May 3, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Democrats think this might be the year Jerry Brown loosens his grip on state spending – Gov. Jerry Brown has long warned that the state’s budget bonanza of recent years, fueled by a windfall of income tax revenues, is destined to sputter out — a mantra that’s helped deflect many of his fellow Democrats‘ spending demands. But now, even as April tax revenues missed their mark by $1 billion, there’s a perception at the state Capitol of a slight opening in Brown’s otherwise airtight argument. LA Times article

Spending by outside groups revs up in California legislative races — Oil companies, charter schools, construction unions and other special interests have pumped more than $3.5 million into California legislative races ahead of the June 7 election, with more than half the spending reported in the past week. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown

 Jerry Brown fires back at Florida Gov. Rick Scott — With Florida Gov. Rick Scott arriving in California on Monday in a bid to lure companies to his state, California Gov. Jerry Brown lashed back, urging him to “stop the silly political stunts and start doing something about climate change.” Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article‘Video: Jerry Brown on Florida: Check your sinking land, humidity, bugs’ in Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown calls Donald Trump’s success ‘strange’ phenomenon — Three days after Republican frontrunner Donald Trump left California – and protests that surrounded his appearances here – Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday called the Republican presidential frontrunner’s success in the GOP primary a “strange” phenomenon, accusing Trump of exploiting voters’ anxieties and fears. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Opportunities, empowerment: San Joaquin County supervisor candidates speak on top concerns – All five candidates for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors’ District 1 seat said they want to improve public safety, the economy, access to mental health and education at a forum held at San Joaquin Delta College’s North Forum on Monday night. Stockton Record article

Modesto Bee: Tough choice to make in Stanislaus supervisor’s race — If we must choose one now, it’s Jim DeMartini. He puts enormous effort into his job, works hard for constituents and frequently makes good policy decisions. He’s been a good supervisor and has earned the right to continue. Modesto Bee editorial

Fant damaged but not done in Stockton City Council race — City Council candidate Sam Fant spent Monday afternoon being arraigned on felony election-fraud charges and Monday evening trying to convince voters he’s the best choice for south Stockton. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Group seeking to extend California tax increases raises $12 million — An initiative campaign seeking to extend a temporary tax increase on the wealthy says it raised about $12 million in the most recent quarter. AP article


Drug tunnelers often found, so smugglers cutting costs – In just a single month this spring, U.S. immigration officials uncovered three cross-border drug tunnels, the latest of more than 75 cross-border tunnels discovered in the past five years. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Trump’s been talking about a border wall.  Here’s what it’s like to live with one — Saturday brought Perla Martinez three minutes of joy, a temporary pause in a long, painful separation.”It’s really emotional,” said Martinez, a Denver resident, wiping away tears while standing on the U.S. side of the fence separating San Diego and Tijuana. From about 12:20 to 12:23 p.m., she had stood in an open gate at the border to embrace her parents, Mexican citizens Maria Granadoz and Salvador Martinez Hernandez. LA Times article

Other areas

Jerry Brown gets bill for registration of state contract advocates – Communicating with government officials to try to win California state contracts would be considered lobbying under legislation the Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday despite opposition from the state’s campaign-finance watchdog. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

State Rep. Mike Gatto: ‘Digital divide’ bill will rip off California taxpayers – The Los Angeles Democrat writes, “Should the Legislature levy a tax on your phone bill to raise $500 million to bring high-speed broadband to ‘unserved’ and ‘low-income’ households? The way Barbara O’Connor describes it, this program is as appealing as apple pie (“To prosper, state must close the digital divide,” Viewpoints, April 28). The facts, however, might make you choke on your slice.” Gatto op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California Senate votes to remove mandatory jail for prostitution — The California Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would remove mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat prostitution offenses. Sacramento Bee article

State senator calls for ban on private meetings with coastal commissioners to ‘level the playing field’ – It’s become a familiar sight during the California Coastal Commission’s three-day meetings. Members of the powerful panel can be seen huddling with developers or their representatives in hallways, in the back of the hearing room or outside during breaks. LA Times article

California prepares for long-denied star turn in presidential race — This is the most populous state in the nation, but in presidential elections, it has almost always found itself on the sidelines. The last time a Republican primary in California mattered was 52 years ago, when the party nominated Barry Goldwater. But California will finally play an important role in the drama of presidential politics. New York Times article

