June 9, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Democrats push spending plan that relies on higher revenues — With California’s budget deadline a week away, Democratic state lawmakers are using higher revenue estimates to bolster their argument for spending more on social programs for the poor despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s cost concerns. AP article

 California budgets include fewer gimmicks but risks remain — California’s finances have mostly moved beyond the fund shifts, deferrals, borrowing and other budgeting maneuvers that became common during past fiscal downturns, according to a new study of budget transparency by an organization led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, which warns that the “state’s fiscal culture” could revert if revenue falls. Sacramento Bee article

 State budget

 California budget talks enter key stretch — California lawmakers and Governor Jerry Brown are heading into crunch time for state budget talks. The sides have just days to reach a deal if there’s to be a vote by next Monday’s constitutional budget deadline.  Capital Public Radio report

 Valley politics

 AD31: Clint Olivier announces run for seat — Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier on Monday became the second candidate to officially enter the 31st Assembly District race. Olivier, a Republican, joins Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula in the battle to replace Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea, who reaches his term limit next year. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

 Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Joe Mathews: Democrats seek a tax on political participation — Do only people without money have hateful or silly ideas? That appears to be the logic of Assembly Democrats. They recently passed a bill to increase the filing fee for ballot initiatives from $200 to $8,000. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

 Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez vows federal action on oil spills —  As U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez bemoaned the recent Santa Barbara oil spill at a stop in Long Beach on Monday, the Orange County congresswoman all but echoed the words of her chief Senate rival, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. LA Times article


Other areas


State lawmakers ask AG Kamala Harris to weigh in on redistricting case – Dozens of state lawmakers have joined Senate leader Kevin de León in backing the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine to determine voting districts, in anticipation of a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could overturn that principle. LA Times article

 Dan Walters: Sunshine’s not bright in California’s Capitol – California legislators are steadfast champions of transparency in government – until it comes to themselves. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee: Pass vaccination bill and end this ugly fight – California’s effort to tighten school vaccination requirements is reasonable, scientific and very much needed. But that has not stopped vaccine opponents from turning a true public service into one of the ugliest political fights we’ve seen in a long while.  Sacramento Bee editorial

 Stalled DNA collection bill is revived in Legislature – A measure to shore up California’s DNA collection system in criminal cases will be resurrected in the state Legislature, lawmakers said Monday, just weeks after the bill was shelved in an Assembly committee over vehement objection by its author.  LA Times article


Kevin Johnson’s push for more staff reflects continued national ambitions — After more than six years, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is on the cusp of expanding the reach of his office to reflect national ambitions he has chased since he was first elected. Sacramento Bee article

Supreme Court rejects review of San Francisco gun-lock law – The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a San Francisco law that requires handgun owners to secure their weapons with trigger locks or store them in gun safes while in the home. KQED report


Political polling pioneer Mervin Field dies — Mervin Field wasn’t always right about who was winning California elections, but over seven decades, his Field Poll established an enviable track record of accurately charting the ups and downs of California politics. Field’s office confirmed that he had died early Monday in a Marin County assisted-living facility after a long bout with illness. He was 94. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; John Myers in KQED; San Francisco Chronicle article

 Plan to allow San Francisco’s 16-year-olds to vote won’t be on 2015 ballot – San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos tabled a proposal Monday to allow 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections, but vowed to try again next year.  San Francisco Chronicle article

 State lawmakers approve $968,700 in claims for wrongful convictions – State lawmakers on Monday approved legislation that would pay $968,700 to settle claims by three wrongly convicted Californians, including Brian Banks, a former star football player who served five years in prison before a young girl recanted her accusation that he had raped her.  LA Times article

 Tom Fife: Only U.S. citizens should be granted a vote – Election laws should have teeth, anyone caught illegally voting should be harshly punished because illegal votes and the voters who cast them pick our economic pocket and steal our freedoms. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

 Joe Altschule: We should make it easier – not harder – to vote — We are incredibly out of touch and behind the times when it comes to how we conduct national elections. Just think for a moment about the arcane way we elect the highest office in the land. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

 If Supreme Court rules against Obamacare, few states are ready for fallout – Millions of Americans could soon lose health insurance when the Supreme Court decides the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act this month, but states have made few concrete plans to deal with the potential fallout, and they may get little help from Washington, President Obama warned Monday. LA Times article

