California’s next governor: Who’s running, who’s on the fence? – Welcome to your guide to the 2018 California governor’s race. The election may be far away, but listening tours are already underway, political consultants are doling out advice and pundits are handicapping favorites and wildcards. Here are the players to keep an eye on, including Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Fresno Bee article
California watchdog considers role that would curb secret lobbying at Capitol – California regulators are considering a plan to curb secret lobbying at the state Capitol. The Fair Political Practices Commission plans to vote Thursday on narrowing a regulation that allows people to avoid identifying themselves as lobbyists by attending Capitol meetings as experts. They comply with current rules by working alongside lobbyists who are properly registered. AP article
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
Bakersfield Californian: Scrap worthless, nonsense ballot measure — Give us a break! California’s November general election ballot is expected to be big enough to choke a horse. And along comes legislators who want to clog it up even more with a worthless “advisory” measure. Bakersfield Californian editorial
Silicon Valley fears European backlash after Congress limits visa waiver program – After the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Congress amended the program so that those with dual citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria, as well as people who have traveled to those countries in the last five years, had to apply for a visa. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced further restrictions for those who have recently traveled to Libya, Somalia and Yemen. LA Times article
Cuban Americans are divided on immigration policy — This year, immigration is particularly personal for some members of the Caso family and the Cuban American community, especially since two Cuban American presidential candidates — Rubio and Ted Cruz — have tried to outdo each other by taking an increasingly harder line on immigration. LA Times article
Sunshine Week: Many state legislatures exempt themselves from record laws — State capitols often are referred to as “the people’s house,” but legislatures frequently put up no-trespassing signs by exempting themselves from public-records laws. That tendency was apparent when The Associated Press sought emails and daily schedules of legislative leaders in all 50 states. The request was met with more denials than approvals. AP article
George Skelton: Tobacco tragedy prompts support of anti-smoking legislation — State Sen. Jeff Stone remembers vividly where he was when he heard that pop singer Nat King Cole had died. He was on the Santa Ana Freeway in the back seat of his mother’s car, headed from Anaheim to Los Angeles to visit his grandparents. It was Feb. 15, 1965, and he was 9. Skelton column in LA Times
Dan Walters: Accidental politician faces test – They are out to get Patty Lopez, a first-term Democratic assemblywoman. “They” is a tightly knit group of professional Latino politicians who’ve dominated the northeastern corner of Southern California’s San Fernando Valley for years, helping each other climb the political ladder. Walters column in Sacramento Bee
John Diaz: California primary may yet count – This might be the rare moment in the past four decades when the California primary looms large in at least one, and perhaps two, of the major-party nominations. The big variable is what happens in other primaries, starting Tuesday. Diaz in San Francisco Chronicle
Cathleen Decker: For Donald Trump, protests create a short-term benefit and a long-term threat – A flammable brew of populist anger, a candidate’s provocative remarks and disruptive protesters found a fuse, and the result, at what was to be aDonald Trump event in Chicago this weekend, was an explosion that continued to reverberate through the presidential campaign Saturday. In a contest that has had far more than its share of drama, the question is: What happens next? Decker in LA Times
California Government Today:
Justice Department funds effort to reform municipal practices in levying fines — The Justice Department on Monday pledged $2.5 million to help state judges and court administrators ensure their systems for levying fines and fees do not violate the rights of poor defendants. LA Times article
State’s biggest reservoir, Shasta, rises to key milestone – Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in California and a critical source of water for Central Valley farms and cities from the Bay Area to Bakersfield, reached 100 percent of its historic average Sunday as billions of gallons continued to pour in from drenching downpours. San Jose Mercury News article
Modesto weighs giving nonprofit $900,000 – Modesto officials will consider Monday a new approach for investing in the city’s neighborhoods that calls for the city to give $900,000 over four years to a nonprofit that would use the money to teach residents how to organize and solve their problems while working with the city. Modesto Bee article
Jobs and the Economy
Sale of tax-defaulted properties permit before Tulare County supervisors — As many as 171 tax-defaulted properties around the county may be offered up for sale during an Internet auction over the summer if the Board of Supervisors grant a request from the tax collector’s office. Visalia Times-Delta article
Stockton ready to launch action plan — Two years after the launch of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and a year after local community leaders accepted the challenge, Stockton is launching an action plan designed to improve the lives of men and boys of color. Stockton Record article
