May 28, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 John Myers: California budget fight: Predictions more than programs — In the post-recession era of California budgets, there’s wide consensus that the state needs to “live within its means,” a jab at the spending that paved the way for almost a decade of deficits. But it’s also a talking point that seems almost obsolete, given how the spending saga is now overshadowed by who gets to define the “means.” It’s a change in the budget debate that, so far, seems to have further strengthened the hand of the governor. Myers in KQED

 Fewer immigrants are entering the U.S. illegally, and that’s changed the border security debate – As the Department of Homeland Security continues to pour money into border security, evidence is emerging that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. The nation’s population of illegal immigrants, which more than tripled, to 12.2 million, between 1990 and 2007, has dropped by about 1 million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center. Washington Post article

 State budget

 California budget proposal raises questions of vaccine bill retaliation — Assembly Republicans want to know if Legislative Democrats are using their state budget proposals to punish a medical group that opposes California’s controversial vaccine bill.  Capital Public Radio report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Joe Mathews: Harris v. Sanchez is a tale of two Californias — This is a choice about identity, personality and culture. This is about who you are. And where you live.  Mathews in Sacramento Bee



State prosecutors host Ceres public forum on federal immigration programs — The state Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday announced it will host a series of public forums, including one Saturday in Ceres, where immigrants can learn about federal programs created to help them avoid deportation. The forums also will offer information about potential scams.Modesto Bee article

 Other areas


Once aided by courts, can Latino politicians survive Supreme Court act? — The U.S. Supreme Court’s unexpected decision to take up a Texas voting case poses perhaps the most acute threat in a generation to Latino political strength in California. But how much of the threat actually materializes is decidedly less known. In a situation rife with questions, one of the most ironic is this: Have Latino politicians, whose success was helped along by supportive court actions decades ago, become so ubiquitous that they can succeed regardless of new court decisions that might otherwise lessen their strength? LA Times article

 Dan Morain: Defining what’s acceptable for Democrats – The California Democratic Party and its main benefactor, organized labor, are making clear what it means to be a Democrat, and who might not be welcome. Morain in Sacramento Bee

 Dan Walters: Are chiropractors being punished for opposing vaccination bill? – Is it payback time for chiropractors for opposing a highly controversial mandatory vaccination bill? Both legislative versions of the state budget appropriate tens of millions of extra dollars to erase a 10 percent reduction in payments to those who provide medical care to the state’s poor under the Medi-Cal program. Walters in Sacramento Bee

 Modesto rally: Parents say vaccination bill would discriminate against their kids – A group of parents marched Wednesday in downtown Modesto to protest a state bill that would require vaccinations before children attend school. The parents said Senate Bill 277 would deny their children’s constitutional right to education and discriminate against families that make personal decisions about vaccinations.  Modesto Bee article

 Sacramento Bee: A refresher course in civics – Going back to the crash of 2008, speakers made a practice of acting on their own to funnel some millions allocated for Assembly operations to fund their favorite projects. Worthy though the projects may have been, the method of payment was not. Sacramento Bee editorial

 Elizabeth Wallner: Dying patients deserve to decide their last days – The single mother from Sacramento writes, “I believe all Californians should have the option to make end-of-life decisions that are right for them in the final stages of a terminal illness. While this option may not be for everyone, I believe it should be available to Californians who seek it.”  Wallner op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Marylee Shrider: ‘Bully bill’ forces pregnancy centers to promote state-funded abortions – The executive director of Right to Life of Kern County writes, “Less than a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court found that engaging in business doesn’t demand the surrender of speech and faith freedoms. Still, that hasn’t stopped a gaggle of state legislators from trying to impose on pregnancy centers a law mandating they promote abortion services.” Shrider op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

 Californians say they’re better off, but still down on state’s economy – Although far more California voters say they are better off financially than they were a year ago, most remain pessimistic about the state’s broader economy, according to a new Field Poll. Sacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article

 Hopes rise for a strong El Niño to ease California drought — El Niños have been responsible for two of California’s wettest and most destructive rainy seasons: the winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98. Now, experts say, a potentially powerful El Niño this winter could be the beginning of the end of the drought.  LA Times article


Jobs and the Economy

 Sacramento City Council approves budget with 5 additional employees for Mayor Kevin Johnson — The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday endorsed a budget that boosts spending on firefighters, police officers and parks. But it also pushes the city toward a deficit that may hit as soon as 2017, according to city projections. Sacramento Bee article


Drilling cutbacks drag down job growth in oil patch – Hammered by cheaper oil, drilling firms have laid off workers and dragged job growth lower in states from Texas to North Dakota.AP article

