May 19, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 New forecast shows slight increase in state revenues — With just over a week left in the Legislature’s current special session, lawmakers received an early revenue forecast Monday that shows they have a little more money to work with during their extended budget negotiations. AP article

 Dan Walters: Child care looms as big spending issue in California – There is a way out of the child care dilemma, if Brown cooperates. He and the Legislature could expand services with money required to be spent on schools, thereby avoiding a new general fund entitlement. However, it would mean less money for K-12 schools and community colleges and thus less for contract bargaining by districts and school unions. Would Democratic legislators, women’s groups and the SEIU buck the California Teachers Association to get more child care money? We’ll find out by June 15.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

State budget

 Advocates for California’s poor disappointed with Governor’s budget – Advocates for the state’s poor and disabled said Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget doesn’t do enough to help the state’s most vulnerable.  KPCC report

 Joe Mathews: It’s a problem that the tax bonanza is a problem — We all know the harm California’s broken budget system can do when the economy is struggling. But now we’re seeing the harm it can do when times are better. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

 Gov. Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign new climate change agreement – Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a new climate change agreement with “government leaders from around the world” on Tuesday, his office announced.  LA Times article


Women make up half of Brown’s political appointees — Governor Jerry Brown must fill positions on about 300 state boards and commissions.  Roughly half of his appointees are women. Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil says the administration wants appointees to be qualified and diverse. Capital Public Radio report

 Valley politics

Visalia City Council selects district council map — The Visalia City Council on Monday chose the boundaries of five council districts to be used next year when the city switches from at-large to district elections of council members. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Democratic American Indian group unhappy with Sanchez and Harris – The California Democratic Party’s Native American Caucus denounced Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez’s caricature of an Indian “war cry” on Monday, calling the gesture she made over the weekend insensitive and insulting. The American Indian group also aired a grievance it has with Attorney General Kamala Harris, the other Democrat in the race, for her office’s position in a long-running dispute over the boundaries of a reservation. Capitol Alert


 Kevin de León tells immigrants, ‘We are human beings’ – State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León joined undocumented immigrants at the Capitol on Monday to call for justice and health care for “the most marginalized people in this great country.” Capitol Alert

 Federal ‘maternity tourism’ case grows with arrest of O.C. attorney — Federal agents have arrested an Irvine attorney for allegedly trying to spirit a Chinese woman out of the U.S. in violation of a court order that she remain in the country as part of an investigation into illegal immigration of pregnant women, authorities said Monday. LA Times article

 Other areas

Next up for vaccines: Required for California’s child care workers – While a move to abolish the vaccine “personal belief exemption” hasdominated headlines in the last weeks across California, two other vaccine-related bills are making their way through the Legislature a bit more quietly. One would require preschool and child care workers to have certain vaccinations; another seeks to improve vaccination rates for 2-year-olds. KQED report

 Assembly approves whistleblower status for legislative aides – Legislative staff in California would gain whistleblower protection under a bill that has advanced out of the Assembly. AB289 extends the protections for reporting illegal and unethical behavior that are available to state employees to staff of the state Legislature.  AP article

Supreme Court refuses to shield names of donors to political advocacy groups – Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy dealt a speedy setback Monday to conservative advocacy groups that had sought to shield the names of their major donors in California. LA Times article

 Looking to the Capitol, outside money drives nasty East Bay special election – Whether Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord or political consultant and Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer wins, Democrats will extend their dominant majority. But a fierce, nasty and extremely expensive campaign is nevertheless taking place in the East Bay, as powerful political interests jockey for a more favorable position in the Capitol 75 miles away.  Sacramento Bee article

 Joel Fox: Steve Glazer’s moment – and California’s – Whether by choice or not, Steve Glazer, candidate for the Senate District 7 seat in tomorrow’s special election, is a symbol of change. His election could alter the face of California politics from the expected — Democratic candidates following in lock step with the party’s strongest influencers and financial backers — to electing more independent candidates.  Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Sacramento Bee: An antiquated alcohol law needs revision – Eight decades after the repeal of Prohibition, California’s protectionist laws regulating alcohol sales need to a vast overhaul. Sacramento Bee editorial

Bill allowing beer bikes advances in California Legislature — California lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow so-called beer bikes to operate on streets, but leaves cities to decide if alcohol is allowed on board. AP article

