March 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Dan Walters: California prisoner count drops, spending increases – Americans of a certain age may remember the term “peace dividend.” It was uttered after the Vietnam War ended in the 1970s and the Cold War ended in the early 1990s – referring to an anticipated decrease in military spending. Something of a “peace dividend” was promised – or at least assumed – when California, acceding to federal court pressure, sharply reduced its prison population. Forget about it. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Jeff Jardine: O’Brien stacks deck in Olsen’s favor in Stanislaus supervisor race — On Thursday, Stanislaus County Supervisor Bill O’Brien emailed a statement proclaiming that he will not run in the June primary for a fourth term to represent District 1, which includes the Oakdale and Riverbank areas. In the same statement, he also endorsed terming-out California Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen as his successor. With this well-coordinated strike, O’Brien and Olsen all but sealed and dead-bolted the window of opportunity for others now entertaining thoughts of running for the seat. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Gov. Brown

Willie Brown: Gov. Brown needs to buck big tobacco and sign antismoking bills — As a veteran of California’s tobacco wars, my advice to Gov. Jerry Brown is to buck the tobacco lobby and sign the just-passed package of bills that, among other things, raises the age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

 Other areas 

Dan Morain: Short takes from the campaign trail — In each presidential election, University of California employees are among the largest collective sources of campaign money, particularly for Democrats. This year is no exception, but preferences of West Coast academia might surprise you. Morain in Sacramento Bee

San Bernardino Assembly race could define what it means to be an Inland Empire Democrat — What happens when a Democratic lawmaker strays from party leaders on a key piece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s policy agenda? One assemblywoman who held back support for a sweeping climate-change bill last year is starting to find out. LA Times article

Joyce Terhaar: It’s all on the record with the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board — We don’t want to keep secrets from readers when we talk with political candidates. That’s why The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, which regularly meets with public officials and candidates for public office, requires that conversations be on the record. The board invites news reporters to cover the meetings, in the event someone makes news. Terhaar column in Sacramento Bee

News Stories

Top Stories 

Coalinga’s new boil boom: Proposal would transform empty prison into cannabis oil production — This city founded on the discovery of a petroleum field is looking to strike it rich in a new oil industry. Instead of relying on the black gold pulled from the ground for jobs and economic stability, Coalinga could find future wealth in marijuana by transforming its vacant state prison into a cannabis oil cultivation and manufacturing operation. Fresno Bee article

Researchers’ idea will blow you away: 656-foot long blades on wind turbines – Efforts to increase wind power mean that turbine blades are getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 656.2 feet long — more than two football fields. Today’s longest blades are 262.5 feet. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Turlock City Council set to decide farmers market proposals’ fate – The Turlock City Council is gearing up for what is expected to be a contentious showdown between two competing farmers market proposals this week. Modesto Bee article 

Intrigue builds in Turlock farmers market flap – Peter Cipponeri, a for-profit contender in the Turlock farmers market bidding heading into Tuesday’s vote before the City Council, has expanded his management résumé. Modesto Bee article

Struggling California desert towns seek tax bonanza with pot farms – With a likely November ballot measure to legalize recreational use in the Golden State, the Riverside County town of Desert Hot Springs is one of at least four economically depressed Southern California cities now banking on a revival by licensing and taxing marijuana cultivation. Sacramento Bee article 

Chinese investors muscling in to Bay Area housing market — The flood of Chinese money into Bay Area housing is coming not just from home buyers. Developers and investors are also building and backing large residential projects here. They mainly want to diversify away from China’s overbuilt market but also serve Chinese buyers wanting a home in the Bay Area. San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento Bee: Let Sacramento’s homeless have their tent city – A collection of tents on a plot a land in some Sacramento neighborhood is not a solution to homelessness. It is an admission that society has failed the thousands of people who have no roof. The notion of a safe ground, flawed though it is, could help and, therefore, it’s worth a try. Sacramento Bee editorial

Fresno company updates package for squash sauté kit – Baloian Farms of Fresno, one of the region’s leading produce suppliers, has added a new look to one of its newer products, the Savory Sauté Squash Kit. Fresno Bee article

Giving from the heart: Sierra Vista dance group gets assist from Stockton is magnificent – Stockton is Magnificent may be a grandiose claim, and for the more cynical, false advertising, but then something comes along that forces the doubters to admit there’s something special going on here. Stockton is Magnificent, launched after Forbes Magazine called out Stockton as the most miserable place to live, is getting ready for its fifth community celebration. Stockton Record article

