March 7, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Competitive state GOP primary could energize Valley races — It’s raising the very real possibility that the contest could still be going June 7 when California voters go to the polls. And that could push turnout for the primary election – especially among Republicans – to heights unseen in a long time. That, in turn, will have a huge effect on other races, including the Fresno mayor’s race and the competition for two Fresno County supervisor seats, among others. Fresno Bee article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Stockton should learn something from Bernie – Bernie Sanders’ campaign may be fading. But we should feel the Bern on one issue he champions: not taking money from special interests. Here in Stockton, I mean. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Valley politics

Fresno Bee: Arambula is best fit for Assembly District 31 — On balance, Joaquin Arambula is the best candidate. We recommend him for the Assembly. Fresno Bee editorial


This judge says toddlers can defend themselves in immigration court – A federal immigration judge believes migrant toddlers can defend themselves in court, according to a deposition in a court case brought by advocates seeking government-appointed attorneys for the youths. LA Times article


Elizabeth Joh: Outcome of FBI fight with Apple will affect your privacy – The professor of law at UC Davis writes, “We should expect that the FBI and every other law enforcement agency would want to try every means necessary to prevent and investigate crime. But when those means exact a heavy cost upon our information security and privacy, we’ve struck the wrong bargain.” Joh op-ed in Sacramento Bee

San Bernardino Shootings

After San Bernardino attack, third shooter claims are just ‘human nature’ — In the months since, FBI and police say they have found no evidence that the attack was carried out by anyone other than Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik. But the early reports of a possible third shooter — a source of worry for first-responders racing to the scene — continue to bedevil authorities. LA Times article 

Other areas

Dan Walters: California’s multiple agencies confusing – It’s a question that could be applied to much of state government. When the nation’s founders gave us checks and balances, they probably didn’t expect a consequence to be unaccountability. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

New twist to tech donations: Google promotes racial justice – The grants align with a growing national movement focused on racial justice and fueled, in part, by the killings of young black men like Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. San Francisco Chronicle article

Daniel Weintraub: Sacramento mayoral candidates pledge to make walking, cycling a more viable option – The next mayor of Sacramento will have a chance to make the city truly “world class” – not by subsidizing more professional sports teams or building taller office towers, but by making the city a vibrant place that people can navigate without having to use a car. Weintraub in Sacramento Bee

Jessica Levinson: The five advantages of daylight savings time – The professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, writes, “For those who find it onerous to change their clocks twice each calendar year, I offer a simple solution – let us remain, always, on daylight saving time. There is much to say on this topic, but as our lawmakers consider Chu’s depressing proposal, I would simply urge them to pick light over darkness.” Levinson op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Willie Brown: When it comes to Trump, GOP has no help and no hope – The mere fact that the worst relief pitcher in politics was called in to try to strike out Donald Trump in the bottom of the ninth shows you how weak the Republican bench is these days. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Dan Morain: Scott Jones on Trump: Facing the fundamental question of 2016 – Jones faces a question that every Republican congressional candidate running in any swing district in the country, and every Republican Senate candidate in any purple state must answer. Tell us, what do you think about Trump? Morain in Sacramento Bee

Victor Davis Hanson: Log cabin candidates — Trump’s zillionaire schtick is certainly obnoxious and creepy. But so far, his in-your-face braggadocio has somehow worked better with average voters than have the weepy log cabin tales from all the other well-off candidates. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Body cameras an expensive but worthwhile tool, law enforcement says – The largest law enforcement agencies in Kern County are in agreement that body-worn cameras would provide a valuable service for officers and the general public. But there are two obstacles: Money and storage. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno Unified won’t disclose how many records withheld from The Bee’s request — While attorneys for Fresno Unified School District cited several legal exemptions for withholding information from The Bee’s recent public records request regarding no-bid contracts, the district will not disclose how many records actually were withheld. But a bill introduced in the state Legislature in January could, if passed, make that mandatory. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Jeff Jardine: For some, helping Modesto’s homeless means getting hands dirty – Thursday, Father Greg Boyle told three separate Stanislaus County audiences about his revered Homeboy Industries ministry in Los Angeles. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Marcos Breton: With homeless camps, politicians should listen to local expert – It’s Ryan Loofbourrow’s job to get homeless people off Sacramento’s streets. That means his job is harder than yours. No one thinks he’ll ever fully succeed. The problem will outlast him. Everyone has an opinion, but no one has a solution – just a political agenda. Breton in Sacramento Bee 