 Jim Knox: California legislators must break tobacco money addiction – The vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network writes, “Big Tobacco’s constant quest to hook young and low-income consumers to cigarettes is just like its pursuit to hook politicians to tobacco money. Tell your state legislators to just say no.” Knox op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

 Poll: Large majority of Californians support water restrictions amid drought – Nearly two-thirds of Californians support mandatory water restrictions ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown amid the state’s historic drought, though many fear it will be hard to cut back and think farmers can do more to conserve, according to a new Field Poll. Sacramento Bee article

 California concerns grow over oilfield operations near water — California regulators on Monday expanded their list of thousands of state-permitted oil and gas wells where below-ground injections may be contaminating drinking-water reserves. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article

New 822-bed jail will bring challenges for Kern – Kern County breaks ground Wednesday on a new 822-bed detention facility at Lerdo Jail. The facility will expand Kern’s ability to incarcerate the most challenging county prisoners while offering space for new programs aimed at helping inmates rehabilitate themselves and stay out of custody for good. But the jail is also casting a large financial shadow over the future of county finances.  Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

 San Bernardino’s bankruptcy plan favors CalPERS – San Bernardino’s plan to exit bankruptcy has at least one winner, plenty of losers and could have repercussions for other California cities. The city will pay every penny of the almost $50 million it owes to the California Public Employee Retirement System, known as CalPERS, if a federal judge approves the plan. LA Times article

 Berkeley soda tax: First month’s take: $116,000 – Several City Council members and other boosters of Berkeley’s first-in-the-nation soda tax giddily reported the first month’s haul — $116,000 — on the steps of the municipal office building on Milvia Street on Monday. Contra Costa Times article

 LA lawmakers poised to vote on hiking minimum wage to $15 – Los Angeles lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday on a hotly debated plan to hike the minimum wage across the city to at least $15 an hour. LA Times article

 With fewer houses on market, some areas see ominous trend in higher prices – The price trend is making housing less affordable for many Americans, who saw wages grow by just 2.6% since April 2014. The midpoint price for a home in the United States rose by almost 8% between March 2014 and March 2015. McClatchy Newspapers article

Cap and trade money hits rooftops – California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget revisions include spending more than $2 billion dollars from the state’s cap and trade program. But money from the greenhouse gas reduction program is already helping some homeowners this fiscal year. Capital Public Radio report

 Food recovery program seeks businesses to contribute – Despite recent efforts by local groups and government programs, food recovery participation remains relatively low among Central Valley businesses. “It has been a challenge finding local partners because of concern with liability. [Many businesses] are worried, but they don’t need to be,” said Janine Nkosi, a lecturer in the sociology department at Fresno State who helps manage the school’s Food Recovery Network. The Business Journal article

 San Diego committee unveils plans for $1.1-billion NFL stadium In hopes of persuading the Chargers to stay in San Diego, a mayoral committee Monday proposed a financial plan for building an approximately $1.1-billion NFL stadium — a plan that includes major public contributions but not a tax increase. LA Times article; U-T San Diego article; Michael Hiltzik column in LA Times

 New reports differ on impact of Airbnb on San Francisco — Even the city’s top economists can’t agree on whether short-term rentals through companies like Airbnb exacerbate the city’s housing crisis. San Francisco Chronicle article


LA employers are optimistic, but investing more in technology than hiring, survey finds — Employers in Los Angeles County are in growth mode, but it’s a trajectory built on equipment and technology investments rather than hiring, according to a new survey. LA Times article

 Sacramento Bee: Mayor Kevin Johnson must explain his staff increase — The burden of proof is squarely on Mayor Kevin Johnson to justify increasing the size of his staff from seven to 12. Sacramento Bee editorial


 Modesto’s water cops now out looking for waste – Modesto is stepping up its enforcement of its drought restrictions by sending water cops out in the early morning to check for homeowners, businesses and others watering their lawns and other landscaping when they shouldn’t or wasting water because of malfunctioning sprinklers. Modesto Bee article

Stanislaus County may cut back outdoor watering to two days a week – Stanislaus County supervisors will consider an urgency measure Tuesday that would restrict outdoor watering to two days a week in unincorporated areas.  Modesto Bee article

 USDA allocates $21 million to help farmers, ranchers battle drought – A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $21 million to help farmers and ranchers in California and other states install new irrigation systems, plant cover crops and implement other water conservation practices, officials said Monday. LA Times article