Joel Fox: Presidential candidates address economy and jobs at GOP convention – Economy and jobs are the top issues for Americans and Californians in most polls so how did the Republican presidential candidates address those issues when speaking at the California GOP convention over the weekend? Fox in Fox & Hounds

From rising Republican star to Hillary Clinton delegate — California Democrats picked delegates to the party’s national convention in Philadelphia over the weekend and at least one Hillary Clinton supporter’s name will sound familiar to people in Sacramento. That would be Nathan Fletcher, the former GOP assemblyman from San Diego who for years was touted as major player in the future of the Republican Party in California. LA Times article 

Joe Altschule: My crystal ball: Trump still ignorant, crass and crude – The least of Trumps problems is reaching a majority of delegate votes. Two more serious major problems loom ahead of him. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

Tom Fife: My crystal ball shows Trump clinching nomination June 7 — Today, I’ll look into my political crystal ball and reveal some of the future between now and Election Day … For instance, I see 10 p.m., PDT, June 7: Donald Trump has run the tables in California, Montana, New Jersey and even carried New Mexico and South Dakota, two states he was expected to lose. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta 

Norman Haughness: Trump underscores shift from Left vs. Right to Up vs. Down — In light of Donald Trump’s approval ratings in the 2016 primaries and caucuses thus far, American politics may require a reassessment of the continuing validity of its traditional dichotomy of Left versus Right. Haughness op-ed in Tehachapi News

State senators adjourn in memory of ex-Schwarzenegger advisor Julie Soderlund – Three state senators rose Monday to adjourn the day’s session in honor of Julie Soderlund, a public affairs professional and former aide to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who died late last week. She was 38. LA Times article

Hunger strikers won’t meet with San Francisco mayor, except on their terms — A group of activists who are 12 days into a hunger strike to demand that Police Chief Greg Suhr be fired or resign refused to meet with Mayor Ed Lee on Monday after he unexpectedly dropped by the Mission Police Station, where they are camping. San Francisco Chronicle article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

 California’s population nears 40 million, up less than 1 percent — California gained 348,000 residents in 2015, bringing its population to 39.3 million, the state Department of Finance’s demographers reported Monday. The annual growth rate, just under 1 percent, follows a recent pattern and is less than half of what it was during the state’s most recent population boom in the 1980s. It indicates that California will hit 40 million in about three years. Sacramento Bee article

Full Medi-Cal coverage extended to undocumented children — Beginning this month, undocumented children are eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage for the first time in California, and health centers and nonprofit agencies in the central San Joaquin Valley are ready to enroll them. Fresno Bee article 

High-speed rail plans Madera stop — After the better part of a decade complaining about being a “fly-by” area on California’s proposed high-speed train system, Madera is poised to be another stop on the bullet-train line. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Porterville, Clovis lead central San Joaquin Valley in population growth in 2015 — Porterville was the fastest-growing city in California last year, and Clovis, which was one of the fastest-growing cities in 2014, cracked the top 10 again. But the two cities were in the top 10 of cities above 30,000 for different reasons. Fresno Bee article 

Merced County sees its population rise – Like many cities across the state, all six of Merced County’s cities added residents in the past year, state officials said Monday. The county added 2,299 people to top out at a population of 271,579. The city of Merced grew by more than 800 to reach 83,962, while Los Banos tallied 689 more residents to reach 39,359. Merced Sun-Star article

Will California really lose 700,000 jobs because of $15 minimum wage? – Republican governors often come to California to try to lure companies away to their state, but now they have a new talking point; the state’s $15 minimum wage that will take effect in 2022, which means the cost of labor in California will be significantly higher. KPCC report 

Merced caregivers want pay raise to more than minimum wage – The union representing 2,100 workers who provide home care assistance to low-income Merced County residents is pressing for a new contract that would boost their pay to more than minimum wage and guarantee them health coverage. Merced Sun-Star article

Merced wants mediation to decide tax-sharing with county – The city of Merced took its first step Monday towards calling in a third party to help hammer out a tax-sharing deal with Merced County. The council unanimously agreed to give City Manager Steve Carrigan the leeway to meet with county leaders and pick a mediator in the hopes that the city can move forward with development, particularly on land near UC Merced. Merced Sun-Star article

Tourists spend $1.4 billion in Fresno County in 2015 – Visitors to Fresno County ended up spending more than $1.1 billion at hotels, restaurants, stores and gas stations during 2015. That was the lion’s share of the $1.4 billion in spending generated by the travel and tourism industries in the county last year, and the highest it’s been in the past two decades. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article 

