June 27, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Gay marriage ruling reflects culture shift long felt in California – Folded into Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent of the Supreme Court’s affirmation of gay marriage across the United States on Friday came a slap at California and its singular place in the cross-section of the American experience. Not only did eight of the court’s nine members grow up in coastal states, Scalia wrote, but only one “hails from the vast expanse in between,” with “not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner.” In parentheses, he said, “California does not count.” In the majority opinion, of course, it did. The 5-4 decision that the Constitution guarantees gay people the right to wed in every state reflected a cultural shift in which California has been at the head. Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial

California Politics Podcast: That’s (almost) a wrap – For some long running political and policy storylines in California, important — and close to final — chapters were written this week. Our podcast tackles two of them: Gov. Jerry Brown quietly signing the new state budget for the fiscal year than begins at month’s end, and what’s likely the last big legislative debate over Senate Bill 277 and its erasure of most exemptions from vaccines for California school children. California Politics Podcast in KQED

Valley politics

 ALRB is latest target of Tal Cloud political committee — Common Sense Information’s latest target is the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which is in a prolonged battle with Gerawan Farming, as well as DariGold, over union representation of farmworkers by the United Farm Workers. Fresno Bee article


 Eggman bill would end some deportations — In February, thinking about all the people whose stories she’s heard, Eggman introduced Assembly Bill 1351, which reforms the state’s current drug treatment diversion program, Deferred Entry of Judgment, to stop what she calls “unintended consequences” affecting undocumented individuals. Stockton Record article

 Other areas

 People from Valley react to Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage – Reactions and reflections from Fresno and elsewhere in the San Joaquin Valley following Friday’s landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that clears the way for same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Fresno Bee article; KVPR report; Bakersfield Californian article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Jim Reeves in Visalia Times-Delta; Modesto Bee article; Michael Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

 Same-sex marriage ruling creates new constitutional liberty – The Supreme Court’s historic ruling Friday granting gays and lesbians an equal right to marry nationwide puts an explanation point on a profound shift in law and public attitudes, and creates the most significant and controversial new constitutional liberty in more than a generation. LA Times article;“Interactive: Gay marriage chronology” in LA Times

 Analysis: Scalia’s dissent in same-sex marriage ruling more scornful than usual – The legal world may have become inured to wildly rhetorical opinions by Justice Antonin Scalia, but his dissent in the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision Friday reaches new heights for its expression of utter contempt for the majority of his colleagues. LA Times article

 Kamala Harris to Antonin Scalia: ‘Don’t hate the playa, hate the game’ — “Don’t hate the playa; hate the game,” the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate responded, presumably implying that the justice should take his frustrations out on the judicial process or U.S. Constitution; not on the Golden State. Capitol Alert; LA Times article

 Steve Lopez: Hey, California, Justice Scalia discovers the 10th ring of hell, and we are it — As the United States of America evolves, slowly becoming a more tolerant and inclusive nation, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is getting left behind, and now he’s taking out his wrath on California and hippies. Lopez column in LA Times

 California leaders respond to Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage – Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that determined same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states elicited a flurry of responses from California leaders and activist groups, mostly cheering the decision as a step forward for equality. Sacramento Bee article

 Bay Area joyous at news of high court ruling affirming same-sex marriage — After years of riding a sputtering roller coaster of marriage rights that stopped and started and always hung in a dangerously fragile legal balance, Bay Area residents let their pent-up exuberance explode joyously Friday as they learned of the Supreme Court’s decision that gays and lesbians have the right to marry nationwide. San Francisco Chronicle article; San Jose Mercury News article

 After the ruling, corporate America and same-sex marriage were locked in a profitable embrace – It had all the earmarks of a perfect June wedding: the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, and American business conspicuously trying to get on the right side of history. They tied the knot with a GayWedInc on Twitter Friday.Oakland Tribune article


Supreme Court gay-marriage decision doesn’t deter conservatives – Even as celebrations erupted across the nation Friday to mark the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, determined conservative and religious activists were already mulling their next move and vowing to continue a battle that could affect the 2016 presidential race. San Francisco Chronicle article

Could California’s proposed vaccine law be unconstitutional? – Could California’s proposed vaccine law, which would require more children to get vaccinated to enter daycare and school, be eventually ruled unconstitutional? Some opponents to the bill, SB 277, think so. Here’s why. LA Times article

 Dolores Huerta lobbies California Assembly for assisted death bill – Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta was at the Capitol on Thursday lobbying members to vote for Senate Bill 128, which would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. Sacramento Bee article