 Kevin de Leon mixes music and policy at CSU-LA — Looking to make a mix CD for Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León? Try shades of rock—classic, alternative, Latin—with a bit of Los Angeles rap sprinkled in. De León visited California State University, Los Angeles, last week and played guest DJ for an hour at the student radio station, Golden Eagle Radio. Capitol Alert


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 8 miles dropped off initial high-speed rail phase, cutting out Bakersfield – The 130-mile first leg of California High Speed Rail is now 122 miles, and initial plans to terminate the first segment in Bakersfield are now officially out the window. State bullet train officials say the decision is the result of legal disputes with local cities. Bakersfield Californian article

 Fresno County, other courts ordered to drop pay-first policy for traffic tickets — California courts no longer can require drivers to pay bail before they can go to trial to fight traffic tickets, the state Judicial Council ruled Monday. Fresno County and other central San Joaquin County courts faced a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union for charging bail as prepayment before trial. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

 Modesto meeting again over proposed sales tax – The Modesto City Council will hold another discussion Tuesday evening on whether its members should put a sales tax on the November ballot. Modesto Bee article


Money for Fresno parks comes under scrutiny – City Council Member Esmeralda Soria on Monday said she wants Fresno to spend more money next year on the parks system. It’s another sign that Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s proposed budget may go down in history as the Green Space Spending Battle. Fresno Bee article


Fresno County supervisors want recruits for law enforcement jobs — Fresno County supervisors went through their more than $2 billion budget in just over two hours Monday, rather than needing days to complete the review, as is typical. Fresno Bee article

 Steep water and sewer rate hikes on Riverbank’s horizon – Water bills for a typical family would go up 107 percent under the plan, which features a series of five increases in as many years. That would take the current monthly charge of $19.75 to about $41 if a customer uses 15,000 gallons. Monthly sewer bills would balloon 146 percent, from the current residential charge of $20.15 to $49.48 by 2019. Modesto Bee article

 Joel Fox: Cap-and-trade talk is all about the money – When discussing California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade legislation set up to pay for carbon emissions there is more conversation about money than there is about climate change. How much will the program cost? How will the money be spent? How will the overall economy be affected if billions of dollars are being redirected by governmental regulations? Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Jeff Jardine: Modesto trimmer saws through the glass ceiling – Many women still find that the so-called glass ceilings in American workplaces are tough to crack. Susan Baker cut through it with a chainsaw. A week ago, Baker reported for work as the city of Modesto’s first woman tree trimmer – as in, first one ever ever. Think of her as Modesto’s own Paul – make that Paula – Bunyan, sans the Blue Ox. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

 LA Mayor Eric Garcetti courts the tech sector – Few mayors embody the digital zeitgeist like Eric Garcetti, a self-professed math geek and amateur coder who has made the L.A. tech scene a cornerstone of his administration. LA Times article

 CalPERS to halve its Wall Street investment managers — The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to cut in half the number of Wall Street firms it pays to manage its $303 billion fund, an effort to cut down on high fees that drag down returns. LA Times article

 Serrano’s Furniture expands, adds activity to local economy – When Serrano’s Furniture opened its Visalia location, it meant it was time for the regional chain to boost its warehousing capabilities, said Joel Serrano. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Sacramento Bee: Sacramento City Council goes on a spending spree – The wheels are greased for approval Tuesday night of a Sacramento city budget that significantly boosts spending to add police officers, firefighters and parks workers but that deepens a dangerous hole in the budget in only a few years. Sacramento Bee editorial

 San Diego stadium vote could be Dec. 15 – San Diego officials announced Monday that a citywide vote on a possible new Chargers stadium could happen as early as Dec. 15, a few weeks before the January 2016 window the NFL has tentatively set for teams to apply for relocation to the Los Angeles area. San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Foon Rhee: Gunslinger aims for big job gains in Sacramento – I don’t envy Barry Broome, even though he is getting paid rather handsomely. He’s the new economic development czar in town, and the heat is on to deliver results. Elected officials and business leaders have high hopes that he will do nothing less than transform job recruiting in the Sacramento region. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