Sacramento councilman considers portable toilets for homeless — Some days, as many as 20 tents sit near this street corner within view of the downtown skyline. Out of this mess has come a proposal for a new tool in the city’s struggle to address the public health impact of homelessness: two flush toilets on an elevated trailer, monitored by paid attendants and equipped with garbage bins to hold pet waste and used needles. The cost to taxpayers: up to $15,000 a month. Sacramento Bee article
Yolo County struggles to balance farm tourism with farming — Call it a battle of crop dusters vs. crudités. A new business sector has sprung up in rural Yolo County – event centers and bed-and-breakfasts for tourists drawn to the county’s farm-to-fork ethos. These facilities are causing consternation among some of the county’s old-line farmers, who point out that most farming in Yolo is still done on an industrial scale. Sacramento Bee article
Why ‘dynamic’ pricing based on real-time supply and demand is rapidly spreading – The ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft charge higher rates Saturday nights and at other peak times of demand. Sellers on Amazon.com and other e-commerce sites are using dynamic pricing more and more to match their inventories with demand. Prices of toll lanes on Southern California freeways move up and down in tandem with traffic. LA Times article
UC president’s pension cap has lower supplement– UC President Janet Napolitano’s proposal last week to cap pensions for new hires, part of a deal with Gov. Brown, has a less generous 401(k)-style supplement than a task force proposal to help attract top faculty. Calpensions article
Sky-high view of the not-too-distant future of outdoor recreation – Flying over the boundary of Yosemite National Park, the view from 10,500 feet spanned east across 30 miles of snow, ice and rock to the Sierra Crest. The west-facing flank was side-loaded with massive slabs of snow up as far as you could see. Frozen lakes looked like giant skating rinks. San Francisco Chronicle article
Jack Hawks: Now’s the time for the state to formulate a drought emergency exit plan – The executive director of the California Water Association writes, “California’s investor-owned water utilities are committed to conservation both during this drought emergency and beyond, and our customers have performed admirably. Developing a timely plan, regardless of the weather, will acknowledge the severe costs of this drought emergency to both water providers and customers, and will help avoid both an erosion of public trust and decreased motivation to conserve, which is sure to happen if the El Niño storms return.” Hawks op-ed in Bakersfield Californian
Turlock Irrigation District could affirm higher water allotment – A vote Tuesday could affirm plans to provide 36 inches of water in the Turlock Irrigation District this year – twice what farmers got in 2015 but still not back to normal. Modesto Bee article
Catching storm runoff could ease drought, but it’s no quick fix – The Oakland-based Pacific Institute estimatesthat rainfall captured in the San Francisco Bay Area and metro Southern California could, in a strong year, provide enough water to supply the entire city of Los Angeles. Most of that usually runs out to the ocean. But concerns about the state’s water supply, heightened by drought conditions, are one obvious reason that’s changing. KQED report
Pesticide use down statewide in 2014, but up in San Joaquin County – Pesticide use throughout California declined by 3 percent in 2014, but in San Joaquin County where the $3.2 billion agriculture industry depends on chemicals to combat crop pests and diseases, applications rose 10 percent the same years, state officials reported Thursday. Stockton Record article
Don Curlee: Popular chemical in the crosshairs – The regulators are at it again, intending to restrict the use of the popular and virtually non-toxic weed killer glyphosate, widely known by its patented name, Roundup. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta
Preventing flooding, capturing groundwater a balancing act — More than a month ago, the Merced Sun-Star published a letter to the editor that asked questions about some creeks and basins near Highway 99. The letter referred to Owens Creek, Mariposa Creek, Deadman’s Creek and Duck Slough in the Plainsburg area. It was early February after many heavy January storms, but the basins near the highway were empty. Even so, the letter writer noted, water from the creeks flowed under the highway and eventually out to sea. Merced Sun-Star article
Beverly Hills’ crackdown on water wasters is having the desired effect — It appears the crackdown is working. The city cut its water usage by 26% in January — its highest percentage in eight months of reporting and more than double its effort in December. LA Times article
Marching forward in Cutler-Orosi — Rain didn’t stop protesters who were determined to send a message to Tulare County gang members on Sunday. Visalia Times-Delta article
At California campuses, a test for free speech, privacy and security – A controversy over a secretly installed data monitoring system is simmering at university campuses across California. Last summer, hackers broke into the computer network at the UCLA medical center. A few months later, the University of California system’s president quietly ordered a new security system to monitor Internet traffic on all UC campuses. NPR report
Superintendents, but not teachers, give high scores to Common Core rollout — Most California teachers, principals and superintendents view the Common Core as more rigorous and more relevant to students than the previous state standards, but disagree over how well the Common Core has been implemented, researchers from the nonprofit education agency WestEd have concluded. EdSource article
