June 23, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Perea has options after Assembly career ends — Just where, exactly, is Assembly Member Henry T. Perea headed? This isn’t a short-term musing. It’s pondering the big picture for the Fresno Democrat, who is termed out of the Assembly at the end of next year. Perea isn’t talking, but there are, politically speaking, multiple potential options for him. One of those is Congress, though it might be more accurately described as two options. Fresno Bee article

 2016 ballot a fight over everything — Bottled water, immigration, condoms, hospital fees, plastic bags, statehood, alimony – those are just a smattering of the issues on or trying to get on California’s 2016 statewide ballot. There are 36 proposed initiatives that are either awaiting review in the Attorney General’s Office or are being shopped around California’s 58 counties for signatures. Capitol Weekly article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 California lawmakers denounce kill-gays ballot initiative — Members of the California Assembly are denouncing a proposed ballot measure that would make it legal to murder gay and lesbian people. AP article


Other areas


State Senate tells U.S. Supreme Court not to mess with ‘one person, one vote’ — The state Senate on Monday sent a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court to not mess with the principal of “one person, one vote.’’ The resolution, which passed 36-0, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court announced it would consider a Texas case challenging the way electoral districts are drawn. LA Times article


Nation of Islam opposes California vaccine mandate bill — With a leader of the Nation of Islam warning African American lawmakers of political repercussions if they support a California bill mandating vaccines, a coalition of other black organizations on Monday countered the campaign with support for the measure. LA Times article

 Education committee supports school nickname ban – California officials took one step closer to banning the name “Redskins” from public schools. Senate Education Committee members, in near-unanimous support last week for Assembly Bill 30, voted 7-1 to push the bill forward, despite testimony from two local administrators. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Court ruling against gay marriage could cause legal ‘chaos’ – Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the coming days.AP article

 Ronald Reagan statue unveiled at state Capitol — The Ronald Reagan Centennial Capitol Foundation unveiled its statue of the former U.S. president and California governor in the Capitol’s basement rotunda Monday. Capitol Alert; LA Times article

 Tom Fife: Generally, tighter gun laws mean higher homicide rates — Nobody likes gun violence, but in the whole scheme of things the numbers indicate we should be more concerned about curing cancer or heart disease than disarming legal gun owners. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

 Joe Altschule: Enough is enough – at least start solving gun problem — Enough is enough. Another mass murder. How many more horrific shootings and senseless massacres of innocent men, women and young children must we see before we confront the reality that guns are the major contributing factor to this crazy, violent wild west mentality that infects our society?Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

 Yee’s legislative calendar shows meetings with undercover FBI agents — A rare look into the legislative calendar of disgraced former state Sen. Leland Yee illustrates a harried schedule that regularly led him from the capital to San Francisco as he juggled meetings with constituents, fellow lawmakers and undercover FBI agents from whom he is accused of accepting bribes.  Contra Costa Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 Supreme Court rules in favor of dissident farmers — The Supreme Court has pruned a long-running federal raisin supply management program and called its future into question, with a ruling that the government must pay for raisins kept out of the marketplace. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article; AP article; KVPR report

 Many farmers miss deadline for reporting cuts –  A majority of farmers and others holding some of California’s strongest claims to water have missed a deadline to confirm they stopped pumping from rivers and streams during the drought, state officials said Monday. AP article; LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

 Stockton police contract up for council approval – City officials and leaders of the union that represents Stockton police officers have agreed on a new contract, but they also concur the upgraded working conditions are unlikely to immediately end the attrition plaguing the understaffed force. Stockton Record article

 Tejon Ranch not owned by Indians, court rules – Tejon Ranch south of Bakersfield, one of the largest pieces of private property in the United States and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is not about to be handed over to Native Americans under a ruling Monday from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Central Valley Business Times reports. Bakersfield Californian article