 Hope for shuttered Stockton library? – Though not quite the reopening dreamed of by advocates, the future of the shuttered Fair Oaks Library took a baby step forward Wednesday night.Stockton Record article

 Rob Lapsley: State’s economy depends on Latino schooling – The president of the California Business Roundtable writes, “California can’t succeed as a world-class economy and state if we leave behind half of the population. Education leaders, legislators and the governor need to work together to address these issues of now.” Lapsley op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 Movie theater may have eyes on downtown Hanford – Could downtown Hanford have a brand new 12-screen movie theater in its near future? Former mayor and councilman Dan Chin told the City Council last week that a developer is interested in building such a facility in downtown. Chin said he received a phone call prior to the council’s May 19 meeting to discuss the project.Hanford Sentinel article

 Storyland-Playland to re-open in September – Fresno’s Storyland and Playland amusement parks could re-open by mid-September. The head of the new Storyland-Playland board thinks the parks can return to profitability.  KVPR report

 FCC chief seeks broadband plan to aid the poor – For 30 years, the federal government has helped millions of low-income Americans pay their phone bills, saying that telephone service is critical to summoning medical help, seeking work and, ultimately, climbing out of poverty. Now, the nation’s top communications regulator will propose offering those same people subsidized access to broadband Internet. New York Times article

 Uber will set up its headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission Bay — Uber will start construction in the fall on its new Mission Bay campus, a corporate headquarters development that will eventually be able to accommodate more than 3,000 workers.  San Francisco Chronicle article

 Sacramento still fighting as Major League Soccer explores expansion – As Major League Soccer’s expansion derby continues, the league’s top officials have made the rounds in recent days, from Los Angeles to St. Louis to Miami. And the leadership team behind Sacramento’s expansion efforts wants everyone to know the city is still ready to leap into the nation’s premiere pro soccer circuit.  Sacramento Bee article

 State regulators to consider changing electricity rate structure – Residents in Southern California’s hotter regions would get some relief from the overly high electric rates they’ve been paying under a proposed decision that’s being considered by state regulators, but an alternative proposal would keep rates high. LA Daily News article

 San Diego city, county prepping for stadium talks – San Diego’s stadium negotiating team, which spent four hours Wednesday afternoon preparing for talks with the Chargers scheduled to begin on Tuesday, said it faces unusual circumstances but is still well-equipped to succeed.  San Diego Union-Tribune article

 Janitors at Ross to share $1 million settlement – More than 2,400 janitors at Ross Dress for Less stores in California will share $1 million in the settlement of a lawsuit that accused the retailer and its contractor of cheating them out of minimum wages and overtime. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Carter & Co. marks five-year anniversary, ag expansion — Holly Carter, president and founder of Carter & Co. Communications, marked the fifth anniversary of her public relations firm with a ribbon cutting ceremony held Wednesday morning outside her Central Fresno office. The Business Journal article

 Tacos Ensenada weathers economic storm — Juan Calderon and wife Tannia Pamela Morales opened Tacos Ensenada in the middle of a steep recession and had some tense moments when business was slow due to consumers’ lack of confidence in the economy. After riding out a lean couple of years, the Calderons are now doing well enough to think about expanding to a second location. Visalia Times-Delta article



 Watering schedule changes in Visalia, Tulare – The outdoor watering schedule in Visalia is going from two to three times a week, starting Monday. Also starting Monday, Tulare’s watering schedule will go down from three times to twice weekly, the first local move adopted in an attempt to meet state-mandated water consumption reductions. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Some water for Friant approved for reclamation — At least local water districts will not have another zero allocation year from the Friant-Kern Canal it was announced recently. The Bureau of Reclamation and water users inCalifornia’s Central Valley have forged an agreement that will bring some much-needed Central Valley Project water supplies to farmers in the CVP’s Friant Division this summer. The deal was announced earlier this month.  Visalia Times-Delta article

 Oakland startup tries to change the value of water — Here’s how it works: Water customers give MeterHero access to their utility accounts online. MeterHero tracks current usage and gives rebates to those who use less than they did before — $1 for every 100 gallons conserved. The rebates give some extra value to water and create a tangible incentive for using less.KQED report

 San Jose Water Company to allow extra drought allocations to larger families — Silicon Valley’s largest water company is changing how it will roll out some of the state’s strictest water conservation rules to address complaints that the new per-household allocations unfairly penalize large families.  San Jose Mercury News article

 EPA plans temporary pesticide restrictions while bees feed – If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. AP article

 UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta’s story to be featured at Smithsonian — The accolades keep coming for Bakersfield resident Dolores Huerta, a pillar of the agricultural labor movement of the 1960s and ’70s. She’ll be featured starting this summer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  Bakersfield Californian article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Kamala Harris disagrees with statewide police body-camera regulations — Joining fellow law enforcement officials Wednesday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she doesn’t believe there should be statewide standards regulating the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.  Capitol Alert; LA Times article


