March 24, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

AD 31: Hopefuls debate high-speed rail, water, roads – The contenders in a special election for the 31st Assembly District squared off Wednesday afternoon in a debate to clarify their positions on high-speed rail, water, education, the California economy, health care and other hot-button issues. Fresno Bee article 

Donald Trump has big lead in California GOP primary, poll says – GOP outsider Donald Trump holds a double-digit lead in California’s June 7 presidential primary, backed by an angry Republican electorate looking for dramatic changes in the way the state and the country are run, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of CaliforniaSan Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee articleKQED report

State budget

Summit pushes Legislature to advance workforce training ideas in this year’s budget – California Economic Summit leaders have been invited to testify in budget committee hearings in March and April, where they will encourage lawmakers to make these investments in career technical education – and, just as important, allocate these funds across regional economies and industry clusters, instead of diffusing them among all community colleges.  California Economic Summit report

Gov. Brown 

Joel Fox: Gov. Brown seeks another initiative qualifying miracle — Even with friends in important places, Gov. Jerry Brown is going to have a hard time qualifying his proposed prison reform measure for the ballot. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Valley politics

Poochigian endorses Ott for her Fresno County supervisor post — Out of the starting gate in the District 5 Fresno County supervisor race, Nathan Magsig had two key advantages – good name identification and a hefty campaign bank account, both courtesy of his current elected position on the Clovis City Council. Now, Clovis businessman Alex Ott, another hopeful for the seat, has a political boost of his own – the backing of the current supervisor. Fresno Bee article

Merced County planning for high voter turnout – In anticipation of a highly contested primary, Merced County Registrar of Voters Office is beginning to plan to staff more workers in the office and at the polls on Election Day. The office has also had to look at which precincts have the most registered voters, so staff can decide where to focus resources like booths and counting machines. AP/Merced Sun-Star article

Tulare County fixing error in cards for voters — Officials with the Tulare County Elections Office will mail out new Declaration of Political Party Choice cards to some county voters after an error was discovered on cards mailed out in the last week. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Democrats lead the pack in U.S. Senate race, but many voters remain undecided – With just over three months to go before the state’s June primary election, Democrats Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana have more voter support than their Republican rivals in the race for U.S. Senate, according to a new poll by thePublic Policy Institute of California. LA Times article

Bakersfield Californian: Vote Yes: Prop 50 targets corrupt legislators – Too often the Legislature structures its rules to shield members from the consequences of their actions. Basically, legislators are allowed to operate under a different set of rules than the rest of us. This is wrong. It endangers the very fabric of our government. Proposition 50 is a step toward protecting California citizens from corrupt elected officials. Bakersfield Californian editorial

VIDEO: What can California learn from high voter turnout states? — At this year’s annual Future of California Elections conference, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins joined California’s Alex Padilla to talk about how their states are attacking the voter participation issue. Both Oregon and Colorado are states that boast high voter turnout and have made moves that make it easier to both register and vote. What’s been called the “Colorado model” of elections has also been shown to save the state time and moneyCA Fwd report


New home and restaurant concealed drug tunnel at U.S.-Mexico border, officials say – A cross-border drug tunnel connecting a Mexican restaurant in Mexicali to a house in Calexico was seized Wednesday morning, federal officials said. LA Times articleAP article

San Bernardino Shootings

Why few hackers are lining up to help FBI crack iPhone encryption – Finding a solution to such a high-profile problem would be a major feat — with publicity, job offers and a big payday on the line. But, in fact, the specialists at DriveSavers are among only a few U.S. hackers trying to solve it. Wary of the stigma of working with the FBI, many established hackers, who can be paid handsomely by tech firms for identifying flaws, say assisting the investigation would violate their industry’s core principles. LA Times article

Is the Israeli firm Cellebrite helping the FBI crack San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone? — The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, citing sources, said on Wednesday that Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensics firm, was assisting the FBI. The company declined to comment on the report, according to Reuters. Federal officials said they won’t provide details about who is helping. LA Times articleSan Francisco chronicle article

Other areas

Republican blast Democratic plan to earmark funds for potential LA Olympics – A proposal by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) to provide up to $250 million in financial guarantees as part of Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics drew strong opposition Wednesday from Republicans. LA Times article (scroll to article) 

