November 14, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Ballot measures aim to cut purse strings for Delta tunnels, high-speed rail — Gov. Jerry Brown could have a huge battle on his hands next year against ballot-measure proponents asking voters to essentially kill his two most-beloved public works projects — the bullet train and his proposed twin water tunnels under the Delta. San Jose Mercury News article

CD 21: New name emerges – The moment Tulare County native Connie Perez abruptly dropped out of the 21st Congressional District race last week – which came less than a month after getting in – frustrated local Democrats began casting about for a replacement. And it looks like they may have found a candidate in Bakersfield City School District Trustee Andrae Gonzales. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics

Modesto Bee: Listening for messages from the election — Since it’s nearly four months before the next election (and then another four months for the next one after that), let’s take a moment to ponder the results of Stanislaus County’s last election. We believe voters delivered some important messages. Modesto Bee editorial 

SD5: Hesselein garners several endorsements — Derrick Hesselein, Republican candidate for state Senate District 5, has announced endorsements from four law enforcement groups: the Stockton Police Officers Association, the Manteca Police Officers Association, the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and the Oakland Housing Authority Police Officers Association. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joe Fox: Can a water measure drown high-speed rail? — The high-speed rail project has avoided roadblocks from lawsuits (so far), negative media reports and legislative efforts calling for a new vote of the people – but can it withstand a new initiative proposal that calls for moving unspent high-speed rail bond money from the rail undertaking to build surface water and groundwater storage projects? Fox in Fox & Hounds

What would deporting 11 million people look like? – Conservative presidential candidates speak casually of deporting 11 million people, but what they don’t say is what it would cost, what it would take and the long odds of success. McClatchy Newspapers article

The dark, complex history of Trump’s model for his mass deportation plan — The Eisenhower-era operation deported closer to 300,000 people, according to historians, and was accompanied by scores of deaths and shattered families. In some cases, U.S. citizens were apprehended and deported alongside unauthorized immigrants. Raids were concentrated in border communities but stretched as far north as St. Louis. LA Times article

Other areas

Supreme Court agrees to hear biggest abortion case in 2 decades – The Supreme Court on Friday set the stage for its most important pronouncement on abortion in two decades, agreeing to hear a dispute over efforts by some conservative states to regulate the procedure. LA Times articleNew York Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers article 

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones plans 2016 challenge of Democratic Rep. Ami Bera – Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones will run against Rep. Ami Bera next year, an early sign that Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District once again will be one of the nation’s House battlegrounds. Sacramento Bee article 

Panetta, Alejo among Democrats considering a run for Central Coast congressional seat — Monterey County Deputy Dist. Atty. Jimmy Panetta and State AssemblymanLuis Alejo (D-Watsonville) are considering bids to replace retiring longtime Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). Panetta is the son of Leon Panetta, the former secretary of Defense and CIA director who once held the seat for 16 years. The younger Panetta is seen by political observers as a strong contender. LA Times article

Paris attacks: LAPD monitoring ‘critical sites’ as precaution – Los Angeles police have notified commanding officers and are monitoring “critical sites” across the city in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris, officials said Friday afternoon. LA Times article

San Francisco police go on heightened alert after Paris terror attacks — The San Francisco Police Department went on heightened alert immediately upon learning of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people, Chief Greg Suhr said FridaySan Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

California water cutbacks likely to be extended next year – Despite forecasts of a wet winter, Californians can expect another year of water conservation in 2016 under an executive order issued Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Californians are currently under orders to reduce consumption by an average of 25 percent, as compared with 2013. Brown’s order would extend the cutbacks through next Oct. 31 “if drought conditions persist through January 2016.” Sacramento Bee articleAP articleLA Times article

Fresno mayor moving Fulton Mall bid to council despite being $2-million over target – Fresno leaders are moving forward on plans to award a construction contract for the reconstruction of the Fulton Mall even though is best bid is still more than 2-million dollars over budget. KVPR report

Stanislaus State President Sheley to retire in July – Stanislaus State President Joseph Sheley will retire July 1, he announced Friday. “My decision is not complicated. In life and career, there comes a time to listen a bit more to head and a bit less to heart. That time has come,” he wrote in a letter emailed at 9 a.m. to the Turlock campus. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

A frenzied start for state’s traffic ticket amnesty program – California’s 18-month amnesty — which aims to put a dent in $10 billion in uncollected, court-ordered debt — initially was conceived as a way to revive two law enforcement training programs driven to insolvency by motorists’ inability to pay. But it has become part of a broader conversation over the funding approach, which has pushed low-income and minority motorists, who are more likely to be stopped by police, deeper into poverty. LA Times article

