November 15, 2017




Local/Regional Politics:


Assembly hires investigator to look into Mathis allegations

Visalia Times-Delta

The state Assembly Rules Committee has launched an investigation into complaints of sexual assault by Assemblyman Devon Mathis, the Times-Delta has learned.

See also:


VUSD looks to community for input on spending

Visalia Times-Delta

Visalia Unified School Board members and administrators will meet Thursday to review community members thoughts and suggestions on the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan.


Supervisors chip in $100,000 to help land grant, connect Meadows Field to Texas

Kern County Airports Director Richard Strickland got a promise of $100,000 in help for Meadows Field from the Kern County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon.


Valley fever cases up in California

The Fresno Bee

You’ve had a bad cough and now you’re wondering: Is it the flu or something else? While it’s the time of year for a nagging cough, fever, tiredness and muscle aches caused by influenza viruses, California health officials say Valley fever can share the same symptoms.


A Region and Its Children Under Stress

UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Is a new report commissioned by the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Sierra Health Foundation, and prepared by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. To enrich the report, CRC collaborated with the Pan Valley Institute and UC Cooperative Extension to engage with residents and advocates working with and on behalf of Valley communities to learn about their experiences and priorities for policy and systems change.


Kern County: Geography of Inequity and Opportunities for Action

UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Kern County: Geography of Inequity and Opportunities for Action was commissioned by Sierra Health Foundation on behalf of the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, with funding from The California Endowment, and prepared by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Through stakeholder interviews and analysis of secondary data, we document the systemic disparities created by a history of wealth concentrated in the hands of those who control access to Kern County’s vast agricultural and industrial resources. To address these challenges, the report also identifies policy opportunities in education, land use, health and the environment, and presents case examples of organizations that are working in Kern County communities to organize residents to bring about sustainable change.


New York equity firm doubles down on Smittcamps with Lyons deal

The Business Journal

A  private equity firm with offices in New York and San Mateo has announced a strategic investment in Fresno-based Lyons Magnus, producer of foodservice products including fruit toppings, sauces, juices and syrups. The financial terms of the investment by Paine Schwartz Partners was not disclosed. Bob Smittcamp, whose family has owned Lyons Magnus for more than 46 years, will continue to lead operations as chairman and CEO. He will also remain a “significant” shareholder in the company, according to a news release.


State Politics:


Brown tells China Trump’s climate hoax remark an embarrassment

Fresno Bee

California Gov. Jerry Brown told Chinese environmental officials Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s dismissal of climate change as a hoax invented by their country was “probably the most absurd thing that has ever been said on the topic.” “It makes the case against climate change science so weak, so ridiculous, that it actually helps those who want to do something about climate change,” he said.


Hiltzik: Don’t blame just the gas tax for California’s pump prices — refineries are getting paid $3 billion more a year than they should

Los Angeles Times

On Feb. 18, 2015, an explosion ripped through Exxon Mobil’s vast refinery in Torrance, forcing a shutdown that took 10% of the state’s overall gasoline production capacity offline. Prices immediately spiked at the pump, rising by about 70 cents per gallon relative to the rest of the country. That wasn’t unexpected, given the resulting constraints in statewide gasoline supplies. What sets the Torrance outage apart from the effect of other outages, however, is what happened afterward.


The Interesting Challenge of a Neighborhood Legislature

Fox and Hounds Daily

John Cox spent over a million dollars to end money influence in politics. The seeming irony exists because Cox believes the only way to reduce special interest money in candidate campaigns it to make districts so small that big money is not needed to win a seat in the Legislature. To make such a major change in how the state government operates, Cox proposed an initiative  and funded the signature gathering campaign. Last week he filed enough signatures he said to qualify his Neighborhood Legislature plan for the November 2018 ballot.


Federal Politics:


CA House Republicans under attack on tax plan

The Sacramento Bee

Millions of California voters opened their newspapers Tuesday morning to a scathing critique of the Republican tax bill currently under consideration in Washington.

See also:


For more info on “tax reform” See:  Topics: Public Finance



Gunman identified in Tehama County shooting spree that killed four

The Fresno Bee

The sound of gunfire was in the air, and school officials ordered an immediate lockdown. Their decision most likely prevented what was already a deadly rampage in this rural hamlet southwest of Red Bluff from becoming a bloodbath on the scale of Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

See also:



Fitzgerald: Celebrating spatial data, of all things

Stockton Record

Geographic Information Systems changed the way many things work.  Including Stockton government.