 Mayor Ashley Swearengin: Adding to reserve fund is right decision – Fresno’s mayor writes, “There’s a certain luxury to standing on the sidelines. It’s the advantage of questioning the play calling without having to endure the endless hours of preparation and consternation that goes into each and every game plan. When it comes to the issue of Fresno parks, the sidelines are getting crowded.” Swearengin op-ed in Fresno Bee

 CEO pay is 303 times that of workers, study finds – Chief executives of the country’s largest firms made 303 times more than a “typical” worker in 2014, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. LA Times article

 Merced County Fair attendance grows – Merced County Fair attendance rose by 2 percent this month to a total of 74,678 visitors, fair officials reported. Paid attendance reached 48,963, which was 10 percent greater than last year’s attendance numbers, the release stated. Merced Sun-Star article

 Modesto council faces full agenda – The Modesto City Council faces a full agenda Tuesday as it takes up items such as extending the ban on massage businesses; approving the sale of part of the city’s water system; moving forward on an assessment district in which downtown property owners would pay for improvements; and approving a cash-for-grass program in which a homeowner would get as much as $500 for replacing lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping. Modesto Bee article

 Trial challenging city subsidy for new Sacramento arena begins – The price tag for Sacramento’s new downtown arena has jumped by $30 million in recent months and is now expected to total $507 million, a Sacramento city official said Monday. Sacramento Bee article

 Joel Fox: A lone voice – voting against the minimum wage hike in LA — City Councilman Mitchell Englander was the lone no vote against raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour. It would be over the top to suggest his stand was akin to Gary Cooper inHigh Noon — one man standing against the threat to the town – but suffice it to say it was important for someone to stand up and point out the concerns raised by the business community and others. Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Millennials want an end to hierarchies in the workplace – so, no corner office – Surveys show that millennials, now the largest living generation, want not hierarchy but “holocracy” – a flatter power structure where their voices will be heard, where they’ll have easier access to those at the top, where they’ll be able to take on challenges and grow from the start, rather than waiting and “paying dues” like most baby boomers and Generation X workers have had to. Washington Post article

 Confusion swirls around state’s new paid sick law – California employers must not be caught off-guard by a new paid sick leave law that goes into effect on July 1. The state penalties for non-compliance include stiff fines. Bakersfield Californian article

 Faulconer makes case to Goodell — Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Monday afternoon about San Diego’s efforts to build a new Chargers stadium, and the city’s chief stadium negotiator is scheduled to meet Tuesday with top league officials in New York City.  San Diego Union-Tribune article

Oakland not releasing Raiders stadium plan — City officials finally have their hands on a preliminary financing plan for a new Oakland Raiders stadium that, if workable, could keep the Raiders in the East Bay, but chase away the Oakland A’s. Contra Costa Times article

 Taxi drivers picket mayor’s visit to Uber headquarters — Taxi drivers angry over the incursion of ride-hailing services into their turf protested outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco Monday as Mayor Ed Lee led officials from the national mayors conference on a tour meant to show off Uber’s benefit to the city. San Francisco Chronicle article


 What’s next for California’s historic water cuts in drought – Most California farmers, water districts and others affected by the broadest water cutbacks for century-old water rights did not respond to state regulators. It’s the latest challenge for the State Water Resources Control Board in reducing water consumption during California’s fourth year of drought as rivers and streams run too dry to meet demand. A look at what this means for California’s water saving efforts.  AP article

 Threatened with water shutoff, Mountain House lands potential supply – On Monday, officials with the Mountain House Community Services District disclosed a tentative water purchase that would get the community of 11,000 “through the end of the year,” said district general manager Edwin Pattison. The deal still has to be approved Tuesday by the seller, the nearby South San Joaquin Irrigation District, which is facing water shortages of its own. South San Joaquin’s urban customers include Tracy, Lathrop and Manteca. Sacramento Bee article; Stockton Record article; LA Times article

