise to unaffordable levels. San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Other areas

 Stockton named All-America City — Time to crow, Stockton! Sunday night in Denver, the National Civic League recognized Stockton as an All-America City. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee – Middle-class students land an elegant win-win.


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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