Sunday, November 19, at 5:00 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: Voting in California: No Longer Coming to a Neighborhood By You– Guests: Mindy Romero with University of California – Davis, Dan Walters with CalMatters and John Myers with Los Angeles Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, November 19, at 10:00 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ)– Maddy Report ​ – Valley Views Edition​: “State and Valley Participation: We Can All Do Better” – Guests: Registrar of Voters, Kristine Lee (Kings Co.), Brandi Orth (Fresno Co.), Barbara Levey, (Merced Co.) and Justin White, (Chief Assistant to the Madera Co Clerk). Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, November 19, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – Informe Maddy Opportunities for New Businesses in the Valley. Guests: Dora Westerlund, CEO of The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation; Yeru Olivares, CFO of The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation; Yolanda Garcia, Owner of YO’MAMMAS! and Robert Zapata with the Opportunity Fund. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.



Support the Maddy Daily HERE. Thank you!



Topics in More Detail…



US Senate must act to close online bordellos, especially those that exploit children

Sacramento Bee

With the blessing of major internet firms, congressional legislation aimed at curbing online pimping and human trafficking, particularly of children, could be headed for a vote soon in the U.S. Senate. Or not, unfortunately. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is blocking a vote on the bill, contending it could harm tech startups, and the influential Electronic Frontier Foundation condemned the measure as limiting the right to free speech, particularly of smaller companies.


Don’t allow voter coercion and corruption to take hold in California

Los Angeles Times

Democrats Luis Lopez and Wendy Carrillo are running for Assembly District 51 in a special election on Dec. 5. Only a small percentage of registered voters expected to cast ballots.


Trump court picks don’t mirror legal mainstream or

San Francisco Chronicle

Brett Talley is no household name, but his nomination to the federal bench should get the notice it deserves.


Rancho Tehama gun rampage shows horror that never ends

San Francisco Chronicle

Horror came to Northern California on Tuesday morning, as a gunman rampaged through multiple locations, including an elementary school, shooting at random targets and killing at least …


Our view: Councilman Andrade’s lie dents his integrity

Stockton Record

How is it that a Stockton councilman would think it was OK to submit falsified information to an organization? But that is exactly what Jesús Andrade did when he used the address of a residence that was not his to register his 11-year-old son to play in the Delta Youth Football League. Some…




New York equity firm doubles down on Smittcamps with Lyons deal

The Business Journal

A  private equity firm with offices in New York and San Mateo has announced a strategic investment in Fresno-based Lyons Magnus, producer of foodservice products including fruit toppings, sauces, juices and syrups. The financial terms of the investment by Paine Schwartz Partners was not disclosed. Bob Smittcamp, whose family has owned Lyons Magnus for more than 46 years, will continue to lead operations as chairman and CEO.


Animal rights activists claim abuse at dairy, including a calf with maggots

Fresno Bee

More than 40 animal rights activists protested alleged animal abuse at a dairy farm in Fresno County on Tuesday following the release of a video showing activists removing a calf at night from the ranch in what it said was a rescue operation. The protest at Zonneveld Dairy near Laton, organized by the Berkeley-based Direct Action Everywhere, started about 12:30 p.m. The dairy said the protesters have the right to free speech but rejected the allegations of abuse.


Trump administration seeks to delay findings on pesticides

Sacramento Bee

President Donald Trump’s administration is seeking a two-year delay of an upcoming deadline to determine whether a family of widely used pesticides is harmful to endangered species. The request filed before a federal judge last week comes after Dow Chemical Co. and two other pesticide makers asked the government to set aside research by federal scientists that shows organophosphates are harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.


County Asks For Help Cultivating Marijuana Rules

Capital Public Radio

Even though California voters approved recreational marijuana last fall, many cities and counties, like Yolo, don’t have laws regarding who can grow pot and where. Yolo County says people are growing weed all over the unincorporated areas, even though there is no ordinance that allows it.


Can’t Find A Bank For All Your Cannabis Money? Marijuana Businesses In California And Colorado Can Empathize

Capital Public Radio

California’s cannabis industry has a banking problem. Federal rules keep most marijuana businesses from even opening a checking account. Many deal in cash. It’s a problem in other places with legal pot, like Colorado.






For stories on the latest mass shooting, See: “Top Stories – Other,” above




Fresno, California man faces federal charges for allegedly blinding police pilot with laser

Sacramento Bee

When a Fresno, Calif. man allegedly shot a high-powered green laser at a police helicopter pilot in October, he successfully hit the pilot’s eyes and blinded him — at least momentarily, police said.