 Joel Fox: Serrano vs. Priest school financing case pops up in SB 277 debate — It was a bit jarring to hear the numerous references to the California Supreme Court’s Serrano vs. Priest decisions of the 1970s taking a prominent roll in the passionate Assembly debate over SB 277, the measure to disallow personal belief and religious exemptions for mandated vaccinations of school children. Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Victor Davis Hanson: Why Greece won’t pay — Greece will not pay because an increasing number of nations in the Western world do not look at borrowed money as a contractual agreement that is central to a modern economy. Instead, they see renouncing debt as both a moral act and a reasonable method of wealth redistribution. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Briefs

Top Stories

 Federal takeover of Valley air cleanup on the table? – It’s known as the nuclear option — the feds taking over the San Joaquin Valley’s air cleanup of dangerous soot, chemicals and other lung-searing debris. It has never happened here and rarely anywhere else. Valley air leaders have fought desperately against it in the past, imagining nightmarish days when driving is banned or farming is shut down. But some leaders say the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District needs to be ready for it after the epic drought created conditions for monster readings of the tiny pollutant, known as PM-2.5. Fresno Bee article

 California cuts more water rights, including San Francisco’s – In an order that cuts into a portion of San Francisco’s water supply, California’s drought regulators on Friday told more farmers and other users to stop pumping water from the state’s rivers and streams. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; AP article


Jobs and the Economy

 Fresno Convention Center: Full of money-making life — The Fresno Convention Center, long the sick man of City Hall’s budget, is fast regaining its color. The operational subsidy at the city-owned complex dipped below $500,000 in the past year, a drop of about 80% from a decade ago. Fresno Bee article

 Port of Stockton sets record for revenues, income – Port of Stockton officials Monday will review a new fiscal year budget after setting records for both revenues of $51.7 million and net income of $11 million in its current year, due to end Tuesday. Looking ahead, Port Director Richard Aschieris said Friday that the coming July 1-to-June 30, 2016 fiscal year is expected to be a repeat in terms of revenue, with the port bringing in about $50 million. Stockton Record article

 Union approves agreement to return pay to Fresno County employees – Fresno County negotiators have come to terms with the Service Employees International Union Local 521 after members of the union voted “yes” to approve a tentative agreement offering 9% in raises to its members that took a cut in 2011 by July 2017, SEIU officials announced. Fresno Bee article

 Fresno County DA’s Office gets six-figure settlements from Kohl’s, Proctor & Gamble – The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office on Friday announced major settlements in separate consumer protection cases against a prominent national retailer and retail supplier. Fresno Bee article

 Madera County hires consultant to consider new sports facilities — Madera County supervisors are hoping to make their region a magnet for amateur and youth sporting events and are paying for a study to learn if it can be done. Supervisors voted last week to pay $68,100 to a Florida firm that consults on sports tourism and has built sports facilities for communities across the country. Fresno Bee article

 For $1-billion investment, Disney would be spared Anaheim tax for 30 years – A little-known pact that for years has spared Disney from paying entertainment tax on its Anaheim amusement parks may be extended another three decades if the entertainment giant agrees to invest at least $1 billion in its resort properties in the coming years. LA Times article

 Sacramento takes next step on railyard hospital, soccer stadium — With a hospital in the planning stages and a soccer stadium potentially on the horizon, Sacramento city officials took the next step Friday to fleshing out their new vision for the abandoned railyard at the northern edge of downtown. Sacramento Bee article



 Lois Henry: Water deal with SoCal bears watching – How does giving the Irvine Ranch Water District access to local groundwater, and Kern River water, leave us in a better water position? Yeah, hard for me to wrap my head around too. But the Rosedale Rio-Bravo Water Storage District insists that will be the outcome of its proposal to double the size of an existing banking project it’s had with Irvine since 2008 south of Stockdale Highway and west of Allen Road. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

 Kings, Napa reach record ag values in 2014 – Of California’s 58 counties, only two — Kings and Napa — had an all-time high 2014 agricultural output, according to Western Farm Press. It was a tale of two commodities: milk and wine. Hanford Sentinel article

 Long lines for new wells in Merced County – Merced County saw a spike in the number of requests for well permits in the two months before new regulations went into effect in April, but the number of wells being drilled is not necessarily slowing down anytime soon. Merced Sun-Star article

 Some addresses may be hidden as California well reports become public — After more than six decades of secrecy, the reports that water well drillers file with the state are set to become public under a bill signed into law this week. But because of privacy concerns, it’s still not clear whether the public will get to see the precise locations of the thousands of wells that pull water out of the ground to irrigate farms and supply drinking water. Sacramento Bee article