Holiday ice rink cost too much, did not boost business in downtown Fresno, say organizers who cancelled it – The Downtown Fresno Partnership said Friday that high costs of running the winter ice rink in the Fulton Mall and lack of interest from businesses there were keys in its decision to cancel the popular event this holiday season. In response, the Manchester Center in central Fresno signaled interest, saying it will do whatever it can to bring an ice rink to its mall. Fresno Bee article

New mobile command center brings City Hall to Fresno’s neighborhoods – The Kirk neighborhood is the second Fresno targeted by the city, and the first to get served by a city trailer that is a mobile command post. It allows residents to come in and report their problems. The command post is equipped with computers and a neighborhood map with pins showing spots where residents have talked to the city’s Neighborhood Revitalization Team about their concerns. Fresno Bee article

Kari Decker and Van Ton-Quinlivan: Employers lack skilled workers for middle-class jobs – The members of the California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy write, “We believe the task force’s recommendations will promote reform within the California Community College system and deliver new strength and support to California’s workers, employers and the state’s economy. We encourage readers to learn more and share support with elected officials prior to the Board of Governors’ vote on Monday.” Decker/Ton-Quinlivan op-ed in Fresno Bee

Milk producer buys Tulare County cheese plant – Bay Area developer Tom Henderson works with immigrant investors, including those from China who seek to buy into U.S. businesses. Many are ready to put at least $500,000 to help create jobs in low-income urban areas or rural areas like Tulare County. Visalia Times-Delta article

More California seniors work full-time into their late 60s and early 70s – A growing proportion of Californian seniors are working into their late 60s or early 70s, a sign that many have not saved enough for retirement, according to a Sacramento Bee review of new census data. Sacramento Bee article

Albertson’s, Smart & Final win bids for Haagen stores – A Bankruptcy Court judge cleared the way Friday for several rival grocers to buy stores from Haggen, the supermarket chain that attempted a catastrophic expansion this year. LA Times article

Fi$Cal project leader stepping down — For the third time this year, another top manager at California’s massive FI$Cal technology project is leaving. This time Project Executive Barbara Taylor is returning to the Department of Finance after six years working on the $672.6 million initiative. Sacramento Bee article

Oakland mayor turns to old playbook to fund Raiders stadium – The type of municipal bonds that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says she is examining to pay for a new Raiders stadium are the same kind the city used in 1996 to build Mount Davis, an expansion of the Coliseum that left the city and county with millions of dollars in debt. San Francisco Chronicle article

Erika D. Smith: A fiery blow to development on R Street — It didn’t take long for R Street to settle back into an eerie silence. The kind that comes with old, empty buildings and that, for too long, dominated the blocks between 16th and 18th streets. Smith column in Sacramento Bee


El Nino is here, and it’ll be ‘one storm after another like a conveyor belt’ — The strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is becoming even more powerful, setting the stage for an unusually wet winter in California that could bring heavy rains by January, climate experts said. LA Times article

Water issues headline Kern supervisors’ meeting Tuesday – Kern County supervisors will have their minds on water Tuesday during a packed-agenda meeting. Supervisors could vote to launch the county’s first groundwater sustainability agency — a regulatory body mandated by state legislation passed in 2014 that requires local jurisdictions to regulate groundwater basins that are in critical overdraft. Bakersfield Californian article 

EBMUD’s No. 1 water user – you’ll never guess — The owner of a 1,200-square-foot San Leandro house with one bathroom and a front yard landscaped with rocks managed to use an average of more than 13,000 gallons of water a day over the summer — earning the distinction of the No. 1 water user in the East Bay Municipal Utility District. San Jose Mercury News article

New produce safety rules — New produce safety rules from the government Friday are intended to help prevent the kind of large-scale outbreaks of foodborne illness that occurred over the past decade linked to fresh spinach, cantaloupes, cucumbers and other foods. AP article

Valley farmers get more money to buy cleaner-burning vehicles — It’s crunch time for farmers who want to replace tractors with cleaner-burning models. A $2.48 million federal grant announced this week will help with the cost of 187 new tractors – but only if the applicants verify that the old ones are dismantled at a scrap yard. That rule assures that the machine does not show up elsewhere and continue to pollute the air. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Longest serving wrongly convicted inmate claims civil rights were violated – A wrongfully convicted man says in a lawsuit filed this week that Ventura County prosecutors and sheriff’s officials violated his civil rights when they imprisoned him for 36 years for a murder he didn’t commit. LA Times article 

After getting ticket, woman runs over Stockton Police officer’s foot — A woman stopped for minor traffic violations ended up in more trouble when she ran over the foot of an officer issuing the citation, according to Stockton Police. Stockton Record article


Brigette Bowers: UC Merced students speak out on campus attack – My own freshman composition students wrote about that day for their weekly journal assignment, responding to Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s assertion that “we live in a culture of violence.” I am sharing their words today in this column. Bowers column in Merced Sun-Star 