Tourism growth seen statewide, in San Joaquin County – Travel and tourism in California continued to grow in 2015, rising 3.4 percent to $122 billion, Visit California, the nonprofit travel promotion organization, reported Monday. Visitor spending alone gained 3.1 percent, rising to $112 billion last year. The study also found similar increases for San Joaquin County’s visitor industry. Stockton Record article

Oakland looks to bring pot industry out of the shadows, raise revenue – Oakland’s medical marijuana industry may be big and proud and pioneering, but much of it still operates in the shadows — with growers, manufacturers, delivery drivers and unsanctioned dispensaries operating outside the bounds of city oversight, inspections and taxation. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Expect to pay more for gas this week – Get ready to open up your wallet a little more at the pump. The national average for gas went up about 8 cents this week to $2.22 a gallon, according to, an online gas price trackerMcClatchy Newspapers articleMerced Sun-Star article

Paul McCartney booked as first show for Golden 1 Center — A member of rock ‘n’ roll royalty will inaugurate the upcoming home of the Sacramento Kings. Sir Paul McCartney will perform at Golden 1 Center on Oct. 4, marking the first event at the $518.8 million sports arena and events center rising at 5th and L Streets. Sacramento Bee article 

Hop aboard for books: $4 million needed to fund new Clovis Regional Library – The Fresno County Public Library is asking the community to jump aboard the fundraising efforts for the new Clovis Library. The fundraising campaign, On Track for the New Clovis Library, needs to garner about $4 million in donations to provide the furniture, fixtures and interior work of the proposed 30,000-square-foot building. Clovis Independent article

Waterfront Friday to help launch new retailers – Retailers, food vendors, artists and performers, particularly start-up businesses hoping to try out new products or concepts, are invited to participate in Waterfront Fridays, a new series of public events. Stockton Record article

Study: U.S. manufacturing again grew in April – U.S. manufacturing expanded in April for the second straight month, suggesting that factories are adapting to a strong dollar and economic weakness overseas, according to a private survey. AP article

Second count shows Empire voters rejected sidewalks, drainage plan – A proposal for $4.5 million in sidewalk and drainage improvements was not so popular with Empire folks, after all. Elizabeth King, clerk of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, said there was a misplaced decimal point on one ballot, which changed the outcome of the Empire property owners’ vote counted last week. Modesto Bee article 

Modesto council to hear Budgetel appeal over unpaid taxes – The Modesto City Council on Tuesday will hear an appeal from the Budgetel Inn & Suites over a city decision that it owes more than $100,000 in unpaid lodging taxes and penalties. Modesto Bee article

Cal Fire’s solution: More paper – With his department still recovering from scandal, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott recently issued a message to all his employees: Be good – and read six documents that define “good.” Sacramento Bee article 

Foon Rhee: Let’s spread the wealth on big day of giving – If you work or volunteer with a local nonprofit, Tuesday is a red-letter day on your calendar. It’s the third annual Big Day of Giving, a 24-hour online fundraising blitz that is putting the Sacramento region on the map for its generosity. Nearly two-thirds of donations are between $25 and $50, so it really is philanthropy from the grass roots. Rhee in Sacramento Bee 

Gannett asks Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold support for board nominees – Gannett is ramping up its efforts to acquire Tribune Publishing by going directly to shareholders, but not going so far as to initiate a hostile takeover bid for the Chicago-based publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. LA Times article


Ruling snags push for Hetch Hetchy restoration – The group trying to erase Hetch Hetchy Reservoir from Yosemite National Park has lost a round in court. Modesto Bee article

Tulare supervisors to consider agreement with ag department — The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will consider approving a $222,000 agreement with state officials to pay for local citrus inspection during the upcoming fiscal year. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Supreme Court justice blasts California’s death penalty as flawed — A Supreme Court justice on Monday blasted California’s slow-moving death penalty process, but that was not enough to save convicted murderer Richard Delmer Boyer. In a passionately worded solo dissent, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said California’s systemic capital-punishment problems were sufficiently serious to consider Boyer’s challenge to a penalty initially imposed in 1984. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article 

Six patrol cars damaged, two arrested at Stockton sideshow – Six police patrol cars were damaged as officers dispersed an unruly crowd at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Hunter Street just after 5 p.m. Sunday. No officers were injured as a crowd estimated at between 100 and 200 held sideshow activities and refused to disperse. Some threw rocks and bottles at officers, although none were reported injured. Stockton Record article

