May 16, 2019



North SJ Valley:

McCarthy introduces legislation to rename Success Dam

Porterville Recorder

Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation H.R. 2695 on Tuesday, May 14, to rename the Success Dam after local businessman and longtime Tule River Water Master, Richard L. Schafer.

Central SJ Valley:

Assemblyman Arambula depicted as ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ as child abuse trial goes to jury

Fresno Bee

After nine days of testimony, a week of pre-trial discussions and more than five months of public questioning regarding a misdemeanor child abuse allegation against Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, the case was handed to the jury on Wednesday afternoon.

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Sex workers and drugs in the Valley’s ‘red light district.’ Can this Fresno area be fixed?

Fresno Bee

Councilmember Miguel Arias is pushing new regulations at City Hall to tackle the issue. The proposal, up for a vote by the City Council on Thursday, would create an inspection program for motels.

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South SJ Valley:

Did TJ Cox mislead voters? Democratic congressman calls ethics complaint a partisan attack

Fresno Bee

In a statement to The Bee on Tuesday, a representative for Cox’s campaign alleged the complaint was filed by a “disgruntled, partisan staffer” from former Rep. David Valadao’s campaign, the Republican incumbent who Cox beat in the 2018 election.

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California City City Manager Robert Stockwell resigns after being placed on paid leave

Bakersfield Californian

The California City City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Robert Stockwell during closed session of a meeting Tuesday. Stockwell had been placed on paid leave in late April following undisclosed issues that were brought up during a performance evaluation.


The Suspense Files: California bills vanish almost without a trace

Fresno Bee

This month the appropriations committees quietly killed the last of the fake news bills, a pile of marijuana measures, a proposal to create a “pro-choice” license plate and another to allow cities to keep bars open until 4 a.m.

This legislation would pry open hard-to-find government data


Good government is open, clear government. For all state and local governments in California, SB 598 encourages the adoption of a digital reporting standard.

California Could Lose ‘Unique’ Chance to Recession-Proof Its Budget


Governor Gavin Newsom, who took office this year and has vowed to continue with the conservative financial policies that have helped chart a turnaround for the state, may not have gone far enough to protect the government from the shock of the next recession.

California journalists shield law one of the strongest in nation

San Francisco Chronicle

What the officers lacked, apparently, was an appreciation of California’s shield law, which allows journalists to withhold their sources and unpublished information and protects them from search warrants.

California Supreme Court Tightens Applicability of Anti-SLAPP Law


The anti-SLAPP law was designed by the Legislature to provide for early dismissal of strategic lawsuits against public participation (known colloquially as “SLAPP” suits), which are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.

Walters: A dangerous conflict-of-interest loophole


It is – or should be – obvious that a government official should not have a personal financial stake in his or her decisions. That history should make us suspicious of any attempt to punch loopholes in Section 1090, as Assembly Bill 626 would do.


Trump to provide rare look of finances in disclosure report

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure report is expected to provide a rare glimpse into whether his presidency has helped or hurt his hotels, golf resorts and other parts of his business empire.

Senate confirms Trump’s pick for 9th Circuit Court over objections of Feinstein and Harris

Los Angeles Times

The Senate confirmed Los Angeles litigator Kenneth Kiyul Lee to a California seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday over the objections of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

White House stiff-arms House Judiciary Committee on Russia investigation

Los Angeles Times

The White House hardened its opposition to House Democrats’ investigations on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that they had no authority to examine how President Trump has wielded his executive power.

U.S. officials say new North Korean missile appears aimed at evading U.S. defenses

Los Angeles Times

A newly tested North Korean short-range ballistic missile appears to be a copy of an advanced Russian design that could greatly improve Pyongyang’s ability to evade U.S. missile defense systems, according to U.S. officials.

Elections 2020:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to run for president, sources say


Eyewitness News has confirmed that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president. The mayor and his wife will appear on “Good Morning America” Thursday morning.