Fresno County jail inmate lawsuit settled — A settlement has been reached in a federal class action lawsuit filed by a group of Fresno County Jail inmates who claimed the jail failed to properly medicate or protect mentally ill patients. Fresno Bee article

 Advocates seek to end solitary confinement options for young offenders – State legislators are pushing to pass a bill by summer’s end that would eliminate solitary confinement for juveniles except for detainees who become a physical threat to themselves or others — and prohibiting it even in those cases if the threat is caused by a mental illness. If the bill becomes law, California will join a national trend moving away from solitary confinement for juveniles. LA Times article

 Stockton Record: Wanton violence must be halted – This isn’t about homicide “numbers” and whether we’re up or down compared to years past. This is about insane criminal behavior that both scares the heck out of citizens and tears down our community.  Stockton Record editorial

 Stockton Record: Thorough review needed for K-9 attack — Somehow, a dog got free from a training exercise and a woman was bitten. That simply cannot happen, and the Stockton Police Department must seek out the reasons and make sure such an incident does not happen again. Stockton Record article

 Fallen police officers honored in Merced County — Sixteen peace officers have been killed in the line of duty in Merced County over the last 100 years. Merced Sun-Star article



 CSU Stanislaus celebrates golden graduation year at Turlock campus – This year marks a half-century of commencements on the north Turlock campus. Fifty years ago, graduates filled the Vasché Library, one of two buildings standing on the newly built Stanislaus State College on Monte Vista Avenue. Some 25 tons of library books were to be moved in the following week.Modesto Bee article

 New ‘tree’ takes root at CSU Bakersfield — With a trunk and branches made of metal pipes welded together, the newest tree on the campus of CSUB won’t require any water and is unlikely to provide much shade. What it should provide, though, is intellectual stimulation, provoking thought as students go from class to class. Bakersfield Californian article


Fresno Unified trustees eye big investment in career programs – Career technical education programs could be the big winner under Fresno Unified’s $801 million proposed spending plan for next school year, which was hashed out but not voted on at the district’s school board meeting Wednesday night.  Fresno Bee article

 Fresno, Clovis, Visalia, Bakersfield schools get money for career education — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson awarded $244 million in grants statewide Wednesday to 40 programs that blend academic and career technical education, connect employers with schools, and train students for jobs in high-demand fields.  Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Bakersfield Californian article

 Schools require emergency allergy medicine, but doctors balk – Up and down the state, doctors have declined to write prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors for districts, citing liability concerns and derailing the promise of the law. A February survey of 408 school nurses by the California School Nurses Organization found that 57 percent had been unable to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors for their district, calling the inability to find a doctor to write a prescription a major obstacle. EdSource article

 To curb bullying, ‘Who are the Sikhs?’ film debuts at Kerman High – Standing before a Kerman High School class on Wednesday, Raj Sra talked about being the only Punjabi kid at his Tulare schools growing up. He was called many names. Fresno Bee article

 Don Pedro PTA in Ceres wraps its arms around school needs, parent involvement — The number of parents pitching in to help at Don Pedro Elementary has been growing, helped by a dedicated couple leading the school’s PTA and a decision to include preschool parents in the mix. Modesto Bee article

 Modesto students outfox principal by reaching reading goal — In support of student success, Jim Mendonça has gone from kissing a goat to dancing like a fox. He greatly preferred the latter. Modesto Bee article



 Going clean – Here’s one advantage to being “disadvantaged”: Millions of dollars have been set aside to help San Joaquin Valley communities dispose of older, polluting vehicles in favor of newer, cleaner ones. The pilot program, launched by state officials on Wednesday, awards the largest incentives to the poorest residents in the most polluted neighborhoods — up to $12,000 to help a family upgrade to a fully electric vehicle, in the most generous case. Stockton Record article

 Clean-car trade in program launches with Capitol truck demolition – A $4.8 million pilot, expected to replace about 600 cars, is currently rolling out in the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast air districts. The Air Resources Board plans to expand the program, which is funded by cap-and-trade auction revenue, by about 10 times next year. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

 Feds order pipeline company to clean up Santa Barbara coastline — Federal authorities Wednesday issued a cleanup order to the company whose underground pipeline spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific last week, marring several miles of Santa Barbara County coastline. LA Times article

 HECA project may scrap oil component — For years, one of the central ideas behind a clean coal plant proposed in western Kern County was that its byproduct carbon dioxide would be used to promote nearby oil production. But this week for the first time, Hydrogen Energy California said the $4 billion project’s oil field tie-in might be taken off the table, possibly undermining a key component that helped bring the proposal to Kern in the first place. Bakersfield Californian article