Sacramento County small-business owners nervous about U.S. economy, survey says – Sacramento County small-business owners are nervous about the national economy but feel more optimistic about things closer to home. Those are among the findings of Union Bank’s annual Small Business Economic Survey. Union Bank’s principal corporate office is in New York; its main banking office is in San Francisco. Sacramento Bee article

Lewis Griswold: Owner of Visalia’s iconic Merle’s College Drive-In dies — Mearle Heitzman, owner of the legendary Mearle’s College Drive-In on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia, has died. He was 94. Griswold in Fresno Bee

West Coast awash in water for first time in long while – The first West Coast waves of a week of powerful storms arrived to provide strong evidence March will not be as parched as the month that preceded it. AP article

Interactive: It’s raining again! Here’s what California’s reservoirs and snowpack levels look like now – The map below shows fluctuations, since 2010, in California’s 30-largest reservoirs. It updates daily, using data from the CA Department of Water Resources. KQED report

Lois Henry: Shafter homes are flush with Oildale water. Huh? — Why should you care where 3,000 homes in Shafter are getting their water? First, DUH, it’s water. Second, how about if I told you the toilets and taps in those homes will be filled with water from Oildale? Third, and most importantly, what if Bakersfield — not Shafter — tax dollars paid for that water? Admit it, you’re intrigued. Henry column in Bakersfield California

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Mike Klocke: On Measure A, Stockton tangled up in blue – Measure A, approved by voters in November 2013, has become Measure Dog Paddle, as the department treads water in hiring while the public continues to pay taxes. New officers are hired. Veteran — and even some not-so-veteran — officers depart for other agencies with higher pay and better benefits. More officers are hired. More depart. The churn will not stop. Klocke column in Stockton Record 

Pepe Peterson: A pillar and a legend – Hundreds gathered Saturday at Bear Creek Community Church in north Stockton to say somber goodbyes to a retired Stockton police officer who was slain nearly two weeks ago on the same city streets he once patrolled. Stockton Record article

San Francisco Police Department chief’s propose use-of-force policy shift angers cops – San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr  already under attack from Black Lives Matter activists over the shooting death of Mario Woods — is now facing criticism from his own rank and file for what they see as appeasement of department critics. San Francisco Chronicle article

Parents of young man killed by Citrus Heights officer seek answers — Hunter Todd survived heart surgery and five other operations by the time he was 5, then clawed his way to a world-class ranking as a trail runner and accomplished athlete in his teens. Less than two months after he turned 20, his life ended in the predawn darkness of a Citrus Heights cul-de-sac. A city police officer fired at least six rounds into his body while responding to a report of a possible car burglary. Sacramento Bee article

Drug lord ‘El Chapo’ sneaked into California twice after escape from prison, his daughter says — Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman managed twice to evade border security and sneak into California to visit relatives after his escape from prison, according to his daughter. LA Times article


Richard Pan stands by embattled UC Davis chief, calls for reforms — State Sen. Richard Pan thinks UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi is doing a good job but showed “poor judgment” in joining the boards of for-profit companies, including DeVry Education Group and a textbook publisher. Sacramento Bee article

Valley educators win Kremen School awards — Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education and Human Development will honor four Valley educators on March 17 at the Kremen Noted Alumni Dinner. Fresno Bee article

 Bee a Reader fund to support Stanislaus school summer literacy pilot programs — The Modesto Bee and the Stanislaus Community Foundation, partners in the annual A Book of Dreams to help area charitable nonprofits, have teamed up again to support books – and reading – in general. Modesto Bee article

