June 4, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Majority of Californians support mandatory vaccines for schoolchildren — Amid intense debate this year about a proposal to require children to be fully vaccinated before attending public schools, an overwhelming majority of Californians appears to support such a measure.  Sacramento Bee article; KQED report

 State Senate’s 24-hour drivers only latest of Capitol perks — The Senate’s 24-hour driver availability, launched in part to keep senators from driving drunk, marks the latest episode of a policy accepted as a logical move inside the Capitol but seen elsewhere as elitist behavior by politicians who are out of touch.  Sacramento Bee article

State budget

California advances California earned income tax credit bills – California lawmakers are taking the first steps to implement an earned income tax credit for the working poor, part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal.  AP article

Sacramento Bee: It’s teachers vs. day care, as children pay – The Rube Goldberg contraption that is California’s school spending mandate has hijacked the budget, just as we all knew it would. Sacramento Bee editorial

Protestors seek new funding at Capitol —  As lawmakers hammer out the final details of California’s budget, advocates have descended on the Capitol in high-profile efforts to seek new funding for government services. LA Times article

 Gov. Brown

George Skelton: Brown’s water quest taps forebears’ inspiration, if not their flexibility – Gov. Jerry Brown increasingly seems to be drawing from the past, inspired by his pioneering forebears and comparing their struggles with his own. They had much tougher lives, he tells audiences. Surely if they could cross the Plains in covered wagons, tame the land and fight mosquitoes, he can dig two big water tunnels and erect a bullet train. Skelton column in LA Times

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Measure filed to counter gay murder proposal – California voters could face not only an incendiary ballot measure that would legalize murder of gays and lesbians next year, but another requiring anyone proposing such a homicidal law to undergo “sensitivity training.”  Capitol Alert; LA Times article

 Newsom, pot panel hold hearing at Fresno State — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy made an appearance at Fresno State Wednesday as part of a statewide series of meetings on legalizing marijuana. Fresno Bee article

 California Republicans move HQ to Sacramento — After three decades with a Burbank mailing address, the California Republican Party is moving its base to downtown Sacramento.Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

California Senate Oks requiring warrants to search smartphones, tablets — The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would require law enforcement in California to obtain a search warrant or wiretap order before searching a person’s smartphone, laptop or other electronic device or accessing information stored on remote servers.  LA Times article

 State Senate advances sweeping climate change legislation – California state senators approved legislation Wednesday intended to help the state tackle climate change by setting new targets for generating renewable energy, reducing gasoline use and increasing energy efficiency in buildings. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article

 Support dwindles for changing Proposition 13 – Support has dwindled for removing commercial properties from tax limits imposed by Proposition 13, the landmark property tax initiative approved by voters in 1978, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.  LA Times article

 California Assembly approves regulating virtual currency — California would regulate businesses that hold bitcoin and other virtual currency in a way similar to banks, under pending legislation. AP article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

 Steamed: Californians critical of neighbors’ response to drought, poll finds — Most Californians don’t believe others in their region of the state are doing enough to respond to the four-year drought, with the harshest criticism being dished out in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

 It’s the drought, stupid: Water woes surpass jobs, economy in poll — For the first time, Californians are more concerned about the state’s dogged drought than they are about jobs and the economy, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday. And it’s not even close.  Stockton Record article

 Stanford, Valley Children’s Hospital creating doctor residency — Valley Children’s Hospital announced Wednesday morning it is joining with Stanford University School of Medicine to create a residency program for the Madera County hospital. The graduate education program at Valley Children’s will train doctors to be pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists, officials from the hospital said. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article; KVPR report

Jobs and the Economy

 John Myers: If you think California is struggling, new poll says you’re not alone – Whatever the reason, when it comes to the hope that Californians may feel about the state turning the corner on years of tough times, a new poll makes it clear: Not so fast. Myers in KQED

 California jobless rate continues to fall, report says — A new report says California’s economy is expected to continue its steady recovery and predicts the state unemployment rate will drop more than a percentage point over the next two years. AP article

 2015 drought taking bigger bite out of ag economy – In super-dry 2015, compared to a normal water year, California agriculture is on track to use 2.5 million acre-feet less water, fallow 560,000 acres, employ 18,600 fewer people and contribute $2.7 billion less to the state’s overall economy.  Hanford Sentinel article

 Swearengin touts Fresno success, future agenda in State of the City speech – Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s annual State of the City address Wednesday was one that tallied the accomplishments of the past six years and laid out an agenda for the final 19 months. It was a speech about her legacy, and the talking points will sound very familiar to anyone who has heard the leader of the state’s fifth-largest city speak recently. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