Ask TBC: Cantu’s contract said he was credentialed. Can someone sue? — William Gould, an emeritus professor of law at Stanford University and a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, said the document was flawed and did pose a breach of contract. Bakersfield Californian article
UC Davis newspaper will return to print; students backed fee — Two years after the California Aggie went out of print, UC Davis’ campus newspaper appears poised to return to news racks this fall. Student voters narrowly approved a new fee last month that would subsidize the paper’s operations. Sacramento Bee article
U.S. hospitals try strategies to counter rising drug prices – A recent Bloomberg Business survey of about 3,000 brand-name prescription drugs found that prices had more than doubled for 60 medications since December 2014 and at least quadrupled for 20. It found that prices for many other drugs continued to rise at 10 percent or more annually, particularly as competition waned or patents neared expiration. Washington Post article
Syphilis cases growing exponentially in Fresno County — Fresno County syphilis cases are soaring – even though the sexually transmitted disease was nearly nonexistent here six years ago – which has led county health officials to seek help from state and federal officials. Fresno Bee article
Prediabetes a growing epidemic, officials say – San Joaquin County’s diabetes and prediabetes crisis is at the point where the county needs to hire a full-time diabetes coordinator to address the growing problems associated with the life-threatening condition, a leading advocate from Stockton says. Stockton Record article
Tulare County faces diabetes ‘tsunami’ — A report released Thursday reinforces what many already know about the rising tide of diabetes in California –– we have a problem. Visalia Times-Delta article
House calls for the homeless: San Francisco shelter comes with medical care — Timothy Blevins couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen a doctor. Three years of living hand-to-mouth in a tent, hobbling with a walker and scrabbling each day for food or just another place to set down his bags made the idea of going to appointments a cruel joke. San Francisco Chronicle article
Steve Flores: ‘Campout’ and ‘Relay’ fit hand in glove — Hand in glove. That’s how I answer the question regarding the relationship between the Kern County Cancer Fund and the American Cancer Society. We are one of very few cities in the United States to be fortunate enough to have two high-profile, cancer-related organizations in our community dedicated to helping cancer patients. Flores column in Bakersfield Californian
Volunteers wanted: California will study pay-by-mile road fee — The state of California is looking for 5,000 volunteers this summer for an experiment with potentially major pocketbook ramifications. It’s called the “California Road Charge pilot program,” a concept that will scare some people, and likely cause others to say it’s about time. Sacramento Bee article
A man who’s building the hyperloop claims it’s going to be cheaper than riding the subway – There are several companies vying to build the future of transportation, but Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn isn’t afraid to make bold claims about what it will look like. San Francisco Chronicle article
Pelandale bridge over Highway 99 reopens — City officials have reopened the Pelandale Avenue bridge spanning Highway 99 in north Modesto and a nearby stretch of Salida Boulevard after closing them for more than a week because a water main had failed and washed away dirt under the road. Modesto Bee article
Sacramento RT faces critical year for ridership, revenue — Hit hard nearly a decade ago by the recession, Sacramento Regional Transit has never quite recovered financially. Now, the county’s main bus and light rail agency faces a reckoning. The board of directors on Monday will consider raising fares 20 percent in increments over a year to balance its budget. Sacramento Bee article
Kern Turns 150: Ode to Bakersfield’s ‘Sun, Fun, Stay, Play’ signs — Ah, for the days of the old “Sun, Fun, Stay, Play” signs that stood at the north and south ends of the city for 17 years. The first one was unveiled exactly 50 years ago this past week. Bakersfield Californian article
Valley Editorial Roundup
Bakersfield Californian – Give us a break! California’s November general election ballot is expected to be big enough to choke a horse. And along comes legislators who want to clog it up even more with a worthless “advisory” measure.
Fresno Bee – California’s best tool for ending opioid abuse is underused.
Sacramento Bee – California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye spoke to The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board last week. Here’s some of the discussion, edited and condensed.
Sunday, March 20, at 5 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “El Nino and the Drought” – Guests: Rachel Ehlers, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Alvar Escriva-Bou, an analyst with the Public Policy Institute of California. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.
Sunday, March 20, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “” – 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 http://www.calchannel.com to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area. You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at http://www.maddyinstitute.org/policy-analysis/the-maddy-report-tv.
- 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 www.fresnostate.edu/presidentrsvp 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 email@example.com.
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 www.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/
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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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