 CalSTRS cashes out of firearms investments — Ending a lengthy effort that had frustrated school teachers, CalSTRS has sold its investment in the firearms manufacturer linked to the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Sacramento Bee article

 Tesla in line for $15 million in California tax credits – Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is proposing a $15 million tax credit to electric vehicle-maker Tesla Motors after California lost out in a heated bidding war for the company’s new battery plant. AP article

Blue Shield’s proposed acquisition of Care1st faces tough scrutiny – A top California regulator vowed a “deep dive” into a $1.2-billion acquisition proposed by Blue Shield of California amid criticism that the nonprofit insurer is shortchanging the public. LA Times article


 Fresno water use plummets 24.8 percent in May over last year – Fresno water customers used 3.3 billion gallons less water in May compared to the same month in 2014, a drop-off of 24.8%, according to the city Department of Public Utilities. The reduction helps Fresno in the effort to meet a state-ordered 28% cutback in water use between 2013 and the beginning of 2016.Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Three Sacramento water agencies get breather on drought cutbacks – The city of Lincoln, Sacramento Suburban Water District and Georgetown Divide Public Utility District have been told they have to reduce water consumption by 32 percent over the next nine months compared to 2013. The three districts had previously been in the 36 percent category.  Sacramento Bee article

 Drought-buster: Madera family reuses shower warm-up water – Rayne Simons of Madera has a novel way of helping save water and putting it to additional use in this fourth year of drought in California. Each morning he and his wife, Callie, fill buckets with water they capture as their shower heats up. They continue to collect water as they shower. They are able to collect five to eight gallons of water each day. Fresno Bee article

 California’s vanishing clouds could intensify drought – Fog season is with us once again. And whether it’s the ground-level “pea soup” of legend or the looming overcast known as the marine layer, there’s a reason it’s calledCalifornia’s natural air-conditioning: fog and clouds are vital cogs in keeping the coastal thermostat turned down. But that advantage could be disappearing.  KQED report

 Bottled water sources flow amid drought — San Diego County has six bottled water companies, at least three of which draw from private wells and springs in Lakeside, the Santee area, and Palomar Mountain. The companies face drought restrictions when it comes to watering the shrubs at their plants and offices, but not on the product they bottle inside. San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Dublin defends construction of massive water park during drought — Construction is underway on what city officials boast will be the “biggest and best” water park in the East Bay, however some Dublin residents are questioning the wisdom of building the $36 million Emerald Glen Aquatic Center in the midst of a historic drought.  Oakland Tribune article

 Don Curlee: Misled voters toss egg market askew — When California voters seven years ago forced the state’s egg producers to provide commodious accommodations for their hens, they were either too well intentioned or too stupid, or perhaps a little of both.  Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Police chases balance danger of criminals, safety risk to public – Three times in the past three months, suspects racing away from San Francisco police have plowed cars into innocent people, killing a woman and sending several others to hospitals. Each time, officers apparently followed department policy. But in the aftermath of twisted metal and grief, a long-nagging question has re-emerged.  San Francisco Chronicle article


 More Corinthian Colleges students’ federal loan debt to be erased — The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced a series of new debt relief measures that could assist tens of thousands of students affected by the collapse of Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. LA Times article; AP article; Stockton Record article

 Merced Office of Education awarded $600,000 — The Merced County Office of Education will receive $600,000 in grant funding from the state to improve science and mathematics instruction. Merced Sun-Star article

 Oakdale High School student stabbed in boys bathroom — An Oakdale High School student was stabbed by another student on campus Monday, where summer school is in session, police reported. Modesto Bee article


 Injecting wastewater under his own estate, local oil producer says, ‘I practice what I preach’ – Chad Hathaway doesn’t buy the argument that underground injections of oil field wastewater contaminate nearby water wells. If they did, he might have to move his wife, three children and 160 acres of grapevines. Bakersfield Californian article

 44 percent of coastline clean after Santa Barbara County oil spill, officials say – More than 40 miles of California coastline has been cleared of oil from the Plains All American Pipeline oil spill off Santa Barbara County, officials say. LA Times article

 PUC won’t fire managers for ‘inappropriate’ e-mails to PG&E — The California Public Utilities Commission has taken “corrective action” against about two dozen managers who engaged in back-channel e-mail communications with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., but the discipline stopped short of suspensions or firings, The Chronicle has learned. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

