June 28, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Dan Walters: Governor has two big wishes — Jerry Brown has a vision, or a hope, or perhaps just a fingers-crossed wish. It is that when he finally departs from the governorship in January 2019, construction will be unstoppably underway on two immense public works projects. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

 Cathleen Decker: Top U.S. Senate candidates run quietly, for now – Watching the U.S. Senate race in California makes you yearn for one of those childhood gizmos that magically makes invisible ink visible. Without one, the race has been hard to see. Decker column in LA Times

State budget

 Sacramento Bee: State, UC disappoint with budget tricks — Turning enrollment into a line-item payback means 5,000 real kids will be sent elsewhere with their aspirations. When you view it that way, sly budget tricks and business-as-usual paychecks are pretty hard to like. Sacramento Bee editorial

 Carl London: Looking in from outside, unable to partake in budgetary plenty – The board member of InAlliance writes, “The budget “deal” dedicates $530 million to serve 1,000 people with developmental disabilities who live in outdated, state-run institutions such as Sonoma Developmental Center. And that’s where the story takes a horror-film-like turn. Some of these developmental centers, formerly called state hospitals, have been the scene of horrific events, such as rape, physical abuse and deaths under cloudy circumstances.” London op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Staff shakeup at California Democratic Party — California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton confirmed Saturday he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2017, and the party’s executive director, Shawnda Westly, has stepped down in anticipation of his departure. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

 Years before court ruling, pop culture shaped same-sex marriage debate – In 1969, the Stonewall riots triggered by a police raid in New York’s Greenwich Village created the modern gay rights movement, and the next year William Friedkin’s “The Boys in the Band” became the first studio movie to center on gay characters. From that start, pop culture has slowly but steadily helped bring gay people into the mainstream, from Lance Loud in the groundbreaking 1973 PBS documentary “An American Family” to Tom Hanks’ Oscar-winning role as a dying lawyer in “Philadelphia” in 1993 to Pedro Zamora, the AIDS-stricken housemate on the 1994 edition of MTV’s reality series “The Real World.” LA Times article

 Same-sex marriage: San Diego mayor’s reversal in 2007 helped shift public attitudes —  In the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, much attention has rightfully been focused on the bold actions of the Democratic mayor of San Francisco in 2004. But the actions of a Republican mayor in San Diego may also be said to have played a role in helping to shift public opinion. LA Times article

 Arnold terminates marriage-equality opponent – Like many on Facebook, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to use an image of himself overlaid with rainbow colors as his new profile picture to show support for the Supreme Court’s marriage-equality ruling. One of his Facebook followers took issue with that, and the Governator’s response was… classic.Political Blotter

 Donald Blount: Racial ID, wanton carnage and a flag — Race hatred, gun control, madness (there’s that word again), always, always just stops us. There is nothing that I could say about this that would mean squat, until we as a society decide to do something about racism, guns and the like. If the shooting of a congresswoman or moviegoers or schoolchildren or people at a prayer service in church does not make us address these issues, what will? Blount column in Stockton Record

 Dan Morain: Prejudice comes in many forms — In 2015, there should be no doubt that consenting adults have equal rights to marry the love of their life. Worshipers should be safe at Emanuel AME Church, or any other sanctuary where they give praise to their god, and Confederate symbols should be erased from Southern flags. And in 2015, anti-Semitism should be called out for what it is, although what should be so simple somehow is complicated. Morain in Sacramento Bee

 Shawn Hubler: Blink and everything changes – On Friday, as the nation celebrated the high court ruling that finally and fully clears the way for same-sex marriage, I thought of Hannah and her sister, Rachael. There are millions of reasons to applaud the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, but one of the best and most easily forgotten is kids. Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

Next fight for gay rights: Bias in jobs and housing – Exhilarated by the Supreme Court’sendorsement of same-sex marriage, gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas, just like those barring discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin. New York Times article

 Debra Saunders: Supreme Court’s white lie on Obamacare — The GOP-majority Supreme Court saved President Obama’s bacon Thursday with a political ruling that papered over his signature Affordable Care Act. Saunders column in San Francisco Chronicle