 Two more districts leave Friant Water Authority – Time to catch up on Friant Water Authority, a key farm water player that has been splintered by the intense drought. The authority has lost 10 of its 21 member districts — eight earlier this year, followed more recently by Stone Corral Irrigation District and Tea Pot Dome Irrigation District.  Fresno Bee article

Another LA DWP bill? No, ‘You are in the top 1 percent of all residential water users’ – City water officials are getting personal with their efforts to boost conservation. Last month, DWP began sending letters to the 1% of residential water users, like Dern, who use the most water. The letters urging homeowners to improve their water-wasting habits went to about 4,600 homes, largely in upscale neighborhoods with big lots and lush lawns. LA Times article

 Official: Probably no Kings River water on the 4thIf you show up at Laton-Kingston Park on the Kings River on July 4 to cool off, you probably won’t find any water. Chalk that up as another negative impact of the state’s severe drought. Hanford Sentinel article

 Orange County expands groundwater system — An Orange County water district said Friday it is adding more purified wastewater to its groundwater basin, helping to continue its reliance on mostly local water sources during the drought. AP article

 Warm-water threat forces hatcheries to move fish — For the second year in a row, managers at two state fish hatcheries below Folsom Dam say the threat of fatally warm water in August and September has again left them no choice but to move fish. Sacramento Bee article

 Stanislaus Farm Supply to join Ag Hall of Fame — A 1949 steelworkers strike reduced supplies of baling wire to farmers in Stanislaus County. No problem. They got together and arranged for a rail car full of the product. Thus was born Stanislaus Farm Supply, a cooperative that would get into the business of seed, fertilizer, pesticides and other things vital to a county that is among the nation’s leaders in food production. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Parole of convicted murdered who buried Clovis man alive reversed by Gov. Brown – The parole of David Weidert, who was convicted of torturing Mike Morganti and burying him alive in 1980, has been reversed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the governor’s office announced Friday. Fresno Bee article; AP article

 Bakersfield police officer dies in crash — A 26-year-old Bakersfield Police Department officer died Friday morning after his patrol car crashed into a block wall near Bakersfield College during a vehicle chase. Officer David Nelson, a two-year veteran of the department, died at Kern Medical Center just after 3 a.m. after being pulled from his burning car by other officers, according to reports. Bakersfield Californian article; LA Times article; Matt Alvarez op-ed in Bakersfield Californian; ‘State, local officials mourn BPD officer’s death’ in Bakersfield Californian

 Fresno police plan test of gunfire location system — Police are alerting residents in southeast and southwest Fresno that the department on Monday will test technology that will help officers track the source of gunfire. Fresno Bee article

 Lemoore, Corcoran, Avenal get $5 million for police projects — Facing police infrastructure needs, Corcoran, Lemoore and Avenal struck gold in the 2015-16 state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week. Corcoran was the biggest winner, snagging $3.82 million to go toward a planned $6 million new police station/detention facility yet to be built. Police Chief Reuben Shortnacy said new digs are badly needed. Hanford Sentinel article

 Crime reporting goes digital in Hanford – Low-level crime reporting in Hanford has gone digital. At www.ci.hanford.ca.us, there’s a quick link entitled “Citizen Online Crime Reporting.” Click on it, and you get a list of incidents that the public can file police reports on — without going to a police station, without calling out an officer and without calling busy dispatchers. Hanford Sentinel article

 Police union wants more exemptions from LA proposal to lock up handguns — Los Angeles lawmakers have been mulling new rules that would require residents to lock up their handguns or disable them with a trigger lock when they are not being used. But the plan, championed by Councilman Paul Krekorian as a way to spare children from deadly accidents, spurred opposition from the city police officers’ union, which argues that current and former officers shouldn’t be held to those rules. LA Times article


 Fresno State’s Bartko unveils transformative plan for Bulldog Stadium — Athletic director Jim Bartko on Friday unveiled a vision and early renovation plan that will serve as a launch point for the future of the soon-to-be 35-year-old stadium. Developed with AECOM, a global architecture and engineering firm that has developed more than 100 college and professional stadiums or arenas, it is transformative for Bulldogs’ fans, the athletic department and the football team that calls it home. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

 New academic programs at Pacific – University of the Pacific is expanding its course offerings on its Sacramento satellite campus, adding graduate programs in health, education, business and public policy to the campus that houses the McGeorge School of Law, officials announced Friday. Stockton Record article

