November 16, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

George Skelton: Pragmatic Republican plays up outsider status — Former Republican state Chairman George “Duf” Sundheim says he gets it. He gets why GOP voters across America are turning against establishment presidential candidates and siding with outsiders. The politicians in power haven’t delivered on their promises, he says, and people are fed up. Skelton column in LA Times

Willie Brown: University of Missouri a milestone for civil rights movement — The student uprising over racial insensitivity at the University of Missouri that led to the resignation of school President Tim Wolfe is one of the most significant chapters in the civil rights movement since Selma and the Voting Rights Act. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle


 Jose Gaspar: Undocumented victim’s dilemma: Report crime and risk deportation — Macario Garcia of Bakersfield vividly recalls the day five years ago when he was working at a jewelry store in south San Francisco. It began like any other business day but things changed really fast. Before he knew it three armed men were in the store demanding jewelry and money. One of the bad guys held a gun to Garcia’s head. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Sacramento Bee: Uncomfortable reality of licensing undocumented immigrants — Not all newly licensed immigrants would qualify for low-cost insurance. But clearly, the state needs to do a better job of spreading the word about the subsidized auto insurance to drivers who are licensed because of AB 60. Sacramento Bee editorial

Other areas

Modesto vigil urges peaceful response to Paris attacks — About 60 people gathered Sunday night in Modesto to urge a peaceful response to the terrorist attacks Friday in Paris and Thursday in Beirut. Modesto Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories

Tornado touches down in Denair, causes damage to homes, church — A tornado swept along Zeering Road on Sunday afternoon, damaging roofs of residences and a church, knocking down outbuildings and fences, downing power lines, breaking gas lines and causing other destruction. There were no reports of injuries. Modesto Bee articleLA Times articleAP article

Dan Walters: New California color is gray, not gold, as ‘aging tsunami’ arrives — From the beach party movies of the 1960s to the hippies of the 1970s and Silicon Valley’s baby billionaires today, California has long projected a youthful ambiance. That’s about to change in a big way. The aging of California’s huge post-World War II baby-boom generation, combined with plummeting birth and immigration rates, means the Golden State is quickly going gray. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Jobs and the Economy

Lone holdout creditor’s appeal to be heard Thursday – Franklin Templeton Investments filed an appeal shortly after Klein issued his ruling. On Thursday, Stockton’s legal team will return to federal court in Sacramento and ask the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit to dismiss the appeal. Stockton Record article 

Visalia City Council reconsidering Wal-Mart expansion — The Visalia City Council is expected on Monday night to vacate its previous decision to allow the expansion on the Wal-Mart department store in east Visalia and consider a new environmental impact report on the project. Visalia Times-Delta article

Modesto Oks $470,000 Utilities Department restructuring – The Modesto City Council last week approved a restructuring of the Utilities Department that includes creating new job titles and duties for employees and will cost the city about $470,000 in its current budget year. Modesto Bee article

Lodi’s secret is out – Stand up Lodi, and take a bow. Earlier this month, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Lodi its Wine Region of the Year — not in California, not in the United States, not in the Western Hemisphere, but Wine Region of the Year in the world — beating out Marlborough, New Zealand; Sicily, Italy; Walla Walla, Washington; and Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. Stockton Record article 

Events possibly connected to fake Modesto festival also bogus — There was no all-you-can-eat crab event on Treasure Island this weekend as promised, and it had nothing to do with a toxic algae bloom along the California coast. Before the scare that has delayed crab season, the “organizer” of the Hot Garlic Crab Fest swore up and down that her event was legitimate and had nothing to do with a similar fraudulent event promoted to take place in Modesto in September. Modesto Bee article 

Kaiser, mental health workers avert strike — Kaiser Permanente and its mental health workers have reached a tentative contract settlement, averting a strike that had been planned to start Monday, the union announced late SundaySan Jose Mercury News articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Fresh off Bay Area victory, tech giant Airbnb may set sights on LA – For years, organized labor has been the big dog in L.A. politics, spending huge sums on political campaigns and working to influence policies on transportation, economic development, trash pickup and the minimum wage, to name a few. But the fight in San Francisco has raised the possibility that one day there could be an even bigger dog in town — if tech companies like Airbnb choose to assume that role. LA Times article 