 Sacramento Bee: Dying while Assembly waffles — People with limited time shouldn’t have to uproot and travel to Oregon to take advantage of aid-in-dying laws, as California resident Brittany Maynard did. Allow people at the ends of their lives the legal right to leave this Earth with dignity. Sacramento Bee editorial

News Briefs

Top Stories

 California Supreme Court reversal forces counties to examine sex offender registration – In April, the state’s highest court reversed itself, requiring registration for those offenses, including some cases that had already been adjudicated, including Grandinetti’s. Local law enforcement officials are now discussing whether to require hundreds of past offenders granted a judicial reprieve to register under the new ruling. While registration increases community awareness, it also can limit where offenders live and their ability to find employment. Sacramento Bee article

 A year in, Bakersfield’s panhandling ordinance yields some surprising results — Thirteen months after it took effect, Bakersfield Police Department officers have ticketed 32 people for violating the new city ordinance criminalizing panhandling. The measure, ordinance No. 4768, was staunchly supported by downtown merchants and business owners who said their customers were being increasingly and aggressively approached by people asking for money. But according to BPD Sgt. Joe Grubbs, the department spokesman, 19 of the 32 citations, or about 60 percent, were written in response to incidents that happened in other parts of the city. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

 Modesto Bee: If it boils down to Berryhill, we hope he ends negative bailout – If Sen. Berryhill can help set things right, he should. Vote for the trailer bill and end the negative bailout.Modesto Bee editorial

 Crows Landing Road businesses bid ‘Bienvenidos’ to south Modesto – Businesspeople along Crows Landing Road are trying to cast a new light on south Modesto. One way they’re doing it is with a glowing new “Modesto” arch at Crows Landing and Hatch Road. Modesto Bee article

 Families pack up as San Francisco rents keep rising — Love it or hate it, rent control is on the tip of everybody’s tongues these days. But the fact is that 72 percent of the 237,000 rental units in the city are covered by it. Due to the 1995 passage of the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, all single-family homes and condominiums, as well as units built after 1979, are not subject to rent control. San Francisco Chronicle article

 SpaceX launch ends in failure, rocket erupts — A SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station erupted Sunday shortly after liftoff. NASA says the accident confirmed a few minutes into the flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Pieces could be seen falling into the Atlantic. AP article; LA Times article


 California drought resurrects old population growth concerns – With the state in its fourth year of drought, population growth – an issue that receded from public debate in recent years – appears resurgent in California’s consciousness. And like the value of an almond or the luxury of a front lawn, which exposed rifts between urban and rural sensibilities in this state, the number of people living here has provided a platform for division, too. Sacramento Bee article

 9 sobering facts about California’s groundwater problem — For nearly a century, Californians have drained an incredible amount of water from the ground to grow crops and water landscaping. It is not sustainable. The water has not returned. The result is a sinking state. Here are some startling facts about California’s groundwater depletion.  Center for Investigative Reporting article

 Modesto’s water cops on the drought beat – In the early morning hours while Modesto sleeps, Terry Phillips is behind the wheel of his city-issued Ford F-250 utility truck creeping through dark neighborhoods at 10 to 15 mph with his windows open. That’s so he can hear the distinctive hiss of sprinklers watering lawns. Modesto Bee article

 Mountain House water woes foretold – Years before the first shovelful of earth was turned on this master-plan community near Tracy, developers and county officials knew that its sole source of water could someday be interrupted. It wasn’t severe drought that they feared, necessarily, but the high level of state and federal scrutiny that surrounds any diversion of water from the delicate Delta. Stockton Record article

 Sacramento water agencies brace for historic drop in Folsom Lake levels — Folsom Lake is losing more than a billion gallons of water each day. Lake levels will likely fall to historic lows by summer’s end, testing the reliability of a water supply that once seemed invulnerable. Sacramento Bee article

 Agriculture irrigation transforming farming — Madera County farmer Tom Rogers thought he knew a lot about how to irrigate his family’s 175-acre almond ranch. But several droughts, including the current four-year dry spell, made him reconsider his approach on how to get the most out of his ever-shrinking water supply. Fresno Bee article