California Assembly speaker names top election target – An East Bay Assembly district that hosted a bitter intra-Democrat battle last cycle ranks at the top of the party’s 2016 election target list, according to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount. In a press release, Rendon called the 16th Assembly District “the top pick-up opportunity for Democrats in the Assembly” and pledged to give Democrat and former Pleasanton City Council member Cheryl Cook-Kallio “all the support she needs” to defeat incumbentAssemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin. Sacramento Bee article

Cathleen Decker: Why winning California’s presidential primary won’t be easy for Bernie Sanders – e Democratic presidential campaign arrived in California this week with a dynamic unaltered by the long battle through the South and Midwest:Bernie Sanders wins states that are predominantly white, and Hillary Clinton’s odds of victory escalate as states grow more diverse. That suggests a difficult road ahead for Sanders in the nation’s largest state, where women and minorities — the groups among which Clinton is most powerful — dominate Democratic contests. Decker in LA Times

Sanders on California primary: ‘You’re going to see me here more than you feel comfortable with’ – Voters preparing for the June 7 California primary shouldn’t expect to see endless television campaign ads from Sen. Bernie Sanders for the next two and a half months. Sanders said Wednesday during a visit to Los Angeles that instead he is counting on a ground game of liberal organizations — including the labor and environmental movements — to help him continue to attract large crowds and, he hopes, generate momentum. LA Times article

Sanders rocks the LA faithful – Stephanie Rosales paused and placed her hand over the crinkled sign adorning her shirt of a red heart outlining the name “Bernie” when asked whether she would vote this fall if Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. LA Times article

Cathleen Decker: Torture or steadiness? Terrorism again collides with 2016 campaign – Terrorism roared into the presidential campaign again on Tuesday, dividing it familiarly: Donald Trump played to fear, a trailing Republican candidate tried to out-Trump Trump, and the rest of the field offered proposals that were sober and yet unlikely to make Americans feel safe as chaos played out on their television screens. Decker in LA Times

Disney threatens to stop filming in Georgia if anti-gay bill becomes law — Delivering a potentially serious blow to one of the fastest growing production hubs in the country, Walt Disney Co. is threatening to no longer film in the state of Georgia if an anti-gay bill is signed into law there. The Free Exercise Protection Act is on the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal, who must sign or veto it by May 3. LA Times article

Sacramento mayor’s office declines to comment on settlement – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office declined to comment Wednesday on an alleged private settlement reached between Johnson and a city employee who accused him of sexual harassment. Sacramento Bee article

Marcos Breton: Devastating details but no smoking guns in HBO’s Kevin Johnson expose — An HBO report about long-standing sexual allegations against Mayor Kevin Johnson offered a few new details but no smoking guns. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

NFL is funding campaigns of lawmakers reviewing concussion issue – The NFL’s political action committee has given nearly $300,000 in campaign contributions to 41 of 54 members of a key congressional committee that is reviewing concussion research, according to figures compiled by a Berkeley-based group. San Jose Mercury News article 

Sacramento Count registrar acknowledges problems in elections office — In their first extended remarks since the release of a critical report, Registrar Jill LaVine and her boss said Wednesday that they’re committed to fixing problems in the Sacramento County elections office. Sacramento Bee article 

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner testifies he didn’t sexually harass anyone — Former Mayor Bob Filner maintained on the witness stand Wednesday that he had not sexually harassed anyone while leading the city of San Diego, nor could he recall an encounter with a woman whose lawsuit alleges he put her in a chokehold. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Jeff Jardine: Pot of gold or trouble? Pros and cons of marijuana draw crowd — You can be all for legalizing marijuana for so-called recreational use. Or you can be adamantly against it. What Tuesday night’s Bee-staged marijuana forum at the Gallo Center addressed most starkly is this: Marijuana has been a crop in California, legal or illegal, for a century and legal for medicinal use for the past 19 years. It is everywhere you go. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

California crime on the rise – After a decades-long decline in violent and property crime, early indications from cities across California point to a significant increase in lawbreaking. In California’s 68 largest cities, violent crime jumped 11 percent in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Among major U.S. cities, three California cities saw the largest increase in property crime in the country.  CALmatters article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto ends budget year with $4.9 million – The city has closed the books on its most recent general fund budget with a roughly $5 million surplus. City officials updated the City Council and public Tuesday night on the final results from the 2014-15 general fund budget, which ended June 30. The fund makes up about a third of the city’s operating budget and primarily pays for public safety. Modesto Bee article

