June 30, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Supreme Court ruling spares Valley potential political turmoil – The Supreme Court on Monday upheld an independent redistricting commission approved more than a decade ago by Arizona voters — and at the same time doused a potential political firestorm here in California. Fresno Bee article; Bakersfield Californian article

 California’s congressional maps get legal protection via Arizona — The notion that California’s 53 congressional districts could be redrawn before the 2016 elections and that legislators would wield the pencils yielded tons of buzz among politicos these past few months. One problem: The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed. On Monday, a majority of the high court’s justices ruled in favor of Arizona’s voter-approved system of having the lines drawn by an independent commission — a case that had profound implications for a similar commission in California. John Myers in KQED; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article; Sacramento Bee editorial

 California Senate sends mandatory vaccine bill to governor — After months of packed committee hearings and lengthy floor debates, California’s controversial mandatory vaccinations proposal now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. In a 24-14 concurrence vote, the state Senate on Monday accepted Assembly amendments to Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate California’s personal and religious belief exemptions for vaccinating schoolchildren, and sent the measure to Brown’s desk. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; AP article; San Jose Mercury News article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 ‘Crazy’ initiative spurs calls for higher threshold – California would consider becoming its own country. Spousal support would be axed. Water bottled in California would contain warnings that it’s “not drought friendly.” And, in an attempt to make a political point, shellfish would be outlawed for being a “monstrous evil.” San Francisco Chronicle article

 Backers of pot-legalization ballot measure given OK to get signatures — Supporters of a California ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use may begin gathering signatures to place it before voters in 2016, a state official said on Monday. Reuters article



 Court lifts ban against government detaining mothers and children – In an apparent setback for advocates fighting to end family detention, a federal court has lifted a ban that blocked the government from detaining mothers and children as a means to discourage future migration. McClatchy Newspapers article

 California Assembly praises immigrants; warns about immigrant work visa — The California Assembly loves immigrants – as long as businesses aren’t using them to displace American jobs. Capitol Alert

 Transgender immigration detainees may be housed by gender — Immigration authorities will consider housing transgender detainees based on the gender they identify with in the wake of criticism about detention conditions for the population, officials said on Monday. AP article

Supreme Court Ruling – Redistricting

Dan Walters: Rejection of redistricting challenge is a break for initiative process – Monday’s ruling also puts to rest the danger that had the Arizona Legislature prevailed, using the initiative to enact other state election reforms – such as California’s top-two primary system – would be at risk. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

 Cathleen Decker: California GOP benefits from redistricting decision as bigger case looms — That case, Evenwel vs. Abbott, will determine whether district lines are drawn to accommodate a number of residents or a number of eligible voters. The latter category would exclude noncitizens and the young. Many of California’s most powerful Democrats represent districts whose outlines would change dramatically were the court to upend tradition in the Texas case. Decker in LA Times

 CA Fwd: U.S. Supreme Court upholds citizens redistricting — California has used its powerful direct democracy tool, the ballot initiative to pass a number of electoral reforms in recent years, starting with Prop 11 in 2008. “Without a doubt,” said California Forward president and CEO Jim Mayer, “the court granted a victory to the power of voters and their authority to enact important reforms through voter-led initiatives.” CA Fwd website

 Joel Fox: Supreme Court affirms power of initiative in redistricting caseThe case affirms that voters have legislative authority through the initiative process, a powerful boost for initiative lawmaking. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the only Californian on the court, who himself was involved in a California initiative when he practiced law in California, joined the majority. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas

 Robin Abcarian: Vaccine opponents are passionate, persistent and science-averse – Vaccine opponents reject the idea that the legislators, pediatricians and education professionals who support mandatory vaccines for most children sincerely believe they are acting in the best interest of children and their communities, or that the science is on the side of vaccine proponents. Abcarian in LA Times

 Often starved for attention, Republicans leap into debate over road repairs – It’s unusual for Republicans to wield much influence in California’s Capitol, but the brewing debate over funding road repairs is an exception. LA Times article

 California lawmakers to take health care, road funding – The California Legislature is holding two special sessions this summer to tackle long-vexing funding shortfalls in the state’s transportation and health care programs. But talk of targeted tax increases has prompted political hand-wringing. AP article

 Joe Mathews: Are we finally off the hook for Prop 8? — The next time you hear a Californian say that social change happens here first, you might bring up marriage equality. Which happened in Hawaii and Massachusetts first – and was established in California not by its people but by the federal courts. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