San Francisco jail program aims to find common ground between victims, perpetrators – For 18 years, the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno has run a program aimed at keeping inmates from committing more crimes. It invites victims to meet with perpetrators, with the idea that hearing the voices of victims will force perpetrators to face their own actions. The meetings can be hard, but healing — especially when they’re between father and son. KQED report 

Respected Delano kindergarten teacher is victim in double homicide — A respected Delano kindergarten teacher was one of two victims in Saturday’s double homicide in northwest Bakersfield, law enforcement and school district sources said Monday. Kim Higginbotham and her husband Christopher Tare Higginbotham, both 48 of Bakersfield, were found dead at home at 1:24 a.m. Saturday, when Bakersfield Police Department officers responded to a report of suspicious circumstances. Bakersfield Californian article

Three high-level gang members sentenced for Stanislaus County crimes – Two high-ranking Nuestra Familia gang members from Modesto were sentenced Monday for racketeering offenses, related to crimes committed in Stanislaus County including robberies, assaults and drug dealing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A third defendant, and one of the highest ranking members of the gang, was sentenced last month. Modesto Bee article

The unforgotten voices — As a firefighter, Richard Gaylord is no stranger to risking his life to save another. His outstanding bravery in 2008, however, had nothing to do with fighting fires. Instead, Gaylord was honored Monday during Tulare County Superior Court’s Law Day celebration because of his duty as a witness that helped solve a crime. Visalia Times-Delta article

Racial slurs by law enforcement are a legacy that’s becoming more acceptable — Recent controversies over emails and texts show how the intense scrutiny currently faced by police officers has extended beyond their actions on patrol and into communications that some thought were private. LA Times article


Teachers: Superintendent’s rhetoric may impact applicant pool – A local superintendent’s recent public remarks about the “laziness” of his teaching staff are raising questions about how it might impact the district’s future applicant pool, especially amid union threats of mass resignations and a statewide teacher shortage that has hit the San Joaquin Valley especially hard. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced College awarded $1.5 million grant to train instructors – Merced College has been awarded a $1.5 million grant through the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, officials said Monday. The Basic Skills Student Outcomes and Transformation Grant will allow Merced College to provide innovative approaches to remediation and placement, which could increase student completion of transfer-level courses, according to instructional Dean Vince Piro. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Davis Academic Senate disputes conflict-of-interest allegation against chancellor – The son of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was not working directly for her daughter-in-law, contrary to what was alleged  last week when Katehi was abruptly put on administrative leave, according to a review by the university’s Academic Senate. LA Times article

UC regent violated ethics rules, review finds — A doctor on the University of California’s Board of Regents has been allowed to keep his seat despite a secret investigation that concluded he violated ethics rules by trying to strike a financially beneficial deal between his eye clinics and UCLA, part of the university system the regents oversee. KPCC report

San Diego State officials agree to review free-speech policies after outcry over anti-Muslim fliers — After a protest over posters on campus that linked Muslim students to terrorism, San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman on Monday agreed that school policies should be reviewed to ensure a balance between free speech and safety. LA Times article

Ethnic studies gaining momentum after slow growth in California school districts — An expansion of ethnic studies courses in some of California’s largest school districts is changing the way thousands of students are learning about the historical contributions of a wide range of racial and ethnic groups. EdSource article


Dean Florez: No excuse for failing air quality grades; let’s move forward – The former state lawmaker and current member of the California Air Resources Board writes, “Now that we have the strategy for cutting super pollutants in hand, I think the time has come for some focused public discussion on how best to make it work. Rather than making excuses for failing air quality grades, let’s move forward together with a firm commitment to make sure that the air our children breathe gets a passing — and healthy — grade.” Florez op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

New life emerging from Rough fire – Even in areas where fires burned hot enough to scorch tree roots, new growth is emerging in patches on the ash-covered ground. And even in areas where flames tore through forests, some islands of still-living tees and brush can be found. Visalia Times-Delta article

How El Nino may have amped up fire risk in So Cal — Southern California’s winter rains were few and far between, but researchers think there was just enough moisture to spur the growth of easily ignited grasses — raising the specter of an active fire season. KPCC report