 Senate embraces reform blunting ADA lawsuits – Small businesses vulnerable to predatory lawsuits based on disability access could get some help from a bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday with a unanimous 40-0 vote. Modesto Bee article

 Biofuels initiative could boost local companies – Assemblywoman Susan Eggman has joined with other California legislators in calling for creation of a $200 million program to boost biofuels production in the state, including in Stockton, which is home to biodiesel and ethanol plants. Stockton Record article

 Fresno mayor: Smart & Final to take over Save Mart location – Smart & Final plans to take over the Save Mart that’s slated to close at Blackstone and Clinton avenues in central Fresno. The retailer will open its “Smart & Final Extra!” format geared toward both average families and businesses. Fresno Bee article; KVPR report

 Closure doesn’t check out – Last week, with Stockton developing its first post-bankruptcy general-fund spending plan — to the tune of nearly $200 million — advocates for Fair Oaks Library were out in force during two nights of City Council budget meetings. The activists were asking for Fair Oaks’ reopening, but the show of support for the bygone facility was news this week to many who live closest to it. Stockton Record article

 LA City Council approves landmark minimum wage increase – A landmark ordinance boosting the minimum wage in Los Angeles won approval Wednesday from the City Council despite a variety of unresolved issues about how the law would work. LA Times article

 Business group that backed LA’s minimum wage plan ‘not so happy’ now —  As the Los Angeles City Council prepares for a final vote Wednesday to raise the minimum wage, leaders of the most prominent business group to back a citywide pay boost have privately expressed concerns about changes made to the proposal since Mayor Eric Garcetti first sought their support.  LA Times article

 California still owes feds $8 billion for unemployment insurance — California borrowed $10 billion from the federal government to shore up its recession-battered Unemployment Insurance Fund. Even though the state’s economy is now booming, it still owes the feds about $8 billion. Sacramento Bee article

 May’s online job ads rise in Sacramento, statewide – Following a sluggish April, online job listings in Sacramento and throughout California picked up some steam in May, according to Wednesday’s monthly report by The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group. Sacramento Bee article

 California Senate approves child care workers unionization — California would allow tens of thousands of child care providers to unionize under a proposal passed Wednesday by the state Senate. Lawmakers voted 25-12 to approve Senate Bill 548, which heads next to the Assembly. Capitol Alert


 Farmers allege water contamination conspiracy in suit again oil regulators – A years-old controversy about government permitting of oil field wastewater injection activity escalated Wednesday as local farming interests filed a federal lawsuit accusing state and county officials of conspiring to promote petroleum production at the expense of groundwater protection.Bakersfield Californian article

 Are Fresno city leaders taking water message to heart? – A drive-by photo tour of homes of Mayor Ashley Swearengin and each of the seven City Council members suggests, from the looks of their front yards, that most are taking the message to heart. Fresno Bee article

 Hanford enacts new water rules – The Hanford City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve an urgency ordinance amending the city’s water use restrictions to cut water use by 28 percent citywide.  Hanford Sentinel article

 ‘First Look’: California Water Service talks drought restrictions, pulls pool draining proposal – Bakersfield’s recent report on water reduction show the city’s consumption has by dropped eight percent, according to Rudy Valles, district water manager for the California Water Service. He cited the statistic over the phone on Wednesday’s “First looks with Scott Cox.”Bakersfield Californian article

 Visalia, Tulare outdoor watering police remain – The outdoor water policy for Visalia and Tulare are remaining. At least, for the moment. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Turlock home landscapes slurp less water; green parks, university use alternate sources – Brown is the new green. As Turlock strains to cut water usage by a state-mandated 32 percent from 2013 levels, parks and medians will be leaning toward earth colors. Lawns in shades of beige and sepia-toned landscapes serve as badges of conservation around town. Modesto Bee article

 Contra Costa Water District raises rates to prompt conservation — Water rates are going up immediately for 208,000 central Contra Costa County residents in response to a state push to slash water use. Contra Costa Times article

 New growing technique relieves drought-stricken avocado farmers – Farmers are being widely criticized during the California drought because agriculture uses the majority of the state’s water. But some farmers are cutting back by employing new techniques. A recent study used half as much water to yield twice as much fruit. Capital Public Radio report

 Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, threatened by urban water transfer – Once-bustling marinas on shallow water in California’s largest lake a few years ago are bone-dry. Carcasses of oxygen-starved tilapia lie on desolate shores. Flocks of eared grebes and shoreline birds bob up and down to feast on marine life. KPCC report

 Backers of desalination hope Carlsbad plant will disarm critics — The plant is touted as the largest desalination project in the Western Hemisphere. The technology being installed, though not altogether new, has been upgraded by experts from an Israeli company. The Israelis will help run the plant and are looking to hire former U.S. Marines to work there. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Assembly approves bill requiring data on police stops — Legislation seeking to curb racial profiling by having law enforcement share more data on stops narrowly passed the California Assembly on Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

 California Senate passes bill limiting use of solitary confinement for juveniles — Following a landmark ban on the practice in Contra Costa County, the state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill limiting the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders. Contra Costa Times article

 Family expresses sadness, anger over fatal officer-involved shooting — Dozens of family and friends of Ramiro James Villegas gathered at a Bakersfield park Wednesday to discuss the loss and anger they’ve felt since the 22-year-old was fatally shot by police in November. Bakersfield Californian article

 Subpoenas upheld to make DOJ employees testify — A federal judge has denied San Joaquin County’s request to throw out the subpoenas of two Department of Justice employees whose emails to the county Sheriff’s Office are being considered evidence in a lawsuit alleging unsolved missing persons’ records were improperly deleted from a national database. Stockton Record article


 California bills would increase campus sex assault penalties – California college students who are disciplined for sexual assault face tougher penalties under legislation approved by the state Assembly.   AP article

 Congress looks for ways to cut college costs — As college costs continue to climb, Congress is taking a fresh look at federal financial aid and considering ways to stop states from driving up tuition at their public universities. McClatchy Newspapers article

 Fresno Unified approves $801 million spending plan – Fresno Unified School District is investing big money in career technical education programs under an $801 million budget trustees passed at their meeting Wednesday night. Fresno Bee article

 Claude C. Laval, Timothy Stearns, Riley C. Walter: Fresno builds nation’s first high school for entrepreneurs – The Fresno community leaders write, “Much of traditional public education lacks the requisite curriculum to prepare young people for work in the business sector. The requisite skills of critical thinking and problem solving can be learned through an applied entrepreneurship education. This is why we are so excited about Fresno Unified School District’s new entrepreneurship high school that will open in August.”  Laval/Stearns/Walter op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Fear and loathing in Manteca Unified – Manteca Unified School District trustees Sam Fant and Ashley Drain have been inappropriate and disrespectful on the job, using coercion and other improper tactics to get what they want, according to a grand jury investigation. Stockton Record article

 The Grade: All about the high school district – Kern High School District board members and district officials covered topics from spending and budget plans to boundary changes and school discipline at a four-hour board meeting Monday. Board president Chad Vegas warned attendees that one agenda item, scheduled for late in the meeting, would be worth the wait. Bakersfield Californian article

 Report finds school districts lag in implementing new science standards – A review of some of California’s largest school districts shows that fewer than half even mention the new science standards adopted by the state nearly two years ago in their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which they are required to draw up as a result of school reforms championed by Gov. Jerry Brown. EdSource article

 Clovis Unified says agreement reached with student to wear eagle feather at Clovis High graduation — An agreement was reached Tuesday night between Clovis Unified and a Clovis High senior who wants to wear a ceremonial eagle feather at his graduation ceremony this week, the school district announced. Fresno Bee article

 Los Banos school district officials face federal suit — A former teacher is suing some of the Los Banos Unified School District’s top officials in U.S. District Court for allegedly retaliating against him after he chose to publicly oppose actions taken by Superintendent Steve Tietjen. Los Banos Enterprise article


 Ruptured pipeline was corroded, federal regulators say – Corrosion had eaten away nearly half of the metal wall of a pipeline that ruptured and spilled up to 101,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara coast last month, federal regulators said Wednesday.  LA Times article; AP article

 State Senate votes to ban new oil drilling off Santa Barbara County — Two weeks after an oil spill off Refugio State Beach, the state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would ban new offshore oil drilling from a nearby area in the Santa Barbara Channel known as Tranquillon Ridge. LA Times article

 Health/Human Services

 California women can soon skip the doctor to get their birth control – Think of how often you stop by Walgreens or CVS. You run in and grab some Band Aids or restock your ibuprofen supply. Maybe get a flu shot on your way to work. Soon, it will be that easy for women to get birth control, too. Under a new law, women will be able to walk in to a pharmacy, get a prescription for contraceptive pills, the ring, or the patch, and get it filled, all at the same time. KQED report