Tension rises in Alameda over fast-rising rents — The impact of rising rents has become a wrenching topic in Alameda, a city of 75,000 where 55 percent of residents rent their homes. It seems that everyone knows someone who has received a no-cause eviction or an excessive rent increase, said the city’s Mayor Trish Spencer, herself a tenant for 16 years. San Francisco Chronicle article

Takeover fever spreads in healthcare industry – Almost 1 in 4 dollars in takeovers this year involved a company in healthcare, and the size of those deals is immense. The total value of healthcare mergers and acquisitions in the United States has more than tripled compared with five years ago, according to the data firm Dealogic. LA Times article

Muni testing fare app with hopes of cutting down cash purchases — Municipal Transportation Agency officials are hoping many of the Muni riders who pay cash — many of them tourists, Bay Area day-trippers and occasional transit riders — will download the free app and begin using it to pay their way, cutting the lines at the fare boxes and ticket machines and allowing Muni to reduce its cash-processing costs. San Francisco Chronicle article

New California data on ride services reveal rise in collisions and incidents – State regulators have analyzed and released a tiny glimpse of data submitted by Uber, Lyft and other companies — information the firms have carefully guarded because they claim it would reveal trade secrets. KQED report

Marriott buys rival hotel chain Starwood for $12.2 billion — Marriott International is buying rival hotel chain Starwood for $12.2 billion in a deal that will secure its position as the world’s largest hotelier. AP article


Water-wasting rules may continue after drought ends — Now as the strongest El Niño conditions in nearly 20 years grow in the Pacific Ocean, increasing chances of big winter storms, state water officials, environmentalists and some local water managers are considering making California’s new water-wasting rules a permanent part of state law, even in wet years. San Jose Mercury News article 

San Joaquin County supervisors say feds want to reach too far with water plan – San Joaquin County is asking the federal government to rethink its plan to take jurisdiction over thousands of acres of water that the agricultural community needs to survive. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution supporting the repeal of the Final Rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. Stockton Record article 

Don Curlee: Tree cemeteries nourish replants — A research team of University of California farm advisors has found that grinding up trees that are dead or dying, or ones that are “over the hill” production wise, and leaving the residue in the orchard can give replants an extra boost and enhanced growth. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Last convict in Chowchilla school bus kidnapping seeks parole – An appeals court ordered Richard Schoenfeld released in 2012, and Gov. Jerry Brown paroled James Schoenfeld in August. Frederick Woods, now 64, is set for a parole hearing Nov. 19. Backers, including a congresswoman and a retired state appellate judge, argue that he has served enough time and should be released.  AP article 

For police departments nationwide, forced reforms with mixed results — Over the past two decades, the Justice Department has undertaken its deepest interventions at 16 police departments that had patterns of excessive or deadly force, implementing reforms under the watch of independent monitors. More than its predecessors, the Obama administration has aggressively pursued police departments over the abuses, recently launching probes after individuals died as a result of encounters with police in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. Washington Post article

 Oakland police fatally shoot person after sideshow – The officers were towing vehicles involved in a sideshow — which involved hundreds of vehicles spinning and performing “donuts” — when they were approached by someone pointing a what appeared to be firearm in their direction, according to police. The officers fatally shot the individual. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Police beating after high-speed chase in San Francisco under investigation — Authorities are investigating the beating by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies of a man accused of ramming patrol cars and leading deputies on a high-speed chase last week that ended in San Francisco, officials said. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Q&A: Sacramento police chief discusses rise in crime, high-tech gadgets after law enforcement gathering – As crime has risen this year in Sacramento and the across the United States, police chiefs from across the nation descended on Chicago last month for several important law enforcement conferences to discuss the state of crime and how to combat criminals that are increasingly sophisticated. Sacramento Police Chief Samuel Somers Jr., along with a few deputies, attended the trio of conferences, which were organized by the International Association of Police Chiefs, Police Executive Research Forum and the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Sacramento Bee article

Traci Gallian: Learning price of drunken driving every 15 minutes — The Every 15 Minutes program is administered statewide by the CHP via a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety. It is a partnership of law enforcement, educators, firefighters, community hospitals, emergency medical responders, chaplains, counselors, the judiciary, community groups, local businesses and parents. Gallian column in Fresno Bee