The Numbers Crunch: California students should count their blessings, not just their loans — Thousands of college students across the country marched Thursday for free tuition at public universities and cancellation of their debt – demonstrations that dovetailed into a show of solidarity with students at the University of Missouri. It probably wouldn’t lessen their passion – or make it more pleasant to repay their loans – but California students who took part in the Million Student March should know their situation could be much worse. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee

University of the Pacific: New student housing plan moves forward — The city’s Planning Commission concluded its meeting Thursday night by approving a use permit allowing the University of the Pacific to move forward with construction of a new residence hall at Pershing Avenue and Brookside Road. Stockton Record article

Book raises concerns at Standard Middle School – Sex, violence, drugs and alcohol are common plot devices in movies and books for adults, but the father of a Standard Middle School student was shocked when his daughter came to him with a library book containing all of those issues. Bakersfield Californian article

Soda battle bubbles up at San Francisco State — San Francisco’s battle against sugary drinks didn’t go flat when voters rejected a City Hall-backed soda tax last year. Instead, it’s bubbling up again in a perhaps unlikely place: San Francisco State University. San Francisco Chronicle article

As fewer Californians pass the bar, are LSAT scores an early indicator of success? – Already faced with one of the lowest bar passage rates in the country, California students and academics shouldn’t expect those statistics to improve over the next several years, according to a new study that examines the link between standardized test scores and bar passage rates. LA Times article 

West Hills College Lemoore to honor retiring president — West Hills College Lemoore will be celebrating the upcoming retirement of President Don Warkentin next week. Hanford Sentinel article 

New health standards create challenges for Ceres school clubs – For many seniors at Central Valley High School, the once highly anticipated event Food Court has become a bitter disappointment. Modesto Bee article

Claremont McKenna College students embrace a lesson in activism — Student leaders at Claremont McKenna College on Friday savored their victory at the departure of a high-ranked administrator deemed insensitive to minorities and won promises that the liberal arts school would seek to add more diversity among faculty and staff. LA Times article 


 One dead and three injured in PG&E natural gas line explosion southwest of Bakersfield – One person died and three others were sent to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns Friday afternoon after a natural gas line explosion sent flames hundreds of feet into the air near Houghton and Wible roads southwest of Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

Lower energy users to pay more – Those who use less energy will pay a little more, and those who use more energy will pay a little less, under a new policy that state officials admit will be tough to explain to the public. They’ll attempt to do just that in Stockton on Monday, as the California Public Utilities Commission hosts a rare public meeting here to talk about substantial rate changes that one advocacy group warns may disproportionately harm lower-income residents in the hot San Joaquin Valley. Stockton Record article

Mike Dunbar: Could new trees provoke a downstream disaster? – As the hillsides of eastern Stanislaus County have become covered with almond trees, Vance Kennedy has been calculating the odds. He knows the hillsides were graded and ripped before being planted. Then the ground was often left bare without cover to hold the dirt in place. All this, said Kennedy, could add up to disaster. Modesto Bee article

Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks increase fees – In an effort to fund maintenance and improvement projects over the next several years throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, theNational Park Service is increasing entrance, wilderness and camping fees. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Final vote coming on floodgate — Flood control officials next week may give final approval to a $29 million gate at the entrance to Smith Canal, a project that would save thousands of homeowners from being forced to buy flood insurance. Stockton Record article 

Fearing corrosion, regulators order Santa Barbara pipeline emptied — Federal regulators on Friday ordered the Texas company responsible for an oil spill in Santa Barbara County in May to empty crude oil from a 115-mile stretch of pipeline that runs from the Pacific Ocean east into Kern County for fear that corrosion could lead to another spill.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Let’s Talk Health: Using online tools to check a doctor’s record — Most of what people need to know is available online and, as consumers, we are responsible for doing our part in being informed. Disciplinary information on state licensed physicians is posted on the Medical Board’s website: The site is not too difficult to navigate, given that you have all of the necessary information – most of the time, all that is needed is the correct spelling of the doctor’s name. Following is some information on how to get the most out of the online tools. Let’s Talk Health in Merced Sun-Star 

San Francisco supervisors set to vote on repeal of soda regulation — Just five months after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a trio of regulations on sugar-sweetened beverages, a board committee will consider a proposal to repeal one of them. KQED report 

HCCA brings in financial improvement for Tulare Regional Medical Center – HealthCare Conglomerate Associates CEO Benny Benzeevi reaches for a colorful chart when asked about Tulare Regional Medical Center’s financial improvement over the last 18 months. Visalia Times-Delta article