Kern summit offers tools for bridging the new generation gap — The surest sign organizers of Wednesday’s Kern County Economic Summit chose an apt theme for this year’s event came when the keynote speaker asked audience members to engage in a bit of word association, then flashed two words on his presentation screen: “Today’s Generations.” Bakersfield Californian articleVideo: ‘5 takeaways from the Kern County Economic Summit’ in Bakersfield Californian 

Farmers market fight in Turlock could yield two events – An emotional fight over who will run Turlock’s farmers market is not yet over, despite a City Council vote to award the contract to the single remaining bidder. Modesto Bee article

Will disabled placard abuse undermine Sacramento city parking plan? — Illegal use of disabled placards, considered rampant in downtown Sacramento, could hamper the city’s efforts to modernize its downtown parking programs, several city officials said this week. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto Oks budget review panel – The Modesto City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Mayor Ted Brandvold’s request to form a committee to conduct a 100-day review of the city budget. Modesto Bee article 

Ethnic grocery stores on the rise – As Fresno’s population continues to becomes more diverse, the number of ethnic grocery stores in the area is also growing. Fresno Bee article

Chargers want hotel tax hike for $1.8 billion ‘convadium’ — The Chargers will ask San Diego voters in November to raise taxes on hotel stays to 16.5 percent from today’s 12.5 percent rate to help build a $1.8 billion hybrid stadium and convention center next to Petco Park downtown, said sources close to the team’s negotiations with lawyers, bankers and the hotel industry. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Viva Las Vegas for Raiders? – With all the criticism the NFL has taken about its stance on gambling and daily fantasy sports, perhaps the last place a team might land is Las Vegas. Yet one team, the Oakland Raiders, said it was still looking for ways to move to Las Vegas,even if many of the owners gathered here for their annual meeting sent word that they considered the idea a nonstarter. New York Times article

Tulare considers water, sewer rate increases – Tulare’s water and sewer rates will likely increase. The rates’ increase is needed to raise money for much-delayed maintenance projects and upcoming infrastructure developments, officials said. Visalia Times-Delta article

If your tax refund is delayed, here’s why – In California, the war on tax fraud is delaying some refunds. Most state income tax refunds “are arriving within 12 business days for taxpayers who file electronically and request direct deposit,” the Franchise Tax Board said Wednesday. “However, some refunds can take significantly longer as (the agency) joins a nationwide effort to protect taxpayers’ money by preventing fraud, tax theft and other abusive practices.” San Francisco Chronicle article 

Sacramento Bee: More bureaucracy isn’t a solution for homelessness – Adding a county director of homeless initiatives could complicate things even further, when the real need is to untangle this mess. If supervisors are going to create this job, they also should define, once and for all, who is in charge of homeless initiatives in Sacramento. We need to know. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Thrift store gets a ReNewed purpose — In an effort to better serve those in need, Lemoore Christian Aid and the popular ReNewed thrift store are strengthening their partnership. Hanford Sentinel article 

Riverbank’s Del Rio Theater sells for $175,000 — The iconic Del Rio Theater – a once proud building whose prior ownership transaction brought embarrassment to city leaders – has been purchased by a Turlock businessman with a vision for a restaurant and catering business. Modesto Bee article 

Discount grocery chain Aldi opens first eight Southern California stores — Discount German grocer Aldi is opening eight Southern California stores on Thursday, the first of 45 stores coming to the region this year. LA Times article


Largest California reservoirs releasing water for flood safety – California’s two largest reservoirs are releasing water for flood-control safety, a sign of how much rain and snow has fallen this winter even though the drought isn’t over. Sacramento Bee article

Will El Nino’s water bounty in Northern California provide for dry southern cities? — The so-called March Miracle has unleashed the largest allocation of water from Northern California in four years, more than doubling the flow of imported water from the State Water Project into Central and Southern California. San Jose Mercury News article 

Almond market plummets, looks to recover – A larger than expected almond crop and soft global demand have sent the California nut industry into a tailspin, with prices falling by more than half and unsold nuts mounting in processors’ warehouses. But industry experts said this week that prices have leveled off and the relative bargains are drawing buyers back. Stockton Record article 

John Michelena: As prices fall, farmers don’t need government’s ‘help’ – The West Side grower writes, “Farmers don’t need to be micromanaged by bureaucrats. Our state already has the toughest regulations governing air, water, labor and pesticides. Stanislaus County is also proposing increased fees for hazardous materials and wells. Government should move aside and let us conduct our business.” Michelena column in Modesto Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