 Navy bases do their part to conserve in California drought — Since 2007, water use has been reduced by 23% at the nine bases in California and one in Nevada that are managed by an admiral and other officials at Navy Region Southwest, with headquarters on the San Diego waterfront. LA Times article

 Mike Dunbar: Water discussion is tense but civil — Yes, it was contentious; it was a bit noisy; but it was mostly polite. That’s important. Because the meeting convened by the Stanislaus Groundwater Alliance could have gotten rowdy. Really rowdy. After all, everyone was there to talk about water. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

In face of drought, San Luis Obispo farmer advocates dry farming – You think your water cutbacks are tough? Try farming without irrigation, relying only on rainwater. Actually, lots of crops are dry-farmed across the state. Wheat and grapes are common, and there are tomatoes on the Central Coast, squash in Humboldt and potatoes in Marin. Jutta Thoerner dry-farms walnuts outside Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County, and she’s an outspoken advocate of the practice. KQED report

 Don Curlee: Hand shake is farmer’s seal — Farmers’ hands speak of commitment to a task, probably a lot of them. They indicate strength and ability, determination and resolve. They are examples of hard work and hard-earned rewards. They reflect a tenderness, the kind that caresses a newborn calf or colt, or a child. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Lawmakers tie $20 million in grants to police use of force — The state budget that takes effect on Wednesday includes $20 million in grants for local law enforcement agencies, but lawmakers are linking the money to the national debate over killings by police. Agencies accepting the money will have to report on the number of times their officers use enough force to result in a hospitalization or death. AP article

 Inmate to plead guilty in federal prison guard’s killing – An inmate at a federal prison in central California has agreed to plead guilty to killing a correctional officer seven years ago to avoid a possible death sentence, federal prosecutors said. Jose Cabrera Sablan, 47, agreed on Friday to plead guilty to murder in a negotiated agreement that will put him in prison for the rest of his life, U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner in Sacramento said in a statement. AP article

 Officer’s family announces services, thanks Bakersfield — Services will be held in Glendale on Tuesday and Wednesday for Bakersfield Police Department Officer David Nelson who died in a vehicle collision Friday while on-duty. Nelson’s brother Erik Nelson released a statement from the family thanking Bakersfield for the support, thanks and sorrow that has been poured out in the past day. Bakersfield Californian article

 Tip leads police to suspect in crash that killed officer – The Bakersfield Police Department, Saturday night, arrested the man they believe lead Officer David Nelson on a fatal chase early Friday morning. Bakersfield Californian article

 Police come under heavy fire in ambush – Several bullets struck an unmarked police car Friday night when officers came under heavy gunfire while patrolling a south Stockton neighborhood, authorities said. Stockton Record article

 Life of K-9 and its handler more than a pet project – Traxx darted around the arena floor of the Rabobank arena and bounded up to put his paws against the hockey glass. His partner, Bakersfield Police Department K-9 Officer Seth Palmer, watched earnestly as the seconds ticked. Bakersfield Californian article


 Pamela A. Eibeck: Pacific expands to diversify, serve more – The president of the University of the Pacific writes, “Today, Pacific celebrates an expansion of our programs at our Sacramento campus, longtime home of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Last spring, we celebrated a brand new building in San Francisco and new degree offerings there. These moves are part of our strategic plan to keep University of the Pacific strong and relevant in this era of rapid change in higher education. And as we grow and diversify, our commitment to Stockton remains as strong as ever.” Eibeck op-ed in Stockton Record

 Academy helps students figure out the answers – Angelina Gomez is an incoming sophomore at Health Careers Academy in Stockton. She’s spending her second straight summer enrolled in CATCH Academy, a five-week intensive math program partnering with University of the Pacific that engages students in Stockton Unified with math concepts through hands-on learning and technology. Stockton Record article

 Gallos give $1 million to Bay Area college — Bob and Marie Gallo of Modesto are donating $1 million for the naming of Notre Dame de Namur University’s Grand Staircase in Ralston Hall as part of the school’s $6 million campaign to save the hall. Modesto Bee article

 After 12 years trying to raise Sacramento State profile, Alexander Gonzalez leaves helm — Alexander Gonzalez wanted to take Sacramento State to “a higher level” when he became the university’s president in 2003, vowing to transform the sleepy commuter campus into the centerpiece of the state capital. Sacramento Bee article