FDA orders recall of 2,800 scope-washing machines, citing infection risk — Amid an ongoing investigation into superbug outbreaks nationwide, U.S. regulators have ordered a Pennsylvania company to recall its scope-cleaning machines used at UCLA and more than 1,000 other hospitals and clinics. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Many surprised by failure of anti-sprawl Measure I in Modesto — Measure I on the Nov. 3 ballot failed, falling short by 215 votes. That surprised some city office seekers who talked with plenty of Measure I supporters as they knocked on doors to meet voters. Measure I’s failure left supporters and opponents to ponder what tipped the balance against the anti-sprawl initiative. Modesto Bee article


Hanford police issue 50 bike-related citations in October — Hanford police issued about 50 citations last month in conjunction with its increased enforcement of bicycle safety laws. The Hanford Police Department took a tougher stand on bicycle safety starting Oct. 1 amid a growing number of accidents and increased complaints about unsafe bicyclists. Hanford had 15 bicycle-related accidents as of September, compared with just 13 for all of 2014. Hanford Sentinel article 

Other areas

Merced to interview six city manager candidates – The Merced City Council is set to do six interviews for the next city manager on Saturday, according to city staff, all of which will take place behind closed doors. Merced Sun-Star article

Carmen George: Babies to be laid to rest with dignity during special Saturday service — Thanks to the love of strangers, eight Fresno County babies who died now have names: Jill Elise, Stella, Aurora, Isaac, Jeremiah, Christopher, Samuel and Nehemiah. They were named by volunteers who tend to Fresno’s Garden of Innocence, a special resting place for abandoned infants at Mountain View Cemetery. George in Fresno Bee

Andrew Fiala on Ethics: Random acts of violence raise important questions about our culture – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “Stories of random violence continue to shock. Gun control would decrease the carnage. But when they don’t have guns, violent young men attack with knives, as happened recently at UC Merced. The technology of murder is only partly to blame. The deeper problem is cultural and psychological. We need to understand the seductive power of anger and aggression. And we need to remember that violence is as rare as it is stupid.” Fiala in Fresno Bee

Hayward first California city to put fire station, medical center together – The idea for building a health clinic on the same grounds as a fire station came to Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras in the midst of the 2009 swine flu epidemic, when the stations were called to act as makeshift vaccination clinics. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fatal crash in which Sacramento judge struck cyclist prompts questions – A fatal Carmichael crash in which a Sacramento Superior Court judge struck and killed a cyclist this month has prompted questions from bicycle advocates and family members about whether the California Highway Patrol too hastily suggested the victim was at fault. Sacramento Bee article

Jill Simonian: Big-city mom finds herself crushing on Fresno – The former Fresno resident who now lives in Los Angeles writes, “So let it be noted: I live in Los Angeles – and I love it. But Fresno is my home – and I love it. I guess I’ll raise Fresno girls who happen to live in L.A. Sounds fab to me.” Simonian op-ed in Fresno Bee

Sam McManis: Downtown Bakersfield: A city (un)stuck in time — Jutting skyward, adding impressive verticality to low-rise downtown Bakersfield, the Fox Theater’s tower presides over the H Street bustle and hum with stolid, deep-rooted grandeur. Scalloped and columned, a handsome marriage of Spanish colonial revival and art deco, the tower invites your gaze up beyond its concrete base, past its red-lettered signage, tapering to its ornate clock face where … McManis in Sacramento Bee 

Don Phillips, Lodi farmer, educator, dies at 91 — Donald Bertram Phillips, World War II naval veteran, agricultural teacher at Linden High School and San Joaquin Delta College, and founder of Phillips Farms in Lodi, died Thursday at his Lodi home. He was 91. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Terror strikes Paris and the world; Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Modesto Bee – Since it’s nearly four months before the next election (and then another four months for the next one after that), let’s take a moment to ponder the results of Stanislaus County’s last election. We believe voters delivered some important messages.

Sacramento Bee – Terror strikes Paris and the world;

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: Highway Funding:  Still Stuck in Political Gridlock” — Guests: Caltrans CFO Norma Ortega, Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable); Chris McKenzie, executive director of the California League of Cities; and Matt Cate, executive director of the California Association of Counties; and Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Farm to Market:  Maintaining the Valley’s Highways” – Guests: Tony Boren, executive director of the Fresno County of Governments; Ted Smalley, director of the Tulare Council of Governments; and and Caltrans District 6 Director Sharri Bender Ehlert. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler. 

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


Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge – For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge

Next 10: Federal budget challenge — The Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.  Next 10 Federal Budget challenge at

Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone?  Next 10 California Water Challenge

LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link.

More Information

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Maddy Institute Updates List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials – The Maddy Institute has updated its list of San Joaquin Valley elected officials.  The list is available here.

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The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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