 California midwives could work without doctor supervision — More California midwives could help care for pregnant women without doctor’s supervision under a bill moving through the Legislature.  AP article

 Turlock nurses join effort to feed needy children over summer — When school lets out, many children also lose access to healthy breakfasts. Nurses at Emanuel Medical Center are working on a drive to help alleviate that problem, collecting healthy cereals for distribution to needy children. Modesto Bee article

 Land Use/Housing

 Disappointed San Francisco housing activists consider future — Proponents of a temporary moratorium on luxury housing in San Francisco may turn to voters in November after city supervisors rejected the idea this week. AP article


Visalia Transit offers first transit app – Navigating Visalia’s public transportation system just got a little easier. This week, Visalia Transit launched a brand new mobile application that shows bus stops, bus routes and even buses arriving in real-time. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Failed Bay Bridge rod was stripped, not broken, Caltrans says – A steel rod anchoring the Bay Bridge’s new eastern tower that became the second to fail a key integrity test did not succumb to water-induced corrosion like other high-strength components on the span, Caltrans officials said Wednesday, seeking to assure the public the bridge is safe. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Golden Gate Bridge tolls broadside tourists who rent cars — The thrill of rolling beneath the soaring international orange towers in a rental car, however, has grown more confusing — and often more costly — with the end of toll collectors, the advent of all-electronic tolling and the signs warning drivers not to stop at the toll booths.  San Francisco Chronicle article

 After defeat, streetcar advocates vow to continue push — Sacramento streetcar advocates say they won’t give up their quest to build a downtown trolley system, despite voters’ rejection this week of the financing plan.  Sacramento Bee article

 Other areas

 Sanger mayor resigns, cites conflict with City Council members — Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell announced his resignation Wednesday at a news conference at City Hall. He filed a letter of resignation with Sanger City Clerk Becky Hernandez on Wednesday morning and will not attend any City Council meetings. His resignation will become official after various insurance and policy loose ends are tied up, which should be within 30 days, he said. Mitchell cited clashes with Council Members Humberto Garza, Eli Ontiveros and Raul Cantu as the reason for his exit.Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article; KVPR report

 Lindsay city manager resigns amid tensions – Lindsay City Manager Rich Wilkinson, who also served as police chief, has left the city after four years of increasingly tense relationships with a majority of council members. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

 Merced County Supervisor Pedrozo involved in fatal collision with pedestrian, CHP says — John Pedrozo, chairman of the Merced County Board of Supervisors, was involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian Tuesday night, the California Highway Patrol reported. Neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the collision, Officer Moises Onsurez said. Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto looks at silencing train horns – Modesto may take a look at how it could silence the blaring of train horns in downtown. The City Council’s Economic Development Committee recommended this week that the full council hire Texas-based consulting firm CTC at a cost not to exceed $34,500 for such services as developing plans and cost estimates for establishing what are called quiet zones along the Union Pacific tracks that run through downtown. Modesto Bee article

 Bakersfield Fourth of July celebration back on — The city of Bakersfield’s Fourth of July celebration, including a fireworks show, will go on after all, it was announced Wednesday, five days after its surprise cancellation.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – If Jenner’s example offers some hope and if all the attention she is getting increases awareness and tolerance, that’s wonderful. But there are many Americans trying to make the same transition who don’t have a team of publicists or a supportive network of family and friends. Unknown to the masses, they’re the ones really being brave.

Merced Sun-Star – Before lawmakers grow too accustomed to cap and trade, they will need to grapple with basic questions: Is it legal, how should it be extended, and will cap and trade continue to defy gravity?

Modesto Bee – Before lawmakers grow too accustomed to cap and trade, they will need to grapple with basic questions: Is it legal, how should it be extended, and will cap and trade continue to defy gravity?

Sacramento Bee – The Rube Goldberg contraption that is California’s school spending mandate has hijacked the budget, just as we all knew it would; It’s time for Plan B on Sacramento’s streetcar project, if there is one.

Stockton RecordCongratulations to the Class of 2015.

 Upcoming Events

  • The California High-Speed Rail Authority is hosting an Industry Forum on Wednesday, June 10, from 1-3 p.m. in the Wasco Veterans Hall.  The event is for businesses interested in working on the next 22-mile phase of construction in the Central Valley.  Information and registration: http://hsr.ca.gov/Newsroom/events.html.


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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