You may be in California’s gang database and not even know it — Aside from a 2013 law that established a way for parents and juveniles to challenge a child’s inclusion in the database, most people can’t find out whether they are in CalGang. An effort to create a similar process for adults failed last year amid heavy lobbying by law enforcement agencies, which use the data to build files and bring charges against people based on their alleged gang ties. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Police fatally shoot man in central Fresno – Fresno police shot and killed a man who reached for a gun from his waistband in a commercial area along Blackstone Avenue in central Fresno on Wednesday afternoon, Chief Jerry Dyer said. Fresno Bee article

Authorities: Discovery of Debbie Hawk’s remains strengthens conviction of ex-husband — It was a moment of drama when Sheriff Dave Robinson announced Wednesday at a packed news conference that the skeletal remains of Debbie Hawk, who went missing almost 10 years ago, had finally been found.  Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleHanford Sentinel articleLA Times article

LA to pay nearly $6.9 million in relation to police shooting that left man paralyzed — The Los Angeles City Council approved paying nearly $6.9 million Wednesday in a lawsuit brought by a man who was shot by police while fleeing a drive-by shooting — a hotly contested case that city attorneys had unsuccessfully appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. LA Times article 

After Baca guilty plea, focus of LA jail corruption case now turns to trial of his top aide — The criminal trial of Paul Tanaka, a once powerful figure in Los Angeles policing, is set to open with the former undersheriff facing charges he deliberately thwarted an FBI investigation into jail abuses. LA Times article


UC softens controversial ‘principles against intolerance’ — The University of California is poised to adopt a statement of “principles against intolerance” condemning “anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination” on its campuses, but not before toning down language referencing Israel that mired the policy in controversy. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

LAO proposes full-day preschool for all low-income working families – The state should require all its preschool and transitional kindergarten providers to offer, at a minimum, part-day programs to all low-income families, with full-day programs available for all low-income families with working parents, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office is advising. EdSource article 

Corinthian Colleges must pay nearly $1.2 billion for false advertising and lending practices – California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris won a more than $1.1-billion judgment Wednesday against the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges, after a San Francisco judge ruled that the company’s advertising practices misled students and violated the law. LA Times article 

Fresno State issues ‘ransomware’ email warning — Email users at California State University, Fresno are being warned that the community is receiving “ransomware” emails which can cause computers and other electronic devices to lock up until the sender receives a payment. Fresno Bee article

Gerald Cantu: Students need Kern schools to continue shift away from zero tolerance – The Education Program Associate at the Dolores Huerta Foundation and adjunct professor of philosophy at Bakersfield College writes, “The community must remain engaged to ensure that KHSD reverses these trends by faithfully implementing PBIS and restorative justice and creating a school climate that dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline. Whether school climate improves in 2015-16 is yet to be seen, but the outcome will depend in large part on the quality of KHSD’s implementation. What is certain is that the community will need to continue monitoring the implementation of the new discipline policies and advocating for changes.” Cantu op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Program allows Merced students to experience Yosemite, many for the first time – Rivera Elementary School fourth-graders on Wednesday made up the final group of 1,400 Merced students to visit Yosemite National Park and learn about the park’s resources and wildlife from UC Merced student rangers. Merced Sun-Star article 

Sexual harassment cases tarnish Berkeley’s image as a center of social activism – For decades, the University of California, Berkeley, has been synonymous with liberal activism and social justice campaigns. But students, alumni and staff members say they have a hard time squaring that image with a spate of high-profile sexual harassment cases roiling the campus. New York Times article

Melissa Murray steps in as interim dean of UC Berkeley Law School amid sexual-harassment scandal — Melissa Murray, a widely respected member of the UC Berkeley Law School faculty, has agreed to serve as interim dean as the university deals with the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal involving the former dean. LA Times article

Professors’ group says efforts to halt sexual harassment have stifled speech – The growing federal emphasis on combating sexual harassment on campus, along with universities’ broadening definitions of inappropriate sexual behavior, has had a chilling effect on academic freedom and speech, especially on female professors in areas like gender studies, a report released Thursday by the American Association of University Professors said. New York Times article