Larry White: Educated lives matter – The benefits of education ultimately can be the game changer in terms of income, employment, health, individual and familial relationships and societal improvement. White column in Stockton Record

Ceres High manufacturing, Johansen ag academies tops in state — Career-focused programs at Ceres High and Johansen High in Modesto will take a bow March 7, receiving awards as Distinguished California Partnership Academies for 2016. Seven out of the state’s 400 academies earned the distinction. Modesto Bee article

Starting where others end: Lincoln’s Wind Ensemble set to go where few go – Carnegie Hall — The magnitude of playing at Carnegie Hall isn’t lost on Lincoln High School senior Christopher Innes. Stockton Record article


Lessons for California as a dam falls and a river moves — The glassy, cold Carmel River surged through a little valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains, cascading in front of a half-dozen workers and observers one day last week down a series of rock outcroppings, as if its sinuous path had been designed by nature. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Fire victims struggle with uncertainty over rebuilding — Six months after the third most destructive wildfire in California history rampaged through Lake County, hundreds of rural residents remain not only without a permanent place to live — bouncing anxiously between motels, trailers and even cars and tents — but also unclear when and if they’ll be allowed to return home to rebuild. San Francisco Chronicle article

Dorothy Rothrock: Costs of climate-change regulation should be focus of concern – The president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association writes, “Aligning our energy policies to meet our environmental and economic goals will make our transition to clean energy truly pay off for California. Interest groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists should engage in robust evaluation of the costs and benefits of various regulations and support policies that keep our economy moving.” Rothrock op-ed in Modesto Bee

Health/Human Services 

Mobile medical clinic continues to grow – University of the Pacific pharmacy students have been holding Medicare Mobile Clinics every fall for the past nine years. This past year, they assisted a record 888 Medicare beneficiaries, indicating the clinics are more popular — and necessary — than ever. Stockton Record article 

Fast-aging homeless population may lead to public health crisis — As San Francisco’s city officials grapple with how to get a handle on the burgeoning homeless population — the Division Street camp was there for months before it was finally cleared out, after all — one UCSF scientist who studies the population warns there’s another public health crisis looming. San Francisco Chronicle article

Land Use/Housing

Residents north of Clovis could face eminent domain by city for water project — Residents north of Clovis are concerned about the city’s plans to pay them for letting highly treated sewage from its water recycling plant flow through a channel bordering their properties. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Modesto Bee: It’s high time we had a community discussion about marijuana – Should enjoying the psychotropic effects of cannabis remain illegal? That’s not just a question for board rooms and council chambers. It’s a question we should bring to service clubs, church groups and even the dinner table. Modesto Bee editorial

Mom leads effort to build ‘inclusive’ playground in Modesto – Modesto resident Sarah Bratton clearly remembers several years back when her young nephew, Tommy Loredo, was staying with her family for a few days. It was a beautiful late-spring morning, and her daughters and nephew wanted to go to a park. Modesto Bee article

Donald Blount: Black history never ends – From Major Taylor to Nelson Vails, black history never ends. We just need to pay attention because it may circle back to us. Blount column in Stockton Record

Kern Turns 150: Like so many, family journeys from Oklahoma to Arvin — This account of the Maxwell family trip to California was written by my father, Paul, several years ago.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – On balance, Joaquin Arambula is the best candidate. We recommend him for the Assembly District 31.

Modesto Bee –– Should enjoying the psychotropic effects of cannabis remain illegal? That’s not just a question for board rooms and council chambers. It’s a question we should bring to service clubs, church groups and even the dinner table.

Maddy Events

Sunday, March 6, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “The Senior Boom: Preparing for the Baby Boom Aftershock”  Guest: Public Policy Institute of California analyst Laurel Beck. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, March 6, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Valley Seniors: Programs and Prospects” – Guests: Jeremy Oliver, program director for Kern County Office of Aging and Adult Services, and Fresno State professor Helen Miltiades. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

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

  • The International Green Industry Hall of Fame will hold its sixth annual conference and induction ceremony at Buchanan High School in Clovis on March 9. Registration information is available here.
  • 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

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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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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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