 Frank Schubert: Ruling adds fuel to culture wars over gay marriage – The founder of Mission Public Affairs writes, “The long-expected decision of the U.S. Supreme Court imposing same-sex marriage on the country has been issued. The obvious next question is whether this settles the matter, and there’s a one-word answer: ‘Hardly.’ If anything, the court’s decision is likely to roil the nation and pave a path toward more cultural conflict, not less.” Schubert op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Supreme Court blocks strict Texas abortion law from taking effect — The Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote blocked the state of Texas, at least for now, from enforcing a strict new abortion law that was likely to close most of the state’s remaining abortion clinics. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

New data: Nearly 1 in 10 California workers is undocumented – It’s difficult to tally a population that lives in the shadows, but new data estimatesthat 2.7 million immigrants are living illegally in California. That’s more than any other state in the nation. The majority of California’s undocumented immigrants arrive from Latin America, and specifically Mexico. Capital Public Radio report

 Parched California farmers hope to tap wastewater from cities — Facing record-low water supplies and a dry summer ahead, some California farmers are getting creative in looking for new sources of water. In one community, they’re planning to buy water from cities — after it’s already been used. Through flushing toilets and running faucets, the city of Modesto produces millions of gallons of wastewater a day, just a stone’s throw from some of the driest agricultural areas in the state. KQED report


Jobs and the Economy

 James Poulos: Gerawan case bringing a quiet revolution in California labor law – Californians have become accustomed to slow-moving problems. Think of the long-brewing pension crisis, the intractable drought or the disappointing second-year performance of Covered California, just to name a few. But a breakthrough could be around the bend in one of the state’s longest-running political battles. Surprisingly enough, the drama is playing out in a realm where conflict isn’t supposed to happen at all. Poulos column in Orange County Register

 Slowing coal shipments will undercut Port of Stockton revenue – Stockton’s port enjoyed record revenues and net income in the fiscal year ending Tuesday, but officials cautioned the next 12 months will be “a transitional year” because of lower demand for coal exports and fertilizer imports. Stockton Record article

 Drought trips up real estate development backed by CalPERS – It looked like the perfect real estate investment, a sparkling suburban development that would provide thousands of weary Bay Area refugees with a more affordable place to live. But the quiet community of Mountain House, perched at the western gateway to the San Joaquin Valley, has provided nothing but torment for its chief investor, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Sacramento Bee article

 On the depleted Kern River, rafting companies look to ride out the drought – Dismal snowpack levels in the southern Sierra Nevada have forced rafting companies up and down the 165-mile Kern River to make tough business decisions this year. Some have written off 2015, while others are hanging on with creative business alternatives and fewer workers. LA Times article

 Sharon Djemal, Darby Lin O’Donnell, and Sharon Randall: Save families teetering on brink of debt —  Djemal, director of the Consumer Law Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center; O’Donnell, a law student intern at the center; and Randall, a client of the center, write, “Wage garnishment can all too often lead to unmanageable debt, unmanageable debt to bankruptcy and bankruptcy to homelessness. It is time to break this cycle, and to give working families something they have not had in a long time: Hope.  Djemal/O’Donnell/Randall op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Ruiz prepares to open new South Carolina facility – One of the Valley’s largest and most successful businesses is doing its part to boost the economy on the East Coast. Dinuba-based Ruiz Foods will soon begin accepting employment applications at its new manufacturing and distribution center in Florence, South Carolina, about 130 miles north of Charleston. The Business Journal article

 New federal rules to boost overtime pay for millions – Millions of Americans could see a boost in wages or reduced workload as a result of new federal regulations on overtime pay the Obama administration is unveiling this week. LA Times article; New York Times article

 Food truck manufacturer expands in Modesto – In 1999, Ignacio Ochoa went from operating a food truck to making them himself on Kansas Avenue in Modesto. On Monday, he celebrated another leap, to a site in the Beard Industrial District that has twice the room for the booming business. Modesto Bee article

 Bay Area income gap now more than $250,000 between top and bottom – There is now more than a quarter-million-dollar income gap between top and bottom Bay Area households, a first-time comprehensive studyfinds. That’s 50 percent higher than the national average. Key reasons include high-tech earners in Silicon Valley and the growing decline of middle-income households throughout the Bay Area. KQED report