New law allowing guns on campus roils University of Texas — The so-called campus-carry law passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature last year was a victory for gun rights advocates who say it will make campuses safer. But in the largely liberal setting of academia, it has spurred a movement of protesters who worry that it will make schools more dangerous, hurt recruitment of faculty and students and create an atmosphere of fear that even affects how professors issue grades. LA Times article


CalPERS makes big solar investment — CalPERS said Wednesday that it’s buying a significant stake in a solar energy company with operations near Palm Springs. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System said it has agreed to buy up to 25 percent of Desert Sunlight Investment Holdings, which owns two big solar generation facilities near Palm Springs. Sacramento Bee article

Port of LA helped pay for cleaner China Shipping vessels – which later stopped docking in LA – The Port of Los Angeles paid a Chinese government-owned shipping company $5 million in 2005 to equip cargo vessels to plug into electric shore power while at dock to keep their massive diesel engines from polluting neighborhoods near the harbor. LA Times article 

Hilda Solis and state Sen. Connie Leyva: Put state air board’s testing lab in Pomona – LA County Supervisor and Leyva (D-Chino) write, “While we support and applaud the state’s $360 million investment to upgrade and relocate the El Monte facility, we believe strongly that the lab and its 400 jobs should remain in the Pomona area.” Solis/Leyva op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Health/Human Services 

Anthem to contract with Community Medical Centers and Adventist Health — Community Medical Centers and Adventist Health said this week their joint venture health-care network intends to contract with Anthem Inc. to provide managed care for Medi-Cal patients in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Court refuses to block Berkeley law requiring cell phone warnings – A federal appeals court denied a request Wednesday by cell phone companies to halt enforcement of a Berkeley ordinance requiring retailers to tell customers that carrying switched-on phones next to their bodies might expose them to radiation levels above federal guidelines. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Opponents of Measure H raise concerns – As Kaweah Delta officials work to pass a general obligation bond for $327 million, opponents of Measure H have raised some questions. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Sutter Health to become majority owner of Stanislaus Surgical Hospital in Modesto – Sacramento-based Sutter Health said it has signed an agreement to become majority owner of Stanislaus Surgical Hospital in Modesto. The agreement will be effective April 1, according to a news release issued Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

NFL’s concussion research deeply flawed – An investigation by The New York Times has found that the N.F.L.’s concussion research was far more flawed than previously known. New York Times article 

‘You’re not alone’: Easing the stigma of mental illness – The stigma and fear of being different when it comes to dealing with mental health issues can be a scary topic for young children to deal with. Hundreds of August Knodt Elementary School students learned on Wednesday to not be afraid to ask for help. Stockton Record article

Robotic housekeeper disinfects the rooms at Modesto hospital – A housekeeping robot at a Modesto hospital is zapping the antibiotic-resistant superbugs that can threaten the lives of patients. The robot, named “Germinator,” kills methicillin-resistant staph aureus, or MRSA, stops the norovirus and even is capable of killing Ebola, the manufacturer says. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramento Bee:  The price of dying is going up — The pharma industry should take notice. Companies may make a quick buck from raising drug prices, but eventually it can cost them, big time. Sacramento Bee editorial

Dan Morain: Yolo County supervisor’s story forces a hard look at foster care – Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad is an Iraq War veteran, a Marine, and a no-nonsense political consultant who works to elect Republicans. And his voice cracks when he talks about the little boy he came to call Bonus Baby. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Dena Murphy: Social workers light a path when things look the darkest – The director of Human Services for Kern County writes, “Kern County has more than 600 social workers and U.S. as a whole has 600,000. The occupation is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It bears noting, especially this month, which is National Social Workers Month, that each day social workers help people overcome challenges so they can live more fulfilling lives.” Murphy op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

‘In America, we raise our criminals at home’ — Childhood trauma and exposure to abuse and addiction have an impact on domestic violence, Casey Gwinn said. Stockton Record article

Land Use/Housing

Rosalina Carson and Rosalba Cardenas: Why we are suing Fresno – The residents of the Jane Addams School neighborhood in Fresno and members of Familias Addams Por Un Mejor Futuro write, “As The Bee accurately reported, we are suing the city because it has failed to identify land for affordable housing, denying residents an opportunity for better housing. The city failed to rezone 700 acres of land for development of multifamily affordable housing as it committed to do in its 2009 housing plan by June 30, 2010. Those are the details, but this story is much deeper than a lawsuit.” Carson/Cardenas op-ed in Fresno Bee