 Legislation would bar PG&E tax deductions for $1.6 billion penalty for San Bruno explosion — PG&E would not be able to harvest a tax windfall from state authorities by taking a tax deduction for a record-setting $1.6 billion penalty because it caused a fatal explosion in San Bruno, under legislation introduced Friday by two Bay Area state lawmakers. San Jose Mercury News article

 Heat wave leads to misery at Modesto mobile home park by Tuolumne River, Highway 99 — As the heat climbs in homes across Stanislaus County, mobile home dwellers swelter in a hardscrabble community bordered by Highway 99 and the Tuolumne River near the Seventh Street bridge. Modesto Bee article

 SMUD’s commercial energy-savings programs have helped ‘thousands’ of regional businesses — Hot Italian’s checklist for opening in Sacramento in early 2009 included seasonal ingredients for its pizzas, an eye-catching collection of Italian wines … and a speed-dial relationship with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Sacramento Bee article

 Health/Human Services

 Lauren Zeise: State called BPA as it saw it – The acting director of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Health Hazard Assessment writes, “Biomonitoring studies have found that more than 90 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies, so a thorough understanding of the toxic effects of this chemical is critical. The decision to add BPA to the Proposition 65 list was based on science, not politics, in a transparent public process.” Zeise op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 USDA proposes healthier fare for child, adult day cares — As teachers lament seeing toddlers too large to fit in playground swings, a federal program that feeds millions of low-income children may be overhauled for the first time in almost 50 years, aiming to make the meals at day cares healthier and reduce obesity. AP article


 Caltrans allocates $561 million to 125 transportation projects — In an effort to rebuild and maintain California’s infrastructure, the California Transportation Commission has allocated $561 million to 125 transportation projects. Fresno Bee article

 Highway 41: No perfect solution — The Sentinel gathered CHP reports, information from the California Department of Transportation and previous Sentinel stories to study and evaluate the highways in Kings County and why people die on them. Those records, from 2009 to 2014, revealed that in Kings County, Highway 41 is the deadliest. Hanford Sentinel article

 Other areas

 Former student says of Reyes: He saved me – Harvey Reyes bought a 3,200-square-foot house in 1989, for much the same reason he helped start the car club Carnales Unidos in 1975: He wanted to show students they could achieve more than going to jail or being in a gang. Bakersfield Californian article

 Jeff Jardine: Illegal fireworks easy to see – hard to catch the lighters, though — Beginning Thursday, fire and police officials in and around Modesto will spend the next several nights combing the neighborhoods and watching for illegal fireworks. The illegal ones are pretty easy to spot. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

 Mike Klocke: Fireworks, drought and other assorted community matters – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning. Klocke column in Stockton Record

 Lewis Griswold: Church builds neighborhood park on school property — Houston Neighborhood Park in north Visalia will open in August to serve one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. But it’s not a city park. Griswold in Fresno Bee

 City of LA slow to repair sidewalks despite complaints and injuries — After years of hearing complaints about sidewalks made impassable by cracks, buckles and bulging tree roots, officials recently announced plans to spend nearly $1.4 billion on an ambitious, 30-year repair campaign. But figuring out which sidewalks to fix is proving a major challenge. LA Times article

 Man wounded in shooting at San Francisco U.N. Plaza – A 64-year-old man was shot but not seriously injured and six people were detained in a shooting at U.N. Plaza on Saturday that police said was not related to the Pride festival. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Court-appointed attorneys violated Disabilities Act, federal complaint says – A disability-rights group has filed a federal complaint alleging that the Los Angeles County Superior Court has systemically violated the civil rights of intellectually disabled residents who are under limited conservatorships by failing to provide effective legal assistance through its court-appointed attorneys. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Modesto Bee – If Sen. Berryhill can help set things right, he should. Vote for the trailer bill and end the negative bailout; In a heat emergency, just stay cool.

Sacramento Bee – People with limited time shouldn’t have to uproot and travel to Oregon to take advantage of aid-in-dying laws, as California resident Brittany Maynard did. Allow people at the ends of their lives the legal right to leave this Earth with dignity; State, UC disappoint with budget tricks.


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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