 Merced College adopts plan to reduce water use – Merced College board of trustees adopted a new water conservation plan last week to attempt to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate of 25 percent reduction by all water users, and the proposed 36 percent reduction Merced faces. Merced Sun-Star article

 USDA: Forest health can improve water supply — USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie says controlled burns and forest thinning are imperative as California deals with drought and an increased threat of wildfires. He says when forests aren’t choked with small trees there is another benefit. More snow and water can soak into the ground and replenish streams, rivers and reservoirs. Capital Public Radio report

 Einar Maisch: Even in a drought, selling some water makes sense – The general manager of the Placer County Water Agency writes, “While it seems incongruous to release water for the benefit of the American River while asking our customers to conserve, it’s important to remember that without access to American River water, our customers would face far deeper cuts in water use, and potentially higher rates during this historic drought.”  Maisch op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Help your trees survive drought — We have a common plea: “How do I save my trees during this drought?” “That’s what we hear over and over,” said Matt Morgan, certified arborist for Davey Tree Service in Sacramento. “People are really worried. Sacramento has the most trees per capita of probably any place in the world. If we lose our trees, our whole ecosystem changes.”  Sacramento Bee article

 A short run for some California whitewater rivers this season — Due to a record low snowpack, the foam and chaos of big rapids will be short-lived this summer for the Kings and several other rivers. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Obama restricts police military gear, says it can alienate – President Barack Obama ended long-running federal transfers of some combat-style gear to local law enforcement on Monday in an attempt to ease tensions between police and minority communities, saying equipment made for the battlefield should not be a tool of American criminal justice. AP article

 Assembly bill would require hearings on police military gear – California communities must hold public hearings before their police departments accept military equipment such as tanks and grenade launchers under a bill approved Monday in the state Assembly. AP article

 California seeks to block inmate’s sex reassignment surgery – California officials want a federal appeals court to block a judge’s order that the state immediately provide a transgender prisoner with sex reassignment surgery. AP article

State urged to take lead in probing police-custody deaths – Prompted by police incidents across the country, an effort is under way to make California the first state in the nation to have its top law enforcement officer independently investigate deaths in police custody, bypassing the prosecutors in California’s 58 counties. Capitol Weekly article

 Supreme Court tosses claim against San Francisco police who shot mentally disabled woman — The Supreme Court on Monday threw out an excessive-force claim against two San Francisco police officers who twice forced their way into the kitchen of a mentally ill woman and then shot her when she brandished a knife.  LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article; New York Times article

 Courts: Juveniles presumed competent to stand trial — California’s Supreme Court says juveniles accused of crimes are, just like adults, presumed competent to stand trial and have to prove otherwise if they claim incompetence. AP article


 Gavin Newsom faults insufficient outreach to faculty in push for online education — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he and other proponents of online education, including Gov. Jerry Brown, failed to sufficiently engage faculty members in their longstanding push to expand online course offerings at California’s colleges and universities.  Sacramento Bee article

 Final approval given to baccalaureate degree programs – State officials approved three more baccalaureate degree programs at community colleges on Monday, bringing the total number to 15. LA Times article

Students in handful of California schools opt out of Common Core tests – Four schools in the state identified by EdSource Today with at least half of their students opting out have similarities: They are all high-achieving high schools in affluent areas. Many of the juniors, the only high school grade required to take the assessments, told school officials that they preferred to spend time studying for AP tests, SATs or other school-related activities because the Smarter Balanced tests don’t directly affect their lives. EdSource article

 Gov. Brown calls for ‘balanced’ approach to testing and accountability – As millions of California students tackle new assessments aligned with the Common Core, Gov. Jerry Brown in one of his more expansive comments on testing and measurements last week called for a “balanced” approach to testing, and expressed skepticism about pressures to hold schools more accountable for achieving results, and on students to show constant improvement. EdSource article

 Women getting science Ph.D.s still face gender barriers – Thousands of college students across California are graduating this month with science degrees. Some dream of careers as researchers and professors, like the people who taught them. But women working toward doctoral degrees in science face gender barriers that can derail their progress. KQED report