Public Safety:


Gun store blocked from setting up shop in San Carlos — for now

San Jose Mercury News

In response to the unprecedented public outcry, the San Carlos City Council has put a Southern California gun dealer’s plans to open a location in the city on hold. The council voted 4-1 this week to adopt an urgency ordinance imposing a 45-day moratorium on retail establishments that sell ammunition or firearms. The move effectively blocks Turner’s Outdoorsman from opening its 22nd store on the 1100 block of Industrial Road — for now.




When Wildfires Broke Out, Only Two North Bay Cal Fire Dispatchers Were on Duty


Cal Fire says its North Bay command center received more than 3,600 calls for help in the first 48 hours of what the agency has dubbed the “October Fire Siege.”


PG&E hit with more lawsuits amid North Bay inferno probes

San Jose Mercury News

PG&E was jolted Tuesday by a fresh round of lawsuits from former San Francisco mayor Frank Jordan and other victims of the lethal North Bay infernos, alleging the utility had put profits before public safety.






JUSTIN SALTERS: Economic development policy a win for Kern County

Bakersfield Californian

The new policy removes the cap on available tax credits and expands the number of industries able to receive tax incentives for bringing new business to the county. These changes are designed to both make Kern County more competitive in attracting investment and support local businesses looking to expand.


Moving CA Fwd through the California Economic Summit


Recap of this year’s Summit and a look ahead to next year


Commentary: Another Big Company Departs California — Will Last One To Leave Shut The Lights?

Investors business daily

Nestle USA is moving its headquarters from Glendale, Calif., a pocket suburb just miles from downtown Los Angeles, to Rosslyn, Va., near Washington, D.C., and taking 1,200 California jobs with it. Why? As many companies have found, California is an awful place to do business.


California’s progressive policies don’t hurt, and probably help, growth and jobs

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Between 2011 and 2016, California enacted a set of 51 policy measures addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, and infrastructure and housing. Critics predicted that these policies—collectively called “the California Policy Model” (CPM) in this paper—would reduce employment and slow economic growth, while supporters argued that they would raise wages for low-wage workers, increase access to health insurance, lower wage inequality, and reduce carbon emissions. This paper assesses some of these claims and prognoses.

See also:







VUSD looks to community for input on spending

Visalia Times-Delta

Visalia Unified School Board members and administrators will meet Thursday to review community members thoughts and suggestions on the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan.


Walters: California’s school war flares up on three fronts

San Jose Mercury News

Three recent and seemingly discrete events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated. The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.


California at bottom in nationwide ranking of accountability systems; state board president disagrees


Another prominent education research and advocacy organization that disapproves of California’s approach to school accountability has ranked California’s new system at the bottom nationwide in a report released Tuesday. The low score by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reflects a core disagreement over how best to identify and work with schools needing help. California education leaders are unapologetic about the route they’ve chosen, and they say the Fordham analysis contains a key error.


California’s crisis with athletic trainers: High school athletes are at risk


California has more than 800,000 high-schoolers playing sports, yet the state does not require schools to have athletic trainers at practices or games—and very few do. Just 25 percent of public high schools employ a full-time athletic trainer, according to CIF data from 2016-17 (athletic directors from 1,406 schools self-reported—an 88.6 percent rate).


Fires, floods, hurricanes: Teachers turn natural disasters into science and history lessons


The fires may be out in the Wine Country, but they’re still a daily topic in many California classrooms. At Design Tech High, a charter school in Burlingame that’s affiliated with Oracle, students are analyzing the science behind the Tubbs Fire that raged through Sonoma County in October and creating blueprints for how the destroyed neighborhoods can rebuild in a way that could minimize impacts from the next fire.


Higher Ed:


CSUB inducts four into Alumni Hall of Fame

Bakersfield Californian

For his last time Tuesday, retiring Cal State Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell inducted four community members into the 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame, an honor he helped create when he first came to CSUB 12 years ago. When alumni association officials approached Mitchell about the Hall of Fame in 2006, he was enthusiastic about making the event a tradition.


Grad Students Would Be Hit By Massive Tax Hike Under House GOP Plan


There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now. That’s because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.


After Napolitano’s apology, UC to release findings of audit investigation

Sacramento Bee

Six months ago, University of California President Janet Napolitano appeared before the Legislature and apologized for creating the “wrong impression” that she had improperly interfered in a critical state audit of her office. Her mea culpa followed a week of fury at the Capitol over the blistering audit, which slammed the UC Office of the President for misleading budget practices – and for tampering with an independent campus survey meant to assess its effectiveness, by encouraging officials to change their responses to reflect more positively on the administration.