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Kamala Harris says she’ll ban assault-style weapon imports if she wins White House

Visalia Times-Delta

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced Wednesday she would take executive action to ban the importation of AR-15-style weapons into the U.S. if she’s elected president.

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Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell tweets ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag, gets an earful on Twitter

Fresno Bee

California congressman and Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell crossed a line with some people Wednesday after he posted an image of a “thin blue line” flag associated with the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.

Democrats go bold on economic plans, a deliberate contrast to 2016

Los Angeles Times

The drive to come up with boldly stated economic policies reflects a lurch of the Democratic Party to the left since President Trump’s election. The shift involves political risk, potentially reviving a debate over “big government” that Democrats backed away.

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Pete Buttigieg’s campaign asset: ‘Do I have a great husband or what?’

San Francisco Chronicle

The star of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign rally the other night in San Francisco was obviously the mayor who has vaulted into the national conversation about who will be the Democratic nominee.

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Tech giants, world leaders — but not U.S. — pledge to curb internet hate speech

Los Angeles Times

The White House said late Wednesday it is not endorsing the pledge. In a statement, the White House said it will “continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online” while also protecting free speech.

The Pros and Cons of Facial Recognition

Wall Street Journal

San Francisco has become the first city to forbid local agencies from using facial-recognition software, asserting that the technology’s “propensity . . . to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits.”

The Trade Secret: Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers


As ransomware attacks crippled businesses and law enforcement agencies, two U.S. data recovery firms claimed to offer an ethical way out. Instead, they typically paid the ransom and charged victims extra.

White House escalates war against Facebook, Google and Twitter with a campaign asking users to share stories of censorship

Washington Post

The White House on Wednesday escalated its war against Silicon Valley when it announced an unprecedented campaign asking Internet users to share if they had been censored on Facebook, Google and Twitter.

EDITORIAL: Time to hang up the NSA’s phone records program

Los Angeles Times

A surveillance program that allows the U.S. government to comb through hundreds of millions of Americans’ telephone records in search of connections to terrorism could soon be a thing of the past.


Sunday, May 19, at 5 p.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Impact of the ACA on ER Visits: Can More Be Less?” – Guest: Shannon McConville – PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition:  “The Senior Boom: Preparing for the Baby Boom Aftershock” – Guests: Laurel Beck and Shannon McConville with PPIC.  Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 19, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Public Employee Retiree Healthcare” – Guests: Joe Hayes, Investigator PPIC and Liam Dillon with Los Angeles Times.  Host: Ana Melendez.


Cannabis Tax Revenue In California Could Be Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Below Projections

Capital Public Radio

The legalization of recreational cannabis was supposed to be a cash cow for California. But the state expects to bring in less money from taxes than previously anticipated — a lot less.

Hemp is legal, but it still faces a regulatory battle in California

OC Register

Another battle over local control of cannabis is about to roil California. Only this time, it’s marijuana’s mellow cousin, hemp, that’s at the heart of disputes that engulf cities, counties and the state — and farmers who hope to grow the potentially lucrative crop

New CalFresh rules vastly expand the pool of people eligible for food assistance in California

OC Register

Starting June 1, changes in a state law that dates back to 1974 will allow California recipients of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, to also get CalFresh food benefits.

126 cheeses, 13 judges and 2 winners: the California State Fair names the best cheeses in CA

Sacramento Bee

If you ever need to taste 126 cheeses over the course of one day, you might want to grab a Diet Coke to cleanse the palate, according to Mary Dedrick, owner of Dedrick’s Cheese in Placerville.

Skelton: Forcing California cities to allow marijuana sales is ignoring the will of voters

Los Angeles Times

California’s budding cannabis industry isn’t exactly blossoming. It’s having trouble sprouting. So a San Francisco legislator has some unique ideas.



Why some inmates won’t be released in downtown Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian

A plan to release more than 100 inmates in downtown Bakersfield on Thursday was scuttled after public opposition forced the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to walk back the mass drop-off.