 San Francisco considers health warning on soda advertising – San Francisco officials are deciding whether to impose a warning on ads for a favorite drink of children and a bane of public health advocates: Sugary soda pop. AP article

 National study says Doctors Hospital of Manteca charges too much – Doctors Hospital of Manteca marks up its prices almost 10 times over its actual costs when it charges out-of-network patients and the uninsured, as well as auto and workers’ compensation insurers, according to a new national study. Stockton Record article

 Daniel Weintraub: Too many poor kids in California can’t find dentists – The editor of the California Health Report writes, “Jim Wood tells a story about teeth that makes him smile. A dentist – and a state assemblyman from Sonoma County – he remembers the time a patient who was an elementary-school teacher told him about a student with serious dental problems. The little girl’s family was poor and they lived in a rural area. They could not find a dentist.” Weintraub op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Whooping cough on the rise in Tulare County – The year is not quite halfway through, but the number of confirmed and suspected cases of whooping cough in Tulare County is nearly double the total number of cases reported all of last year. Visalia Times-Delta article

 ‘Ripon native’ takes over as medical director of Golden Valley clinics — Dr. Ellen Piernot was born and raised in Ripon, but she is a long way from her hometown as she begins her duties as chief medical officer of Golden Valley Health Centers. Piernot grew up in Ripon, Wis., a farming community of 7,600 that has similarities to the Ripon located 12 miles north of Modesto. The Wisconsin town prides itself as the birthplace of the Republican Party. Modesto Bee article

 Land Use/Housing

 Slow pace of Stockton General Plan reforms frustrates many – Motivated by issues ranging from the need for affordable housing to limiting growth and healing the environment, a coalition of organizations has expressed in a two-page letter to the City Council that it is “dismayed” Stockton has “stalled” in its work to amend its General Plan. Stockton Record article

 Mistrial declared over inability to seat a jury, but land swap case against Bakersfield isn’t over — One of the longest-running lawsuits against the city of Bakersfield, a civil case over a land swap in the southeast, has ended in a mistrial. For now. Bakersfield Californian article

 San Francisco mayor increases proposed housing bond to $300 million — Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday he will increase the size of his proposed housing bond from $250 million to $300 million, with the extra $50 million going to buy land and property in the Mission District to develop affordable housing. San Francisco Chronicle article


High-speed rail board mulls SoCal routes, major contracts – Dueling interests colliding over bullet-train route options in Southern California are expected to attract a large crowd to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s board meeting Tuesday, June 9 in Los Angeles. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article
Open house set in Madera for rail construction project — Residents in Madera can learn more at an open house next week about construction plans that are expected to get under way soon for the first segment of California’s high-speed rail project. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

 Fresno DA urges change in public administrator oversight – Fresno County’s district attorney urged county supervisors to add staff and change oversight of the Public Administrator’s office, which is under fire after theft allegations made last week by her department’s internal affairs division. Fresno Bee article

 Michael Fitzgerald: Beating red light cameras — Of all the stories I heard of red light cameras (despised contraptions the city recently pulled the plug on) I heard only one in which someone beat the ticket. To understand how he did it, you have to know that after the camera snapped a picture of a car blowing a red light, it sent the image to a computer in the Stockton Police Department’s traffic division. Fitzgerald blog in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – California can do better for poor kids’ teeth.

Merced Sun-Star – California’s effort to tighten school vaccination requirements is reasonable, scientific and very much needed. But that has not stopped vaccine opponents from turning a true public service into one of the ugliest political fights we’ve seen in a long while.

Modesto Bee – California’s effort to tighten school vaccination requirements is reasonable, scientific and very much needed. But that has not stopped vaccine opponents from turning a true public service into one of the ugliest political fights we’ve seen in a long while.

Sacramento Bee – California’s effort to tighten school vaccination requirements is reasonable, scientific and very much needed. But that has not stopped vaccine opponents from turning a true public service into one of the ugliest political fights we’ve seen in a long while; Sacramento City Council goes on a spending spree.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers: It’s time for police body cameras, jeers to Lincoln’s yearbook issue, and other issues.

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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