 Merced area school borrows Silicon Valley math idea – Teachers at McSwain School are using a math method they’ve borrowed from a Silicon Valley group to try to strengthen students’ grasp of math concepts. Called the Problem of the Month, according to a press release, the method is copied from one used by the Silicon Valley Math Initiative, a coalition of organizations looking to prepare students for technology and other modern jobs that require math skills.  Merced Sun-Star article

 Planada students get early start in planning medical careers — A group of Planada middle school students is getting a jump-start on learning about careers in the medical field. Forty-two seventh- and eighth-grade students at Cesar E. Chavez Middle School are part of the Medical Academy for Students Mastering Technology, Education, Research and Science, better known as the M.A.S.T.E.R.S. program.  Merced Sun-Star article

 Compton Unified sued for allegedly failing to address trauma-affected students —  In a groundbreaking effort to address a key underlying cause of poor academic performance, students who have suffered from violence and other trauma are suing the Compton Unified School District for allegedly failing to address their problems and provide an appropriate education, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Monday. LA Times article; AP article

 Definition of anti-Semitism provokes campus debates —  The definition of anti-Semitism was at the center of a battle of words Monday involving campus protests about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This comes as some Jewish students say that protests against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank have had anti-Semitic overtones that they contend makes some American universities, including UC campuses, a hostile environment. LA Times article

 Shared responsibility: Two agencies named to take over Head Start operations – Two agencies that had been in negotiations to become the new grantee for San Joaquin County Head Start will take the program’s helm. Starting July 1, the San Joaquin County Office of Education and Community Action partnership of Kern will take over as providers for the Head Start program.Stockton Record article

 Coming full circle — Back in 2002 when Julia Morgan Elementary School first opened the doors to the first kindergarten class, President George W. Bush had labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea an “Axis of Evil,” Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was released in theaters and the New England Patriots had beaten the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Fast forward 13 years later to Monday morning at the campus on 3777 A.G. Spanos Blvd., a dozen of those former students are now graduating seniors at Bear Creek High School in Stockton and off to different directions for college. Stockton Record article


Fresno County supervisors will hear appeal of gravel mining project — Fresno County supervisors will hear an appeal Tuesday to the Fresno County Planning Commission’s approval of a 619-acre gravel project east of Sanger. The commission approved the project by a 5-1 vote in February, but it was appealed to the Board of Supervisors. Fresno Bee article

Meeting will deal with fish needs near La Grange — The discussion will resume Wednesday on possible improvements for fish in a Tuolumne River stretch near La Grange. The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts, at the direction of the federal government, are looking at how salmon and other oceangoing fish might again spawn in the river above La Grange Reservoir. Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

 Dead bird first sign of West Nile in Stanislaus this year – A dead bird in Modesto that tested positive for West Nile virus is the first detection of the disease in Stanislaus County this year, the East Side Mosquito Abatement District announced Monday afternoon. Modesto Bee article

 Cancer screening: An example of when less can be more, experts say — Americans get too many tests to screen for common types of cancer, and the American College of Physicians wants them to stop. LA Times article

 Women sues Anthem Blue Cross for refusing to cover hepatitis C drug — Shima Andre said in the lawsuit that Anthem has refused to pay the $99,000 it would cost to be treated with the controversial drug Harvoni, which has been proved to wipe out the potentially deadly virus in most patients. LA Times article

 Assembly bill lets terminally ill request experimental drugs – Terminally ill patients would be able to use experimental drugs under a bill approved by the California Assembly. The so-called “right-to-try” legislation would let patients who have exhausted other treatment options request medication that hasn’t been approved by state or federal regulators.  AP article

 Property tax sought to finish hospital’s expansion tower – Tulare Regional Medical Center Board of Directors’ member Laura Gadke said hospital district residents have a decision to make about the under-construction expansion tower and the proposed $55 million parcel tax sought to pay for its completion. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Rob Bonta: Poor kids should get dental care – The state assemblymember (D-Alameda) writes, “Now is the time to expand the conversation and fundamentally transform the Denti-Cal system so we can serve those who need it most. Let’s ensure that all children have the early care they need to achieve optimal oral health.”  Bonta op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Julie Womack: Alzheimer’s dynamic must focus on what’s left, not what’s gone – The occupational therapist writes, “Changing the dynamic of Alzheimer’s is possible, with the right training, the right tools and a supportive environment. While millions die of the disease, millions are also living with it. Individuals with Alzheimer’s are employed, participate in sports, enjoy social activities, play golf, sing and dance.” Womack op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