See also:


Audio: An all-online community college: A solution to working class needs, or a dangerous move?

89.3 KPCC

A proposal that advocates hope will use online courses to help the job prospects of about 2 million working class Californians got its first hearing in Sacramento on Monday.






Are Jerry Brown’s green state buildings worth their price?

Sacramento Bee

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s green-building directives drives up the cost of state construction projects while delivering an uncertain environmental benefit, according to a new study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The study assessed Brown’s 2012 executive order directing that all state departments design new buildings in such a way that they entirely offset their energy use.


Jerry Brown likes veggie burgers better than SUVs

Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown is generally unwilling to sink his teeth into cheeseburgers. He showed less hesitation targeting the ubiquitous sport-utility vehicle. First, some context.


Southern California smog worsens for second straight year despite reduced emissions

Los Angeles Times

Southern California smog worsened for a second straight year in the latest sign that progress in cleaning the nation’s most polluted air is faltering. The dive in air quality comes even though emissions are declining, forcing regulators to explain why returns are diminishing after years of progress battling smog.


Can California Eliminate Gas Cars?

Scientific American

More than 25 million cars cruise the roads in California, a testament to the state’s love affair with driving. A tiny slice of those vehicles are electric or plug-in hybrid models. That’s not nearly enough for state leaders who want to wage a fierce battle against climate change. They’re discussing a move that some consider radical: banning the sale of cars that run on gasoline or diesel.


Trump is blasted at climate talks, but Paris accord lives on


President Donald Trump is taking a beating at the United Nations climate conference here.




Evaluating California’s Pursuit of Zero Net Energy State Buildings

Legislative Analyst’s Office

Provides background information on Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings as well as the administration’s approach to meeting goals for state‑owned ZNE buildings; assesses the administration’s approach to these buildings; and recommends Legislature adopt its own policies related to ZNE for state buildings.




Covered California Insurance Plans Could Be More Affordable This Year. Here’s Why:

Valley Public Radio

For years, one of the most powerful and consistent Republican criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that the monthly premiums are going up so fast that they are quickly becoming unaffordable and that the whole law was on the verge of collapse.

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 The fight over health coverage for children, pregnant women

Capitol Weekly

Health insurance coverage for 1.3 million California children and pregnant women is at risk because of Congress’ delay in extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program. While the House recently approved a bill to extend the program for five years, the bill still needs approval by the Senate and a fight is expected about how to pay for the extension.


In California, an unexplained increase in valley fever this year

Los Angeles Times

This year is shaping up to be the worst on record in California for people infected with valley fever, a lung infection caused by a fungus found in soil. State health officials announced earlier that 2016 broke the record for the most valley fever cases reported since the state started keeping count in 1995. Now, 2017 is on pace to have even more infections.





Ruben Navarrette:: For Latinos, Trump year was best, worst of times

The Fresno Bee

For Latinos, the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election marks the day when a demagogue who treated the nation’s largest minority like a pinata was rewarded with the highest office in the land.


Nonprofit pledges to match whatever Sacramento spends on legal aid for undocumented immigrants

Sacramento Bee

The Vera Institute for Justice will help fund legal counsel for those facing deportation from Sacramento and 10 other U.S. cities and counties, the nonprofit announced. The Sacramento City Council unanimously agreed to set aside up to $300,000 in May to fight deportation through a network of nonprofit groups providing legal, educational and faith-based services.


America’s Wall


Before President Donald Trump’s promises of an “impenetrable” wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, there was America’s wall.




Land Use:


Fresno’s Craycroft House | Reza Assemi’s plans for home, carriage house

Fresno Bee

When heavy equipment and a demolition company sign went up at a historic Fresno home a few days ago, some Fresnans feared the house was doomed. Not so. The Craycroft home on Palm Avenue, just north of Sierra Avenue, isn’t going anywhere. But the carriage house on the property was demolished over the weekend.


Should residents have been able to challenge Raley’s project? Judge isn’t so sure

Sacramento Bee

A Sacramento judge is questioning whether a group of South Land Park residents should have been allowed to file suit against a proposed Raley’s supermarket on Freeport Boulevard.




Update: Was housing deal ‘setup from the get-go’ or banking mistake? A jury has ruled

Modesto Bee

One-time Modesto City Council candidate Robert Farrace, an attorney and real estate broker, was convicted Tuesday of three fraud counts after a five-day trial. After deliberating about two hours, jurors agreed with federal prosecutors that Farrace illegally tricked lenders in order to keep two Modesto investment properties he otherwise would have lost to foreclosure.