Jury sides with Hughson couple in fight over $23,000 Turlock Irrigation District bill – “All my life, I tried to be a good person, like my father and my grandparents would teach me,” said Felipe Ruelas. “I worked so hard and I never asked the government for food stamps, health, welfare – nothing. And I never did something wrong.” Jurors recently agreed, ending his 16-month legal battle with the Turlock Irrigation District. Rather than requiring that he pay TID nearly $70,000, jurors declared the district liable for financial elder abuse and directed TID to pay Ruelas $23,231. Modesto Bee article


New snowstorm hits Sierra Nevada as ‘March Miracle’ continues – Several feet of new snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada mountains this weekend as another El Niño-influenced storm moves into Northern California. In what some are calling a “March Miracle,” the Sierra have been hit by a series of powerful storms this month. That’s important because the Sierra snowpack is a key source of water for California, which is in its fourth year of a drought. LA Times article 

Sacramento River flows over weir into Yolo Bypass for first time since 2012 — Water from the rain-swollen Sacramento River began flowing over the Fremont Weir and into the Yolo Bypass on Saturday morning, according to monitors at the California Nevada River Forecast Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Sacramento Bee article


San Francisco selling off spare parts for emergency water system — San Francisco is having a fire sale on spare parts for the city’s 100-year-old emergency water supply system — the network of high-pressure pipes and hydrants designed to help firefighting efforts should city water mains fail in a major earthquake. San Francisco Chronicle article

Bruce Blodgett: Farmers take issues to state reps – The executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau writes, “Each March, the California Farm Bureau Federation brings its members together for a leadership conference in Sacramento. Having just returned from those meetings, it’s safe to say your region was well represented. Members from throughout the county participated on issue-based committee’s that dealt with everything from food safety to land use issues and technology.” Blodgett in Stockton Record

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Lois Henry: Sheriff’s helicopter safety shouldn’t be left up to luck – So, the NTSB recently issued its final report on exactly what caused a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter to crash onto Highway 58 in the middle of the night two years ago. The sheriff’s department prefers calling it a “hard landing.” Uh, no. The pilot was not trying to land on March 27, 2014. In fact, the highway came as a complete surprise to him and everyone else on board. Anyhow, the report is bad. Like, really bad. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Michael Fitzgerald: Officer Stephens’ four shootings – I have spoken to retiring cops who said they never fired their gun in 30 years of service. Or even drew it. Officer Houston Stephens cannot make that claim. The controversial Stephens — he changed his name from Sensabaugh, possibly to avoid notoriety — recently was involved in his fourth shooting in eight years on the force. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

More San Diego Police Department officer leaving despite better pay – The San Diego Police Department is still losing more officers each month than it can replace, despite an increase in benefits last year that officials hoped would reduce departures. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Rape kit backlog: DNA matches suspect to teens’ rape six years later — One minute they were getting into their car on Allston Way in Berkeley just before 10 on an unseasonably warm Friday night. The next, a stranger had a black handgun to their heads. San Francisco Chronicle article


Investigation continues to strain relations among Fresno Unified trustees – Amid a federal investigation of Fresno Unified School District’s construction contracts, tensions continue to grow on the school board as trustees sling accusations at each other. But the board president says trustees need to redirect their attention to what’s important: running the state’s fourth-largest school district. Fresno Bee article

Stanford, UC Berkeley students stage battles to change controversial names on campus — At universities across the country, centuries-old names that adorn buildings, streets and squares are under siege — from Stanford’s Serra Mall to UC Berkeley’s Barrows Hall to Yale’s Calhoun College. San Jose Mercury News article

Multiple sex harassment cases against UC faculty prompt new review process – University of California President Janet Napolitano has announced a new sexual harassment review process for administrative leaders, amid furor over Berkeley’s handling of misconduct claims involving its law school dean. LA Times article 

UC bigwig, bounced in sex-harass scandal, is pulled from new job — A former UC Berkeley vice chancellor who was forced from his job last year following a sex harassment scandal — but kept on by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to serve as an international ambassador for the school’s planned Global Campus in Richmond — has been ordered removed from his new job by University of California President Janet NapolitanoSan Francisco Chronicle article

 Folsom Cordova gun policy unique among large Sacramento area school districts — Folsom Cordova Unified is the only large school district in the four-county Sacramento region known to allow select employees to bring a gun onto campus, based on a Sacramento Bee review this week of local policies. Sacramento Bee article


Inland residents dismayed by air board’s softer stance on pollution rules – Last week, the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s board fired its longtime leader, seen as receptive to the concerns of environmentalists, and reaffirmed smog rules backed by polluters. Some new board members have also been talking of putting more emphasis on the needs of business. Inland Empire environmental advocates, many of whom have fought to curb pollution for years, are frustrated by the decisions. LA Times article 