 Food allergies: A hidden danger for many Asian-American kids — Asian-American children are 40 percent more likely to suffer from food allergies than the U.S population at large, according to a 2011 report published in the journal Pediatrics, the only American food allergy study which offers statistics specifically on Asian-Americans. On top of that, treating food allergies can present very unique challenges within the Asian-American community. KQED report

 Olympus mounts defense over deadly outbreaks tied to medical scopes — Under fire for selling a medical scope linked to superbug outbreaks, Olympus Corp. is pushing back against its critics and says the design of its product isn’t necessarily the sole cause for infections. LA Times article


Summer of the metal bird: Airlines expect a record season — A record number of travelers are expected to take to the skies this summer thanks to a rebounding economy. U.S. airlines will carry 222 million passengers between June 1 and Aug. 31, topping the summer of 2007 when 217.6 million people flew, Airlines for America, the industry’s trade and lobbying group, predicted Monday. That figure includes 31 million travelers on international flights, also a record. AP article

Other areas

 Stockton councilman: No good options on salary issue — City Councilman Dan Wright was asked Monday afternoon to discuss the vote he will be casting tonight on the festering issue of Mayor Anthony Silva’s salary, and he freely admitted he feels he has no good options. Stockton Record article

 After a year, San Jose still struggles to enforce pot rules – A year after San Jose officials adopted rules making it one of the state’s largest cities to establish a framework allowing medical marijuana shops, city leaders are trying to cajole pot stores to meet compliance deadlines and residents to be patient. San Jose Mercury News article


Bakersfield will draft ordinance against space, bath salts – Bakersfield will draft an ordinance criminalizing the illegal drugs bath salts and spice, after a City Council committee called Monday for a local alternative to existing state law and proposed legislation. Bakersfield Californian article

 Stanislaus County judge avoids the witness stand in contempt-of-court case – Attorneys on Monday agreed to a stipulation that kept a Stanislaus County judge off the witness stand in a contempt-of-court hearing for a chief prosecutor and an investigator. Modesto Bee article

 Jeff Jardine: Souliotes’ ‘legal odyssey’ resumes in federal court – Nearly two years ago, George Souliotes walked out of the Stanislaus County jail a free man. A federal judge in 2013 overturned his conviction on murder and arson charges from a 1997 fire that killed three of his tenants. Acting as his own attorney, Souliotes is suing the Modesto police and fire departments in federal court, charging that those agencies violated his civil rights in their investigations that led to his 1999 mistrial and 2000 conviction. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Tulare County considers library Wi-Fi grant – Only three libraries in Tulare County currently offer free Wi-Fi access to patrons. But the county Board of Supervisors could take steps today that may change that. They’ll vote on whether to give the county library system authority to apply for a $3,500 grant that would be used to pay for publicly-accessible Wi-Fi at six rural libraries in the county. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Dean Potter, who died Saturday in Yosemite BASE jumping accident, remembered as innovator — Fellow extreme rock climbers remember Dean Potter, who died Saturday in a Yosemite National Park BASE jumping accident, as a legend and innovator. Fresno Bee article; AP article; LA Times article; ‘Video: Watch Dean Potter’s most high-profile jumps and climbs’ in LA Times;San Francisco Chronicle article

 Homeless man helps shelters provide a basic need: Wi-Fi — Darcel Jackson plans to partner with tech companies to connect San Francisco shelters to the Internet. KQED report

Valley Editorial Roundup

Modesto Bee – As tax revenue surges, Gov. Jerry Brown is providing lawmakers with a revised spending plan that charts a sensible course between conflicting priorities.

Sacramento Bee – Eight decades after the repeal of Prohibition, California’s protectionist laws regulating alcohol sales need to a vast overhaul; The burden of proof is squarely on Mayor Kevin Johnson to justify increasing the size of his staff from seven to 12.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers on some dog owners sorely lacking, a nice honor for Stockton Early College Academy, and other issues.

Upcoming Events

 Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler will speak to the League of Women Voters of Tulare County at the Lamp Liter Inn in Visalia on Tuesday, May 19, at noon.  His topic: “State Politics, Valley Implications.” RSVP by May 14.  More information:  (559) 732-1251 or


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 challengeThe 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 

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.

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.

 Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!

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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