Mark Grossi: Media siege didn’t reveal East Porterville’s real drought peril – In the worldwide reporting frenzy on California drought and dry wells in East Porterville, I hadn’t read about a health crisis until Bee reporter Andrea Castillo told us about it on Sunday. This is about human suffering among people who already are dying younger due to dirty air, polluted water, poverty and lack of education. The drought is adding one more stress in their lives, as Castillo’s story dramatically showed. Grossi in Fresno Bee

 Fresno Bee: All cities must put in water meters – Valley cities — from the biggest to the smallest — have no excuse for not having water meters by now. Fresno Bee editorial

 Spigot alert: Tighter water rules likely — San Diego residents would face a series of new restrictions on outdoor irrigation, vehicle washing and use of fountains under a proposed ordinance scheduled for City Council approval on June 30.  San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Drought has – again – pushed a black bear into urban Bakersfield — A juvenile black bear got a jump start on the annual bear siting season Monday, climbing a tree in the front yard of a northeast Bakersfield home and refusing to budge all day. Coming one day after the start of summer, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife official said this was the earliest bear siting in the Bakersfield city limits that she could recall. Bakersfield Californian article

 Local food is still a myth. Can it grow beyond that? – Local food enthusiasts have been trying to make the case that buying food from farmers nearby supports local economies, boosts food security and is better for the environment. But so far, “local” food still makes up a pretty small fraction of what Americans eat. And given that most agriculture in the U.S. is geared toward producing food crops — from corn to soybeans to almonds — for the global market, it doesn’t seem likely that will change. KVPR report

 Undercover video sheds light on turkey slaughter – Turkey hatchlings and embryos at a Foster Farms plant in Fresno were tossed in plastic bags to suffocate or were ground up alive, according to a new undercover video released Monday by an animal-rights group. LA Times article

 UC Davis study finds dry weather threatening California wildflowers — Dry, hot weather has reduced the diversity of California’s beloved native wildflowers, perhaps irrevocably, according to a new study from University of California, Davis researchers. Sacramento Bee article

 California drought brings a golden lining — As California’s prolonged drought dries up irrigation supplies for agriculture and forces cutbacks in urban water deliveries, it also creates opportunities for prospectors and miners panning, sluicing, chiseling and diving for gold. Sacramento Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

 High court voids routine police check of hotel registries – The Supreme Court struck down a Los Angeles ordinance Monday that allowed police to inspect hotel guest records on demand. The justices voted 5-4 to reject the city’s argument that the measure was needed to help fight prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal gambling at budget hotels and motels. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

 LAPD: Man shot in Los Feliz pointed hands at officers, moved ‘aggressively’ — An unarmed man shot by police Friday in Los Feliz had pointed his clasped hands at officers and then moved “aggressively” toward them, police said Monday, leading the officers to believe he had a gun in his towel-wrapped hand. LA Times article

 Report: African-American adults seven times as likely as whites to be arrested in San Francisco – Although African-Americans represent just six percent of San Francisco’s adult population, they are seven times as likely as whites to be arrested, according to a report slated for release Tuesday. KQED report

 Court to hear San Francisco Police Department racist texting case, officers back on paid leave – Nine San Francisco police officers facing various levels of discipline for their involvement in a bigoted text messages scandal will remain on paid leave while their petition to halt the city’s action against them makes its way through San Francisco Superior Court, a judge ordered Monday. KQED report

 281 graduate Tulare County Drug Court — Monday’s graduation class was the 18th since the program started in 1996 as an alternative for people to get clean in lieu of being incarcerated, sometimes for years. In all, nearly 3,000 people have graduated. Visalia Times-Delta article


 Fresno Unified board members call for outside investigation into lease-back deal – Three Fresno Unified School District trustees are calling for an outside investigation of a controversial contract with Harris Construction, saying details released so far about a lease-leaseback deal have been “conflicting” and “incomplete.” Fresno Bee article