Gas company finishes cleaning Porter Ranch parks as fallout from leak continues — Southern California Gas Co. said Saturday that it has completed the cleaning of four public parks in Porter Ranch after residents complained about oily residue found on playground equipment. LA Times article

New Pacific fishing approach could protect whales, dolphins, turtles — At a Friday meeting in Sacramento, the Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to begin a process authorizing fishing gear that may make drift gillnet use for the hunting of swordfish a thing of the past in California. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Retiring Sacramento County aging chief says growing senior population poses big challenges – When Debra Morrow took a job in late 1998 to manage services for elderly and dependent adults in Sacramento County, she had 200 employees and an annual budget of $26 million to serve a senior population of 130,000. By the time she retired March 4, the county’s Division of Senior and Adult Services had 322 employees and an annual budget of $35 million – and the senior population had grown to over 200,000. Sacramento Bee article 

UC Davis research touts synapse health to avoid brain function decline — Most everyone of a certain age has had that moment where a forgotten name or set of misplaced keys prompts the question, “Is this the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease?” It’s a logical question and one that UC Davis neurology professor John Morrison discussed Saturday at a presentation on the aging brain at the Center for Neuroscience in Davis. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Fresno Bee: Citizens have a right to expect transparency in government – There are elected representatives (and their appointed officials) who don’t want the public knowing what they’ve done, what they are planning to do or how those tax dollars are spent. This failure to commit to full transparency is why we have Sunshine Week, which is a national effort promoting open government and freedom of information. Fresno Bee editorial

Mountain West Men’s Championship: Fresno State beats San Diego State to earn NCAA berth – They won, 68-63, a victory that will have them in the Tournament, with a big T, for the first time since 2001 and touched off waves of emotion for coach Rodney Terry and the Bulldogs.  Fresno Bee article

Basile’s last-second 3 puts CSU Bakersfield in NCAA Tournament – Dedrick Basile became Rod Barnes’ most crucial recruit in Cal State Bakersfield’s Division I history. Basile’s 3-pointer from the left wing with two-tenths of a second Saturday night at Orleans Arena left lifted the Roadrunners to a 57-54 win over New Mexico State and gave CSUB its first trip to the Division I NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball. Bakersfield Californian article

Mike Klocke: Getting random on water, sports and much more – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning. Klocke in Stockton Record

LA County coroner’s office workloads could threaten accreditation, sources say — The embattled Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner met all accreditation standards at the time of its last annual review in August, but showed some signs of potential problems because of a staffing shortage, according to the president of the National Assn. of Medical Examiners. LA Times article

Fresno architect remembered for his futuristic City Hall design, historical preservation — Fresno architect William “Bill” Patnaude died Friday at age 78, leaving behind an indelible footprint on the city and its architecture, both past and future. Fresno Bee article

 Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – There are elected representatives (and their appointed officials) who don’t want the public knowing what they’ve done, what they are planning to do or how those tax dollars are spent. This failure to commit to full transparency is why we have Sunshine Week, which is a national effort promoting open government and freedom of information.

Sacramento Bee – A collection of tents on a plot a land in some Sacramento neighborhood is not a solution to homelessness. It is an admission that society has failed the thousands of people who have no roof. The notion of a safe ground, flawed though it is, could help and, therefore, it’s worth a try.

Maddy Events

Sunday, March 13, at 5 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “The Governor’s 2016 Budget: Sunny Today, Rain Tomorrow?”  Guest: Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Fred Silva, fiscal policy analyst with California Forward. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, March 13, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Governor Brown’s 2016 Budget: What It May Mean for the Valley” – Guests: Fresno Bee opinion page editor Bill McEwen and Fresno State political science professor Jeff Cummins. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, March 20, at 7 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV)– El Informe Maddy Report: “El Nino and the Drought” – Guest: Alvar Escriva-Bou, an analyst with the Public Policy Institute of California. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Deputy Director Ana Melendez.

The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel.  Check to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area.  You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at

Community Events

  • Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and other university officials will participate in a Community Conversation at the Reedley College Student Center in Reedley on April 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Seating for this free event is limited, so RSVPs should be made by Tuesday, April 5, at using the code “Reedleyforum.
  • The 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit will be held at Bitwise South Stadium in Fresno on Thursday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration launches March 1.  More information: Jenna Chilingerian at


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 challenge — The 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 at 

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

More Information

Please visit if you want to view the Maddy Daily with our comprehensive list of links to all federal, state and local government, public affairs institutes/regional entities, Valley media and public policy blogs. (Please note new website address.)

 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.

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 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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