 El Nino’s latest trick: Another calmer hurricane season – The same developing El Niño that may have helped unleash massive, deadly floods on Oklahoma and Texas this week — and the same El Niño that could summon rains to drought-scorched California next winter — is expected to bring another relatively quiet hurricane season for the eastern U.S. this summer. LA Times article

 Jeff Jardine: Will earthquake movie preview be the real thing? — Coming to a theater near you – but only if the theater still exists – the premiere of the earthquake disaster film titled “San Andreas.” The reason I added “if the theater still exists” is because some prognosticators are suggesting a 9.8-magnitude earthquake actually will knock down a good chunk of the state sometime Thursday, meaning the real thing will come before the projectors start rolling on Friday. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Health/Human Services

 Davis requires milk, water to be first option with kids’ meals — Part of nationwide efforts to discourage obesity in children, the city of Davis is requiring restaurants to first offer milk or water – not soda – with kids’ meals. Sacramento Bee article



State panel seeks ideas in Fresno on road priorities, gas tax alternatives State and regional transportation leaders spent Wednesday afternoon in Fresno hearing people talk about the greatest needs for highway and road maintenance in the central San Joaquin Valley. And on Friday, those leaders will be listening for ideas about how on the state, counties and cities are supposed to pay for those needs.  Fresno Bee article

 California could soon legalize motorcycle lane-splitting – Motorcycle lane-splitting — the rush-hour time saver for bikers that enrages many drivers — may be poised for formal legalization. California would be the first state to sanction the traffic-evading tactic, already widespread on traffic-choked freeways of Los Angeles. LA Times article

 Caltrans downplays latest Bay Bridge rod failure — Another steel rod anchoring the foundation of the new Bay Bridge eastern span tower failed a critical strength test, Caltrans officials acknowledged Wednesday, and two sources close to the bridge project told The Chronicle it made a popping noise, suggesting a crack.  San Francisco Chronicle article; Contra Costa Times article

 Other areas

 City of Fresno rejects controversial bus banner – An ad that a local non-profit group wants to run on city buses is the center of controversy, after Fresno officials say it’s too political. As FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the group wants more parkland in older parts of town.  KVPR report

 Bakersfield shuts down Union Avenue homeless encampment – On Wednesday, crews from the City of Bakersfield closed down a homeless encampment on South Union Avenue that many residents had called home for years. Homeless advocates estimate that at the close, around 24 people lived in the encampment. Officials estimate that all but five found some sort of housing, either through shelters, programs or with family members. KVPR report

 After years of setbacks, embattled F-35 fighter jet could soon be ready for combat – For the Marine Corps, the flights the F-35s have been taking around the USS Wasp for the past week have been as much a victory lap as they were training exercises. And in the days ahead, as the stealthy fighter jets begin their first operational tests from a ship — tactical exercises designed to simulate Top Gun-like engagements — the Marine Corps will move one step closer to declaring that the F-35 is ready for combat.  Washington Post article

 Kevin Valine: Modesto council was right to delay vote on red-light cameras – It’s good that the council hit the pause button because police officials did not provide the council with enough information to make a decision. Valine in Modesto Bee

 Andreas Borgeas: Fresno County steps up for jury duty – The Fresno County supervisor writes, “There are a number of reasons the participation rate is higher in Fresno but not least among them is the court system’s willingness to work with the people responding to their civic duty.”  Borgeas op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Porterville girl goes 2-for-2 in National Spelling Bee prelims – Sameera Hussain, a sixth-grader from Porterville’s Westfield Elementary School, correctly spelled her first two words Wednesday in the live rounds of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling BeeFresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

 FCC moves to crack down on unwanted robocalls — Regulators want to make it easier for consumers to stop unwanted robocalls and spam text messages, which have led to a flood of complaints to federal agencies.  LA Times article

 Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – Don’t send U.S. ground troops to Iraq; President Obama’s bee report has a hole in it.


Sacramento Bee – Soccer’s governing body needs a thorough housecleaning. Going back to the crash of 2008, speakers made a practice of acting on their own to funnel some millions allocated for Assembly operations to fund their favorite projects. Worthy though the projects may have been, the method of payment was not.


Stockton RecordWanton violence in Stockton must be halted; Somehow, a dog got free from a training exercise and a woman was bitten. That simply cannot happen, and the Stockton Police Department must seek out the reasons and make sure such an incident does not happen again.


 Upcoming Events

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is hosting an Industry Forum on Wednesday, June 10, from 1-3 p.m. in the Wasco Veterans Hall.  The event is for businesses interested in working on the next 22-mile phase of construction in the Central Valley.  Information and registration:


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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