After Years of Decline, California’s Juvenile Detention Numbers Could Climb


Today, both county juvenile halls and the state’s youth lockups are a sea of empty beds, the result of plummeting crime rates and a shift in how the state treats young offenders.

Public Safety:

Two planes crash in midair in Sutter County, FAA confirms

Fresno Bee

Two single-engine planes crashed in midair in Sutter County about noon Wednesday, killing both pilots, the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office said.


PG&E caused Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise and killed 85, Cal Fire says

Fresno Bee

State fire officials announced Wednesday a six-month investigation has determined what many already thought: PG&E power lines in the high hills of Butte County ignited the devastating blaze that destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings and killed 85 people.

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Tulare contractor responds to complaints surrounding rebuild of homes lost in Tubbs Fire


Tulare-based Chiaramonte Construction says they’ve faced challenges no one could have predicted since setting up shop in Petaluma, including a backup of building permits with local governments, and a very wet winter that pushed construction back.

Fires burn along river

Madera Tribune

Several brush fires burned several acres on both sides of the Fresno riverbed over the weekend, according to CalFire authorities. Four fire engines and multiple crews responded to the most recent fire, which they battled for several hours.

EDITORIAL: Does Oakdale need its own fire department?

Modesto Bee

The demise of the arrangement providing fire protection to Oakdale and surrounding rural areas for the past five years seems like bad news. But that unraveling could prove to be a blessing in disguise for people who live there.



Retail sales in 2019 are a wild ride, slip 0.2% in April

Fresno Bee

U.S. retail sales declined last month as Americans cut back their spending on clothes, appliances, and home and garden supplies.

The Fight to End Poverty in California Knows No Season


Every year, low-income Californians fail to claim $2 billion from the federal and state governments that could otherwise help them afford life’s basic needs.

Stocks finish higher second straight day after optimistic report on trade disputes

Los Angeles Times

Stocks reversed an early slide on Wall Street and finished broadly higher Wednesday, giving the market its second straight gain in a week of bumpy trading.

Who pays for US tariffs on Chinese goods? You do


The federal treasury does get paid when tariffs are levied. But Chinese exporters don’t make the payment. The importers do — usually U.S. companies.

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As more Californians borrow at shockingly high interest rates, will state crack down on ‘predatory lending’?


Unlike in 38 other states, charging a triple-digit interest rate on many consumer loans is legal in California. In the state’s rapidly growing market for “subprime” consumer credit, terms like Benson’s are increasingly common.


Union workers strike again Thursday, saying UCD cuts them out of jobs at Aggie Square

Sacramento Bee

By partnering with a private-sector company to build a new rehabilitation hospital, UC Davis Health is subverting labor contracts with its employees and partnering with a company that has a record of suppressing the wages of health care workers, two unions allege.

Uber Drivers Are Not Employees, National Relations Board Rules. Drivers Saw It Coming


The NLRB released the advisory memo on Tuesday, nearly a month after it was originally issued. It concludes that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees — a classification that means they have no right to form a union or bargain collectively.



VUSD trustees ‘targeted,’ accused of trying to be superintendent

Visalia Times-Delta

A week after Visalia school board members pushed their superintendent out, trustees voted unanimously to appoint Tamara Ravalin acting superintendent.

Thespians, athletes, scholars honored at annual PEAAK Awards

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern High School District’s annual PEAAK Awards were the hottest ticket in town Wednesday, giving some of Hollywood’s most prestigious award shows a run for their money.

Californians See Preschool as Important

Public Policy Institute of California

In the April 2019 PPIC Statewide Survey, 78% of Californians and 88% of public school parents said that attending preschool is important to a student’s academic success in kindergarten through grade 12.

Gov. Newsom proposes tighter rules on charter school enrollment


In his May budget revision, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to tighten the language banning discrimination in charter school enrollment, particularly to protect students with disabilities and students with poor grades who want to attend charter schools.

The 2019-20 May Revision: Analysis of the May Revision Education Proposals

Legislative Analyst’s Office

The May Revision contains more than 100 proposed changes to education programs. The changes range from large new policy proposals, to major modifications of January proposals, to small adjustments relating to revised student attendance estimates.