 Labor Secretary Thomas Perez urges upgrades at LA and Long Beach ports – Four months after helping to resolve a long-running labor dispute that crippled traffic at West Coast ports, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez was back in California to praise how quickly workers and management were able to clear enormous backlogs of cargo. LA Times article

 U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Google-Oracle feud — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to jump into the huge copyright battle between Google and Oracle, steering clear of what many legal experts considered a chance to further define the legal boundaries of software protection. San Jose Mercury News article

 CalPERS unveils new website — CalPERS on Monday launched a redesigned website intended to make it easier to use on all electronic devices. The new www.calpers.ca.gov took more than a year to develop. Its 2014-15 budget of $586,000 covered expenses for the design, programming, software, server hardware, consulting services and staff training, among other things.Sacramento Bee article

 UCSF nurses union comes out against S.F. Warriors arena — The Golden State Warriors could face some unexpected opposition in their drive to build an arena in Mission Bay: nurses. San Francisco Chronicle article



 Kings River gets boost, but still at record-low levels – The good news is that strong rainstorms in May and June boosted Kings River runoff into Pine Flat Reservoir by about 70,000 acre-feet of water — enough to grow more than 23,000 acres of crops. The bad news? Even with the bump, the Kings, with virtually no snow falling in the drainage in the 2014-15 winter, is still looking at a record-low April-to-July runoff of 190,000 acre-feet. Hanford Sentinel article

 Oakdale Irrigation District fires back at ‘water wasting’ critics – Farmers criticizing the Oakdale Irrigation District’s relationship with a recently annexed almond company are water wasters upset at having to make do with less than an unlimited supply, OID General Manager Steve Knell recently told a regional growth-guiding panel in a stinging rebuke of “a small group of disgruntled landowners.” Modesto Bee article

 Tulare County drilling prices: Gouging or economics? – An increasing number of Tulare County residents are looking at the quotes they are getting from water-well drillers and asking, “Am I getting gouged?” Visalia Times-Delta article

 Department of Water Resources awards millions to Fresno, Reedley and Orange Cove – The state Department of Water Resources has awarded more than $2 million for a San Joaquin Valley project to benefit Fresno, Reedley and Orange Cove. The project aims to reduce outdoor water use in disadvantaged communities by replacing water-thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes. Fresno Bee article

 Back off, drought-shamers: They’ve already used the water once — If you see Jennifer Sjoberg watering her front lawn some evening on a no-watering day, stifle your shame-and-snark reflex. She’s spraying water that she already used in her house. Fresno Bee article

 California lawmakers to hold hearing on pot farm water use – A state legislative committee will look at the impact of the drought and water use by illegal marijuana cultivators on North Coast fisheries at a hearing in Sacramento. AP article

 Krysta Harden: Local food is growing roots – The deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture writes, “Farmers markets are the roots to a bigger story. Local-food systems are blossoming into a robust and resilient market sector. With each transaction, the supply and demand for local food is growing more sophisticated and more sustainable.” Harden op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

 Andrew Watkins: Agriculture – fight or die – The president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau writes, “To tell a grower to stop watering now is to say you must kill the food you were growing this year. You will then not use that trucking company to haul the food. The processor who helps get the product ready for the store gets nothing. The grocery store is forced to look elsewhere. And don’t forget the farmworkers who are not needed to harvest the now non-existent crop. At the same time this is the state’s message about food as the state continues to recklessly release water from our reservoirs during a drought year. When the choice is fight or die, you fight.” Watkins op-ed in Stockton Record


Water-independent Riverside fights 28 percent reduction order – For decades, Riverside has worked to be what officials consider “water independent” by consolidating groundwater rights and building water treatment facilities. LA Times article

 Latino men’s group to confront domestic abuse among farmworkers – Tired of seeing the effects of alcoholism and domestic abuse in their community, a group of men in Oxnard are getting together to do something about it. They say domestic abuse is not just a women’s problem. It’s something that should be addressed openly among men, or “Entre Hombres,” which is what they’re calling their effort. The group has now trained 12 men, who will engage local farmworkers on the issue. KQED report

 Drought leads to significant drop in Sacramento Valley breeding waterfowl – Breeding waterfowl populations have suffered a 19 percent drop in the Sacramento Valley this year and a steeper decline statewide due to the drought and poor habitat conditions, according to the latest annual survey released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Sacramento Bee article

PETA sues California over poultry slaughter law — An animal-rights group is suing California, charging that the state fails to enforce humane slaughter laws in poultry plants. LA Times article