 Fresno Unified’s summer school program open to all children — About 900 free meals were expected to be served at Roosevelt High on Friday, with similar setups at more than 40 locations across the city. The Fresno Unified summer food program served nearly 200,000 free meals last summer, always featuring locally grown produce. Fresno Bee article

 U.S. government halts veterans’ enrollment at five more helicopter schools — The government has ordered at least five additional helicopter training programs to stop enrolling more veterans, part of a continuing crackdown to end GI Bill abuses that have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. LA Times article



 Outside regulator will oversee California’s troubled toxic waste regulator — The budget signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown establishes an independent panel to oversee the California Department of Toxic Substances Control after a series of shortcomings in its regulation of hazardous waste operations and cleanups across the state. LA Times article

 Official says pipeline firm violated state guidelines for reporting Santa Barbara spill – The Texas owner of the crude oil pipeline that ruptured along the Santa Barbara County coast last month did not meet state guidelines for reporting an oil spill, a top state official said at an oversight hearing Friday. LA Times article

 Utilities: Let San Onofre deal stand — Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric have petitioned state regulators to reject the suggestion that the $4.7 billion settlement deal for the failed San Onofre nuclear plant be reopened. San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Health/Human Services

 First case of chikungunya virus in Fresno County reported – Fresno County health officials warned Friday to be extra alert to mosquito bites as the first case of chikungunya virus has been diagnosed in a woman who was bitten by a mosquito while on vacation in another country. Fresno Bee article

 Alameda County judge strikes California law permitting nursing homes to make medical decisions – A California law allowing nursing homes to make medical decisions on behalf of certain mentally incompetent residents is unconstitutional, an Alameda County judge ruled this week. Contra Costa Times article

David Lazarus: Berkeley’s warning about cellphone radiation may go too far – It’s a question that just won’t go away: Do cellphones give you cancer? The city of Berkeley has passed an ordinance that, beginning next month, would make it the first municipality in the country to require that cellphone retailers warn customers that mobile devices may emit cancer-causing radiation. Lazarus in LA Times

 People with disabilities tell their stores on California state audioblog – It’s one thing to hear about someone overcoming adversity. It’s another thing entirely to hear them tell their stories in their own words. Which is why the Department of Rehabilitation last week launched NoticeAbilities.com, an audioblog where people talk about how they have dealt with their disabilities and how the state assisted them with things like finding a job or getting an education. Sacramento Bee article

 Lindsay Mann: Growth spurs expansion at Kaweah Delta – The CEO of Kaweah Delta Health Care District writes, “Kaweah Delta is an increasingly busy place. In fact, we are at near full capacity in our emergency, critical care, surgical and acute care services. This is due to a number of factors, including the development of new services like neurosurgery and the introduction of minimally invasive heartvalve surgery.” Mann op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta


 State Oks $20 million to widen Highway 99 near Visalia — A two-mile stretch of Highway 99 near Visalia will get almost $21 million in money from the California Transportation Commission, part of more than $561 million in road-, pedestrian- and bicycle-improvement allocations announced Friday. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

 Valley agency takes control of Amtrak San Joaquin trains – Amtrak’s San Joaquin rail line, the fifth busiest passenger-train corridor in the U.S., will be under new management starting Wednesday. Fresno Bee article

 Avoiding future freeway congestion could come with a cost — Fewer of tomorrow’s freeways will be free. In exchange, drivers willing and able to pay will avoid the traffic congestion that bedevils everyone else. AP article

 Other areas

 Michael Fitzgerald: Stockton’s contributions to a better world – Two Stockton angles on historic social change: The first is the historic gay marriage decision handed down today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The key justice in that ruling, Anthony Kennedy, was recruited to teach at University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento by its influential dean, Gordon Schraber. The second is Delores Huerta. Fitzgerald blog in Stockton Record

 Sevag Tateosian: They walked along Ventura Street – The host and producer of San Joaquin Spotlight writes that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and Pulitzer-winner William Saryoan once were kids hawking newspapers on Ventura Street in Fresno.  Tateosian op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Bill Warner: I grew up a racist – A founder of the South Valley Peace Center in Visalia writes, “Perhaps we should all stop and think about the role we play in molding the minds of our children.” Warner op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is a landmark victory for equality, #LoveWins; Thumbs up, thumbs down; June 25 was a good day for public health, nationally and in California.

Sacramento Bee – Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is a landmark victory for equality, #LoveWins.


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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