Higher Ed:

Harris Ranch CEO to receive Fresno State Honorary Degree

Business Journal

John C. Harris, CEO of Harris Farms, and journalist Janis “Jan” Yanehiro, will be awarded honorary doctorates at the college’s 108th commencement this Saturday, according to a press release.

UC Merced Chancellor Will Step Down, But Will See 2020 Project Through


UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland announced Monday she will be stepping down from her position on August 15. After eight years as chancellor at the university, 71-year-old Leland says she is ready to follow other pursuits.

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Fresno State students often wait weeks for mental health therapy. Advocates want change

Fresno Bee

Advocates at Fresno State are asking for more resources to hire additional mental health counselors in order to reduce long wait times and high staff-to-student ratios that they say pose a danger to students in crisis.

Fresno State Athletics will open Bulldog Stadium for graduates to take photos


There’s a new photo-op for Fresno State graduates! The university has decided for the first time to allow students to take pictures at Bulldog Stadium.

CSUB to graduate record number of students

Bakersfield Californian

Cal State Bakersfield’s upcoming commencement will feature the highest number of graduates ever and the first class of doctoral graduates.

Before Graduating This Week, Fresno State Humanics Students Pay It Forward


It’s clear that some non-profits, also called community benefit organizations, can really change a place through advocacy and education. However, keeping those organizations going is often dependent on gifts, grants, and fundraising.

UC Merced student gets big reaction to migrant parents post

Fresno Bee

On Sunday, UC Merced student Anna Ocegueda will become the first person from her family to graduate from a four-year university. Ocegueda, 22, wanted to pay tribute to her parents with a photo she recently posted on Twitter. She didn’t expect the tweet to go viral.

Many college students struggle to pass remedial math. Do they need to?


Colleges created remedial education classes to ensure students were sufficiently prepared for more advanced material. But increasingly, there’s a sense that remedial courses are hurting the prospects of the students they are intended to help.



Yosemite, Joshua Tree, all other national parks in Calif. have ‘significant’ air pollution

San Francisco Chronicle

All nine national parks in California, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree, are dealing with “significant air pollution problems,” according to a recent report released by the National Parks Conservation Association.

10th gray whale washes up on Bay Area beach — death rate called ‘abnormally high’

Fresno Bee

Another gray whale has washed up dead in the Bay Area, marking the 10th dead whale found in the area since March 10.


CRC posts $67-million first-quarter loss

Bakersfield Californian

California Resources Corp., one of Kern’s largest oil producers, reported a $67-million loss in the first quarter, up from a $2-million loss during the same period a year before.



Abortion laws are changing across US. Here’s a state-by-state guide, and what it means

Fresno Bee

A “near-total abortion ban” passed by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday is part of a movement in some parts of the country to create restrictive new laws on abortion. Here’s an update on major abortion legislation passed or considered recently by states.

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The Evidence Is Strong: Air Pollution Seems to Cause Dementia


Following our early report on the link between air pollution and dementia, three economists at Arizona State University—Kelly Bishop, Nicolai Kuminoff, and Jonathan Ketcham—decided to pursue a large-scale investigation of the issue.

No Religious Exemptions From Vaccines

Wall Street Journal

Failing to vaccinate your child against measles because it’s against your beliefs isn’t a crime, but perhaps it should be. The risk to public health is too great. Lawmakers should limit medical exceptions more, too.

Human Services:

Tulare hospital renamed Adventist Health Tulare


Formerly Tulare Regional Medical Center it is now called Adventist Health Tulare. Adventist operates the hospital, leasing it from the Tulare Local Healthcare District. Adventist Health helped reopen the hospital last fall after a nearly year-long closure.

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Pilgrimage of Hope brings fight for immigrants to Stockton

Stockton Record

A group of Episcopalians who are walking from Fresno to the state Capitol to raise awareness about the plight of immigrants and an “unjust” immigration system made a stop in Stockton on Tuesday.