 Humble rancher-philanthropist Peter Bennett dies at 92 — Most people knew Peter Bennett — if they knew him at all — as a humble yet successful cattle rancher, with little inkling of the family fortune fueled by Klondike gold and Kern County oil that enabled him to quietly become one of Fresno’s biggest philanthropists. Clarence Jesse “Peter” Bennett died Friday in Fresno. He was 92 year old. Fresno Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

 California death penalty: Executions could resume under high court ruling — California’s death penalty is back on the clock. A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday reinforced the ability of states to rely on lethal injection to carry out executions, handing down a ruling out of Oklahoma that unlocks California’s long dormant effort to revive the death penalty in this state.San Jose Mercury News article

 Supreme Court upholds use of death penalty drug — A bitterly divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld a drug combination used by Oklahoma to execute death row inmates. In the most closely watched capital punishment case of the court’s term, and one that provoked strong feelings from both sides, a conservative 5-4 majority rejected a challenge to the sedative midazolam.McClatchy Newspapers article; LA Times article; AP article

 Bakersfield chief remembers officer who ‘did his job right’ — David Nelson was long interested in law enforcement, and toward the end of his time at Occidental College, interned at the U.S. Treasury Department in a desk job. And there he realized a desk job wasn’t for him. Bakersfield Californian article

 Visalia Police Department launches Facebook, Instagram sites — The Visalia Police Department now is on Facebook and Instagram. Police officials announced Monday that they had launched accounts on both social media sites, as the department did nearly two years ago on Twitter andNixle. Visalia Times-Delta article

 LA D.A. creates unit to review claims of innocence — Drawing attention to mistakes of the past might seem like an incongruous goal for the district attorney’s office. But Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said her office’s new conviction review unit will only improve its reputation for truth-seeking. LA Times article



 Supreme Court will reconsider affirmative action case – The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to take a second look at a challenge to the use of race in admissions decisions by the University of Texas at Austin, reviving a potent challenge to affirmative action in higher education. New York Times article

 UC sued over sex assault claims – Three current and former University of California, Berkeley students sued the school on Monday, accusing administrators of not doing enough to investigate their sexual assault claims and hand out punishment. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article

 New Head Start grantee has yet to provide funding – The Head Start Child Development Council, Inc., may have to suspend operations Wednesday if the agency does not receive written confirmation that funding from the new grantee will be distributed by Tuesday evening. Stockton Record article

 Three California schools lose experiments in SpaceX rocket explosion – A costly rocket and thousands of pounds in food and supplies weren’t the only things that went up in flames when a SpaceX unmanned vehicle bound for the International Space Station exploded –- so did some California school science experiments. LA Times article

 Claim of shooting puts Chavez High in lockdown — A custodian who called police saying she had been shot in her hand caused a school to declare a lockdown and drew response from two police departments and paramedics before it was determined she had not been shot at all. Stockton Police said there was no direct evidence of a shooting at Cesar Chavez High School that the janitor’s hand injury was not consistent with a gunshot wound. Stockton Record article



 Supreme Court blocks air pollution rules for power plants — The Supreme Court has blocked Obama administration rules designed to sharply limit the hazardous air pollutants that spew from the nation’s power plants. LA Times article; McClatchy Newspapers article; Bakersfield Californian article

 Valley could be air-cleanup showplace – If President Barack Obama, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency truly want to help Valley residents enjoy better lives, they should turn our region into a clean-air demonstration project for the rest of the country. Fresno Bee editorial

 CPUC vote on electricity rates could hit Central Valley hard – A decision is expected Friday between two competing proposals for long-term changes to the way millions of Californians pay for electricity. The proposals before the California Public Utilities Commission deal with fundamental issues such as how to structure incentives to promote conservation and whether to introduce a system in which consumers pay more or less money depending on what time of day they use electricity. Bakersfield Californian article

 Valley in for a long string of 100-degree days – The Valley’s respite from triple-digit temperatures didn’t last long — and now it’s in for a long string of searing-hot days. Fresno Bee article

 Forecaster: Valley on track for record 100-degree year — Kings County is on pace to go far beyond the average number of days hotter than 100 degrees, according to Scott Borgioli of WeatherAg.com. Already, according to him, Hanford has had 13 days of 100 degrees or higher — and we’re only nine days into summer. Hanford Sentinel article

 Fishing resumes in waters fouled by California oil spill – The state Department of Fish and Wildlife allowed fishing to resume on Monday across 138 square miles of water off the Santa Barbara coast that was closed following last month’s huge oil spill. AP article