 Heald College closure: New tool to help with loan relief – California State Attorney General Kamala Harris has released an interactive tool to help former Corinthian Colleges Inc. students learn about new loan relief options provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Stockton Record article

 UC Merced teams up with NASA to boost STEM careers, nanotechnology – Only 16 percent of US high school seniors are proficient in math and are interested in a STEM career. And nationally, only about 4 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 25 and 34 have associate’s degrees or higher in STEM fields. Here in the San Joaquin Valley though, there’s a new effort to change that, bringing together NASA and UC Merced for a groundbreaking program at the valley campus that aims to lead to new nanotechnology solutions for space exploration and increase the number of science, technology, engineering and math graduates. KVPR report

 California tempers backlash while embracing Common Core — While the Common Core education standards provoked political backlash and testing boycotts around the country this year, the state that educates more public school children than any other – California – was conspicuously absent from the debate. AP article

 Stockton Unified will discuss local funding plan – Stockton Unified School District officials are expected to vote Tuesday on an update to the Local Control Accountability Plan for the 2015-16 school year as part of a three-year program aimed to reach specific goals for each district. Stockton Record article

 From homeless in Fresno to college graduate — Sleeping in a car with her mother and stepfather in Fresno, even the moon seemed to weigh heavy on DJ Morris’ shoulders. At the central Fresno park, she watched other children climb into SUVs with their families hauling sports equipment on their way home. Fresno Bee article

 State board gets extra year to create measures of school progress — The Legislature has given the State Board of Education an extra year to complete the next phase of a new school accountability system required by the state’s two-year-old funding law. EdSource article


 Study: Action on climate change could save thousands of lives, billions of dollars – A global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions would prevent nearly 70,000 premature American deaths annually by the end of the century while sparing the country hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of economic losses, according to a major government study on the cost of climate change. Washington Post article

 How fracking is fueling a shift from coal to gas – When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you’re burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation’s electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this low-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel. NPR report

 Report blasts secret talks between utilities, CPUC – The ability of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and other utilities to engage in back-channel talks with top California Public Utilities Commission officials unfairly skews decisions in favor of big-money interests, and the practice should be banned in rate cases, a review requested by the state agency concluded Monday. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Hotel Fresno, farmworker vanpools likely to receive state greenhouse-gas grants – The renovation of the dilapidated Hotel Fresno building into affordable apartments is destined to receive about $4.8 million in cap-and-trade money from California’s greenhouse-gas reduction program, while a vanpool program headquartered in Hanford is slated to get about $3 million.Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

 Jeff Jardine: What in the blazes? Fire on a hot streak in valley, hills — Common sense no matter the circumstances generally goes a long way toward avoiding catastrophe. By the number of fires so far, it seems to be in short supply. One second of carelessness can turn into flame. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

 Kern objects to coal plant’s chemical manufacturing plans – In an 11th-hour objection that could help sink one of the area’s largest industrial projects, Kern County Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt informed state officials last week that a clean-coal project proposed in western Kern County is not permitted to manufacture chemicals for use in transportation. Bakersfield Californian article

 Some tarballs on LA County beaches came from Santa Barbara oil spill — Crude oil from a pipeline rupture in Santa Barbara County last month floated down the coast to beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to separate lab results released Monday by both state officials and the Texas pipeline company. LA Times article

 Health/Human Services

 Targeting heavy users of Medi-Cal, program aims to lower costs, increase quality — A very small percentage of people use a significant amount of health care in this country. According to one estimate, 5 percent of the people account for 60 percent of health care costs. In California, health officials are busy drawing up a plan to identify these so-called super-utilizers of the Medi-Cal system. KQED report

 Medi-Cal’s autism therapy benefit doesn’t mean access to care – According to state statistics released in May by the Department of Health Care Services, 1,123 children have received behavioral health treatment services, which included ABA therapy as of May 5. That’s just 2 percent of the estimated 76,000 children under age 21 who are enrolled in Medi-Cal and have autism spectrum disorder. KQED report