Trump will pitch immigration plan already facing stiff opposition in Congress

Los Angeles Times

President Trump will announce a sweeping immigration plan Thursday to boost border security and foreign workers while reducing family reunification, but the White House proposal has little chance of advancing in Congress.

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Land Use:

Yes, Chick-fil-A is still coming to Manteca; work could begin this summer

Modesto Bee

Manteca will soon be eating “mor chikin” as plans for the city’s first Chick-fil-A are finally moving forward.


Homeless shelter opponents are using this environmental law in bid to block new housing

Los Angeles Times

Opponents of the shelters in both communities say they’ve been forced to use CEQA to gain the attention of politicians, who residents say are ignoring concerns about crime and drug use. But many advocating for the shelters argue that the well-funded neighborhood groups are abusing the environmental law.

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Homeless encampments along California levees may be weakening them, officials warn

Fox News

Homeless encampments that have popped up along the sides of levees in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties are creating damage to the flood control structures, as some residents dig into the slope to create a flat surface to put their tents up.

Only 51% of Southern California households can ‘afford’ entry-level home with ‘generous’ mortgage

OC Register

Just 51% of Southern California households can comfortably buy an entry-level home — and they’d need to earn at least $70,090 annually, according to a California Association of Realtors first-time buyer financing index.

Chipping away at the mortgage deduction


With any luck, the 2017 tax overhaul will prove to be only the first step toward eventually replacing the century-old housing subsidy with a more effective program.


California’s governor pushes new taxes, fees despite whopping $21.5 billion surplus


Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing new taxes and fees even as California enjoys a huge surplus, but lawmakers, including his fellow Democrats, appear to have little appetite for new taxes.


What’s New At FAX – May 2019

Fresno Area Express

The Fresno Council of Governments (COG) is required to complete an Unmet Transit Needs assessment for Fresno County to determine whether or not there are any unmet transit needs that are “reasonable to meet,” before any funds are expended for non-transit uses.

Amtrak San Joaquins Improves On-Time Performance and Southern California Connectivity with New Schedule

Hanford Sentinel

Amtrak San Joaquins SM will be changing schedules on May 20, 2019 to improve on-time performance, enhance statewide connectivity, and make rail travel convenient for the greatest number of travelers.

All the Major Kinds of Bike Lanes, in Three Minutes


As more U.S. cities invest in cycling, they have various kinds of bike lanes to choose from. Designs abound, depending on the needs and limitations of a given street (and some lanes certainly do their jobs better than others).

Driverless electric truck starts deliveries on Swedish public road


Resembling the helmet of a Star Wars stormtrooper, a driverless electric truck began daily freight deliveries on a public road in Sweden on Wednesday, in what developer Einride and logistics customer DB Schenker described as a world first.


One less tax. California lawmakers move to reject Gavin Newsom’s water fee

Fresno Bee

A Senate budget subcommittee rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water tax plan on Wednesday, instead recommending finding $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund.

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Yosemite prepares for storm with road closure. Here’s where snow is expected in Sierra

Fresno Bee

There’s a storm coming and Yosemite National Park is prepping for some winter-like conditions. The park is closing Glacier Point Road and advising visitors to prepare for winter driving conditions for the next several days.

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Unsafe Drinking Water Is Bad Enough: But What If You’re The One Tasked With Fixing It?


When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink.

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Rapper Common hosting free community concert in Stockton June 7

Stockton Record

Common, the first rapper to win a Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award, and his nonprofit Imagine Justice will host a free community concert for the city of Stockton.

What this week’s rain means for outdoor festivities in Modesto and beyond

Modesto Bee

There’s a 70 percent chance of showers in Modesto on Thursday, with thunderstorms also possible after 11 a.m., the National Weather Service says. That said, organizers of most community festivities expect them to go on as planned.

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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.

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.

This document is to be used for informational purposes only. Unless specifically noted, The Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno does not officially endorse or support views that may be expressed in the document. If you want to print a story, please do so now before the link expires.

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