 Jeff Jardine: From the depths of New Melones comes the gateway of controversy — Hiking back out of the Stanislaus River canyon after visiting the old Parrott’s Ferry Bridge last week, I noticed a couple of freestanding stone pillars that are now well out of the water. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Health/Human Services

 Dentistry of the future — After six years of studies, Glassman and his colleagues at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry are inching toward what they consider a redefinition of dental care. They want to take services out into the community, as opposed to the other way around, while also using a somewhat new technology that could mean less pain for many patients.Stockton Record article

 Surgary drinks linked to 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year — By contributing to obesity and, through that, to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks appears to claim the lives of about 25,000 American adults yearly and is linked worldwide to the deaths of 180,000 each year, new research says. LA Times article

 Land Use/Housing

 Fresno council switches course, Oks $1.2 million loan for Lowell project — The Fresno City Council has raised the Lowell Project from the dead, but did so with all the joy of a funeral. The council on Monday approved a $1.2 million loan that will help bring 30 high-quality housing units to the historic Lowell neighborhood on the north edge of downtown. Fresno Bee article


Jean Fleury: Sacramento voters were right to reject streetcar tax – The board member of Eye on Sacramento writes, “Marcos Breton slams Sacramento voters who voted ‘no’ to the streetcar funding proposal (“Streetcar voters lack vision of a rising city,” June 7). But Breton doesn’t give voters credit for understanding that Sacramento already has existing light rail and buses serving that area. Why spend $150 million on a redundant transit line?” Fleury op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Other areas

 Carmen George: Biking across America, Marine from Oakhurst shares inspiration — After countless surgeries and years of rehabilitation, Toran Gaall, a double amputee, departed on a handcycle (a bicycle powered by arms instead of legs) on June 1 from San Diego with the goal of biking to Arlington County, Virginia by Aug. 2 to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund. On Sunday, he was in Houston, Missouri. George in Fresno Bee

 State Board investigates contractor in wake of Berkeley balcony collapse — The agency that oversees California building contractors says it’s investigating the firm that built a Berkeley apartment complex that was the scene of a fatal balcony collapse earlier this month. KQED report

 Visalia, Tulare step up efforts to prevent illegal fireworks use – Mayor David Macedo said he’s concerned the water-saving steps Tulare residents have adopted to help meet the state-mandated consumption reduction may result in the perfect conditions for a fire that starts with illegal, wayward fireworks. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Final exec sentenced to prison for exposing Merced County children to asbestos – The third and final defendant convicted of exposing Merced County high school students to asbestos was sentenced Monday to serve time in federal prison. Merced Sun-Star article

 East Side mosquito control district is stung by grand jury report – A civil grand jury report recommends that an outside entity review “widespread” management and human resources problems at East Side Mosquito Abatement District. And it does not stop there. Modesto Bee article

 Sandy Banks: One homeless voice is heard at LAPD meeting on crackdown – They’re tired of side-stepping panhandlers outside the market and letting transients sully their well-kept parks. They’re worried about rising crime, fueled by jumps in home burglaries and car break-ins. Banks column in LA Times

 Group asks Sacramento to delay delaying emails – The City of Sacramento is planning to delete millions of emails written or received by city employees more than two years ago. The group Eye On Sacramento is calling for a delay in the deletions. Capital Public Radio report; Sacramento Bee editorial

 Want to shoot down a drone? It’ll cost you, Modesto man learns — When a Modesto man opened fire on a drone hovering near his home last year, the price was more than some spent birdshot. After Brett McBay downed the drone, a judge ordered him to pay $850 to the owner of the “hexacopter,” according to a story first reported by tech site Ars Technica. LA Times article

 Judge orders gallery seating open for Oakland council meetings — Expect more elbow room in the City Council chambers Tuesday when elected officials pass Oakland’s budget. An Alameda County judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday ordering the council to reopen its upper-level galleries to the public after complaints from a union. Contra Costa Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – If President Barack Obama, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency truly want to help Valley residents enjoy better lives, they should turn our region into a clean-air demonstration project for the rest of the country.

Modesto Bee – Rejoicing in a greater sense of liberty.

Sacramento Bee – Sacramento shouldn’t rush into an email purge; The U.S. Supreme Court affirms a basic democratic right with redistricting ruling.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers on the plight of homeless in San Joaquin County, vaccine bill 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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