Housing crisis can be good news, if you’re a landlord

LA Times

As I write about the housing market in California, where high prices are forcing people into their cars, onto streets and farther from where they work, one thing is clear: I’m not making any friends among landlords.


California judge says companies must remove pre-1951 lead paint in homes

San Francisco Chronicle

Paint companies must pay the state for the cost of removing lead paint from the interior surfaces of homes in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo and seven other counties, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday.


Commentary: Thinking Boldly about California Housing and CEQA


I believe that there are two Californias – the one we have and the one we could have. Unfortunately, due in large part to the corrupting influence of special interest money contributing to the woeful leadership, Californians face record housing costs, cost of living, poverty, crime, taxes, economic stagnation, and an unfunded pension liability in the hundreds of billions. We cannot expect to fix California’s growing economic problems with small, piecemeal actions. We need bold thinking that sweeps away years of special interest regulations and politically correct penalties imposed on productivity and job creation.





CHARTS: Here’s How GOP’s Tax Breaks Would Shift Money To Rich, Poor Americans


So, $1.4 trillion is a lot of money. It’s what all of the NFL teams together are worth, and then some. It’s more than twice the Defense Department’s 2016 budget. It’s enough to buy nearly 3.2 million homes at the median U.S. home price right now. It’s also roughly the amount that the proposed Republican tax overhaul would add to the deficit over 10 years — not even counting interest.

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Initial Choices: High-Speed Rail To Pick Its Early Operator

Valley Public Radio

The Board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is expected to vote on an awarding a contract, likely to a European company, to be the line’s early train operator. The contract is a small fraction of the total cost of the rail line but represents a significant step toward making the bullet train a reality. Valley Public’s Radio’s Joe Moore and Jeffrey Hess discuss what the High-Speed Rail Authority is looking for and who has the inside track.


Supervisors chip in $100,000 to help land grant, connect Meadows Field to Texas

Kern County Airports Director Richard Strickland got a promise of $100,000 in help for Meadows Field from the Kern County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon.


Longtime cyclist John Rous killed in accident

The Bakersfield cycling community lost one of its fixtures on Tuesday.


Tesla’s entry into truck-making presents a whole new challenge for Elon Musk

Los Angeles Times

There’s a cool new electric semi truck coming around the bend. It looks Space Age sleek: no gears, so no constant shifting. Recharging the battery is a lot cheaper than diesel fuel.

See also:


California clears the way for testing of fully driverless cars. Local, federal interests have concerns

Los Angeles Times

At the beginning of the year, efforts to put driverless cars on California’s streetslooked like they were careening. Uber had defied state officials by failing to get permits to test its technology and then the company shipped its cars to Arizona to test them there. After four years of trying, regulators were still trying to write rules for testing cars without anyone in the driver’s seat. Lawmakers and tech industry representatives worried that California was losing its grip on innovation in a sector primed for growth.





Season’s first atmospheric river takes aim at Bay Area, Sierra Nevada

San Jose Mercury News

Northern California is off to a slow start to the 2017-18 rainy season, but the expected arrival Wednesday of the first “atmospheric river” storm of the season could quickly make up those early deficits.  The storm is on track to soak the Bay Area with widespread rainfall, including the potential for downpours during the evening commute, according to the National Weather Service.


Managing California’s Freshwater Ecosystems: Lessons from the 2012-16 Drought

Public Policy Institute of California

The 2012–16 drought caused unprecedented stress to California’s ecosystems and pushed many native species to the brink of extinction. It also tested the laws, policies, and institutions charged with protecting the environment. Eight case studies on environmental water management during the drought reveal both strengths and weaknesses in federal, state, and local response that can inform how California addresses future droughts. Three areas of reform hold promise for improving ecosystem conditions and reducing conflict:


Reforming Water Management for the Environment

Public Policy Institute of California

It’s time for California to rethink how it manages water for the environment. Despite decades of effort, many of the state’s aquatic native species are in decline. Controversy over water for the environment remains high. The latest drought left lasting effects on already-stressed species and their ecosystems and highlighted the need for a change of course.


Lodi’s Storm Drain Detectives Monitor Water Quality


The City of Lodi (pop. 64,058) lies along the Mokelumne River in Northern California’s San Joaquin Valley, 35 miles south of Sacramento. The region produces award-winning wines, walnuts, olives and cherries. Since 2000, the City of Lodi Public Works has managed the Storm Drain Detectives student volunteer river-monitoring program as a way to involve the community in learning more about the Mokelumne River watershed.