Casey Lamonski and Larry Moore: Fresno Unified needs a reality check, not a reality show – The chair and co-chair of the Fresnans for Responsibility and Ethics in Education write, “This is a reality check, not a reality show. And while federal investigations are serious business, failing to prepare our kids is a far graver danger for our future. And if we are not better off now than we were just a year ago or a decade ago, it’s time to begin cleaning house at Fresno Unified.” Lamonski/Moore op-ed in Fresno Bee

Hundreds gather at Cal State Long Beach for vigil for Nohemi Gonzalez – Hundreds gathered for a vigil at Cal State Long Beach on Sunday afternoon to honor the memory of 23-year-old senior Nohemi Gonzalez, who was among those killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris. LA Times article

Sacramento City Unified faces criticism for buying Chinese canned fruit – The Sacramento City Unified School District bought tens of thousands of dollars in canned peaches, pears and applesauce from China, defying a federal guideline that asks U.S. schools to serve domestic food and running counter to the district’s embrace of the local farm-to-fork movement. Sacramento Bee article

For-profit college system expected to pay millions – The nation’s second-largest for-profit college operator, Education Management Corporation, is expected to agree to pay nearly $90 million to settle a case accusing it of compensating employees based on how many students they enrolled, encouraging hyperaggressive boiler room tactics to increase revenue. New York Times article

Rebecca Miller: To fill health care jobs, workers need flexibility to take classes – The director of workforce development for SEIU-UHW writes, “To meet the needs of our health care system over the next decade, we will have to train 400,000 health care workers in jobs that are changing due to technology. That will require some major changes in the education system, mostly adapting to working adults, who don’t have the same flexibility as full-time students.” Miller op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Merced College student sharing archeological experience near Vesuvius — A Merced College student got the rare opportunity to participate in archeology work on the north side of Vesuvius over the summer and now is sharing his experience with others at the college. Merced Sun-Star article 

Video game curriculum teaches math, language skills — The charter, Game Design Academy, is part of MUSD’s Academy Program, a charter school that occupies several classrooms at Lathrop High. A two-year program targeted for juniors and seniors that allows those interested in careers in video game or computer programming, it combines online classes for basic core subjects (English) and direct instruction. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services 

Group bolsters efforts to enroll former inmates in Medi-Cal – When Hilda Sims earned her release from prison last year after serving 22 years for murder, she got something that could dramatically reduce the odds that she’d ever have to return: health insurance. For years, many who left California lockups on parole or probation would do so without easy access to medical care. LA Times article

Diabetes screening event also helps researchers — Relatives of people with type-1 diabetes have the opportunity to get a free blood test to assess their chances for acquiring the disease while at the same time helping the international researchers who are working on detecting early risk signs up to 10 years before symptoms appear. Stockton Record article


No elbow room any more on Sacramento roads — As the housing market heats up, bringing more people here, how do you keep a bad situation from getting worse? Sacramento County is considering asking voters to OK a new transportation tax next year for anti-congestion projects as well as basic pothole filling. But the real sign of desperate times comes from fiscally conservative Placer County, where normally tax-shy officials are thinking of floating their own transportation sales tax in November 2016. Sacramento Bee article 

Google antsy as California slow on self-driving cars — Hustling to bring cars that drive themselves to a road near you, Google finds itself somewhere that has frustrated many before: Waiting on the Department of Motor Vehicles. AP article

Other areas 

Drive a boat? You will need a license — A new era is at hand for boating in California. Most call it the “Boater Driver’s License.” Its official name is the California Vessel Operator Card (CVOC). San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Volkswagen has a long road to redemption.

Sacramento Bee – Not all newly licensed immigrants would qualify for low-cost insurance. But clearly, the state needs to do a better job of spreading the word about the subsidized auto insurance to drivers who are licensed because of AB 60.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: California’s Right to Die Law: Facing an Age Old Question — Guests: UC Davis Professor Ben Rich, The Arc of California Executive Director Tony Anderson, and Disability Rights California Legislative Advocate Deborah Doctor. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Nov. 22, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Environmental and Water Issues in California” – Guest: Miryam Barajas of the State Water Resources Control Board. Host: Maddy Institute 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


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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