 California’s Medicaid program fails to ensure access to doctors — The state pays insurers a fixed amount per enrollee and expects the companies to provide access to doctors and comprehensive care. But a scathing state audit released last Tuesday shows that California is failing to make sure those plans deliver. Many enrollees have insurance cards but often have trouble getting in to see a doctor. NPR report

 U.S. suffering from prescription drug shortage – Disruptions in production, safety recalls, difficulties finding key raw ingredients, shifts in demand and decisions to discontinue certain products are just some of the reasons pharmaceutical makers give for not having enough supply. Nearly half the time, research shows, the reason is not disclosed, but the problem has escalated over the past five years. San Francisco Chronicle article

 West Nile found in Kings mosquitoes – Kings Mosquito Abatement District is reporting its first detection of West Nile Virus in Kings County this year. A total of four mosquitoes tested positive for the disease, according to a district statement. The insects were collected near Hanford, Armona and Lemoore. Hanford Sentinel article

 Obese Americans now outnumber those who are merely overweight, study says — Americans have reached a weighty milestone: Adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight, according to a new report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. LA Times article

 Bill helps medical marijuana users access organ transplants – California lawmakers have passed a bill that prevents medical marijuana users from being denied organ transplants just because they use pot. AP article

 Baby doctors, nurses seeing triple at downtown Fresno hospital — If they were a baseball team, nurses and doctors at Community Regional Medical Center completed a triple play this month, delivering three sets of triplets within days of each other. And their delivery streak isn’t over. A fourth set of triplets likely will be nestled into incubators soon. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

 Landlord follows tenants’ lead, sues Stockton – The landlord of a blighted north-central Stockton rental complex has followed the lead of residents, taking legal action against the city and the police department over its “Neighborhood Blitz Team” code-enforcement program. Stockton Record article

 California gives transgender people right to determine sex listed on death certificate — In July, California will become the first state in the country to allow transgender individuals to have their gender identity listed on their death certificate. KQED report

 Proposed ordinance targeting spice, bath salts headed to Bakersfield council — A draft ordinance making it illegal to be under the influence, sell, possess or distribute so-called “unregulated chemicals” such as bath salts and “spice” should go to the Bakersfield City Council this week, a council committee decided Monday. Bakersfield Californian article

 Lolette Robrahn: We should be working hard for an achievable goal: No-kill shelters – Robrahn, who runs the non-profit “cattery” known as Cause4Cats, writes, “We should be working to make both the County and the City no kill shelters. This can happen now if management with a no-kill mindset is running operations. There are models throughout the country where this is happening. It can happen here, too. It can happen now.” Robrahn op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

 San Joaquin County: Grand jury wants rural fire districts to meld – The San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury has called for several rural fire districts to consolidate and enter into an agreement with the Mokelumne Rural Fire District. Stockton Record article

 Stanislaus County Fair names new CEO — A San Joaquin Valley native is returning to his roots to become the Stanislaus County Fair’s newest chief executive officer. The fair board announced Monday it had selected Matthew Cranford as CEO. He was born in Fresno, raised in Ceres and graduated from California State University, Stanislaus, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, according to fair officials. Modesto Bee article

 Oakland council approves department of race and equity – Supporters of a controversial department of race and equity packed a special Oakland City Council meeting Monday, ultimately persuading the council to establish the department permanently. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Uber could track passengers after they leave car, passenger group claims – A privacy rights organization lashed out against Uber on Monday, accusing the country’s largest ride-sharing company of plans to deceptively collect personal data under an updated privacy policy slated to roll out next month. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Valley cities — from the biggest to the smallest — have no excuse for not having water meters by now.

Merced Sun-Star – The Confederate flag must come down.

Sacramento Bee – It is past time for South Carolina to lower the Confederate flag – permanently;

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers on Silver Lake Camp still a shining gem, a painful lesson for San Joaquin Delta College, and other issues.


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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