Palo Alto considers subsidized housing for families making under $250,000 — To help those who aren’t among the wealthy elite buy homes, the City of Palo Alto is considering building and subsidizing new housing for families making $150,000 to $250,000, CBS SF reports. San Francisco Chronicle articleReuters article


Valley highway projects face lack of state funding, coalition says – A coalition of Valley leaders gathered along Highway 180 on Wednesday to ask state government for steady transportation funding in the wake of cuts to current and future highway projects. Fresno Bee article

Salamander relocation clears progress on Highway 41 passing lanes — Environmental delays to construction of 1.7-mile-long passing lanes on Highway 41 north of the 22 Mile House have been cleared, a Caltrans spokesman said Wednesday. Sierra Star article

Other areas 

Joe Mathews: California has too many small and stupid governments – Wherever you live in California, your county probably doesn’t fit you. Many counties are too small; 25 of the state’s 58 have populations of less than 140,000, the population of my hometown, Pasadena. Some counties are too sprawling; it can take three hours to get across Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Mathews in Sacramento Bee

Turlock’s former police chief tapped as city manager – Once again, the city has turned to a former police chief to take its top job. Gary Hampton, who most recently was chief of police and public safety director in Tracy, will take over as Turlock city manager on April 1. Hampton served as Turlock’s police chief from 2006 to 2011, when he left to take the job in Tracy. Modesto Bee article

Not the pound anymore – Former Kings County Animal Services Manager Teri Rockhold is credited with turning things around at Kings County Animal Services after some tough times at the county department. Her successor, Cassie Heffington, wants to continue that positive momentum. Hanford Sentinel article

Haven Women’s Center to shelter families’ pets, too – In a happy coincidence, Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus reported Wednesday – which isNational Puppy Day – that it will begin housing pets of women and children staying in its shelter program. Modesto Bee article

Judge: Challenge accepted – Tara Howard likes a touch of red wherever she goes. Whether it’s sprinkled throughout her office, lined in her dress or simply draped around her neck in red pearls. But, as much as she likes touches of red, the newest addition to her wardrobe comes in just one color – black. Visalia Times-Delta article

Mai Der Vang wins 2016 Walt Whitman poetry award – Fresno got yet another boost to its burgeoning reputation as a fertile ground for poetry Wednesday when Mai Der Vang, who teaches English at Clovis Community College, won the prestigious national 2016 Walt Whitman AwardFresno Bee articleKVPR report 

Fresno civil rights activist Jesse McDonald Jr. dies at age 90 — Jesse McDonald Jr., a longtime Fresno civil rights activist, the first African American member of the Fresno County Planning Commission and a co-founder of the African American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley, died Friday in Fresno at the age of 90. Fresno Bee article

Brussels bombing jolts Hanford Sentinel columnist — It just so happened that Sentinel legal columnist Dennis Beaver got on a train in Belgium bound for France a few hours after the terror bombings in Brussels. Beaver, reached in Paris by phone on Tuesday, said when he boarded the train in the southern Belgium province of Luxembourg, he didn’t know that the attack had happened. Hanford Sentinel article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian – Too often the Legislature structures its rules to shield members from the consequences of their actions. Basically, legislators are allowed to operate under a different set of rules than the rest of us. This is wrong. It endangers the very fabric of our government. Proposition 50 is a step toward protecting California citizens from corrupt elected officials.

Fresno Bee – The pharma industry should take notice. Companies may make a quick buck from raising drug prices, but eventually it can cost them, big time.

Sacramento Bee – The pharma industry should take notice. Companies may make a quick buck from raising drug prices, but eventually it can cost them, big time; More bureaucracy isn’t a solution for Sacramento County homelessness.

Stockton Record – One more to go – Manteca High plays for state basketball championship.

Maddy Events

Sunday, March 27, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “The Price of Education”  Guest: CALmatters reporter Judy Lin. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, March 27, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “K-12 Education in the Valley: Rising Expectations and Rising Costs” – Guests: Dr. Todd Otto, superintendent of the Visalia Unified School District, and Michael Johnson, associate superintendent administrative services for the Clovis Unified School District. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, March 27, at 7 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV)– El Informe Maddy Report: “The Governor’s Budget” – Guests: Edgar Cabral, an analyst with the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Margarita Fernandez, public information officer for the State Auditor’s Office. 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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