Eradication of ‘sudden oak death’ disease is no longer possible in California – For the last two decades, California and the federal government have faced harsh criticism for failing to take stronger actions to stop a highly contagious disease that has killed millions of trees along coastal regions from Big Sur to portions of Oregon. Now, a new computer modeling study suggests that the “sudden oak death” epidemic, which emerged in 1995, has grown too big and is spreading too fast to eradicate statewide. LA Times article

Move to return grizzly bears to California will be an uphill push — Who says the grizzly bear has vanished from California? On the contrary, it’s nearly ubiquitous in the Golden State—on everything from the state flag to T-shirts and coffee mugs. Of course, the bears themselves have been absent for nearly a century. KQED report
Health/Human Services 

Covered California keeps premiums in check, UC Berkeley study finds – Covered California’s Obamacare exchange has helped consumers get a better deal on health insurance in part because of its negotiating power — power that other Affordable Care Act marketplaces don’t have — according to a new analysis published Monday. KQED report

Measure H nears end – Visalia’s Al Weese dropped off his Measure H ballot at the Tulare County Election’s Office late Monday morning, doing his part to have his voice heard. Votes are action, Weese said. And those who don’t vote might as well be mute. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Tulare hospital puts bond measure up for vote – Tulare Local Health Care District leaders decided Monday to ask voters to approve a $55 million bond measure to finish a stalled hospital project that is roiling the community. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Why it’s so hard to track the powerful opioid fentanyl — In the wake of the deaths of 14 people in the Sacramento area who ingested a counterfeit brand name medication laced with the powerful opiate fentanyl, Los Angeles County health officials have advised area doctors to be on the alert for the drug. L.A. officials think fentanyl misuse is a problem, but they don’t know for sure because it’s difficult to monitor. KPCC report

The Science of Fat: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ their bodies fought to regain weight — A study of Season 8’s contestants has yielded surprising new discoveries about the physiology of obesity that help explain why so many people struggle unsuccessfully to keep off the weight they lose. New York Times article

Rob Omoto: Optometrists can ease California’s doctor shortage – The past president of the Sacramento Valley Optometric Society writes, “Optometrists are dramatically underutilized, highly trained providers who stand ready to help. Elected leaders should not shy away from issues that are complex or politically charged. Our overburdened health care system is in crisis; lawmakers must ensure that Californians have access to the health care they need.” Omoto op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Carmen George: Fresno boy dances through the pain of a rare genetic disease — Near a playground at McKinley Elementary School, 10-year-old Donovan Rivas does a kind of victory dance. His rare connective tissue disease – which has caused holes in his lungs, back and neck pain due to scoliosis, four aneurysms in his aortic route, and requires that he wear foot and finger braces, and his stomach be flushed out every other day – doesn’t keep him from enthusiastically dancing to one of his favorite songs: Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” George in Fresno Bee

Land Use/Housing

Dan Walters: Data show California’s deepening housing crisis — Three dry statistical reports issued simultaneously Monday reveal the stark dimensions of California’s deepening housing crisis. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Renters group sues to force suburbs to add housing amid shortage — The San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation — which goes by the name SFBarf — is suing the city of Lafayette, demanding that it resurrect a scrapped plan to build high-density housing on a 22-acre knoll of Deer Hill Road, just north of Highway 24. It’s the first legal challenge in what SFBarf has promised will be a “Sue the Suburbs” campaign to push places like Lafayette to help the Bay Area build its way out of the shortage of housing. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Legislators and casino interests smell money with online gaming bill.

Merced Sun-Star  Lessons to be learned from UC Davis turmoil.

Modesto Bee – If we must choose one now, it’s Jim DeMartini. He puts enormous effort into his job, works hard for constituents and frequently makes good policy decisions. He’s been a good supervisor and has earned the right to continue.

Sacramento Bee – Scott Jones makes good on gun permit pledge, for better or worse; Live from the California Supreme Court, how real laws get made.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Unfortunate fallout from Butte fire, Cindo de Mayo parade and other issues.

Maddy Events

Sunday, May 8, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “California Establishes Nation’s (Maximum) Minimum Wage: Economic Boom of Bust?”  Guests: Steve Smith from the California Labor Federation, Tom Scott with the National Federation of Independent Business – California and Alissa Anderson with the California Budget & Policy Center. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 8, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “To Be Determined” – Guests: To be determined. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 8, at 7:30 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy Report: “El Nino in California” – Guest: Alvar Escriva-Bou of the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Deputy Director Ana Melendez.

The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel.  Check to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area.  You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at