November 2, 2014


Receive the Maddy Daily in your inbox every morning! To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at ajovelmelendez@csufresno.

Political Briefs

Top stories

California lawmakers’ campaign credit-card spending often lacks disclosure, Sacramento Bee review finds –  A first-ever review of lawmakers’ credit-card spending by The Sacramento Bee found that many lawmakers provided only the barest of descriptions of their expenses on state-required campaign reports – despite a 2008 rule meant to improve disclosure. The lack of detail makes it difficult to determine whether lawmakers are using their campaign accounts to help them win re-election or do their jobs, or whether some have found an easy way to eat out and live a more luxurious lifestyle. Sacramento Bee article

Election 2014: Mail ballots change the way campaigns are run – It’s the final weekend ahead of Tuesday’s election, which means it’s the political equivalent of football’s two-minute drill. Campaigns are in overdrive. Candidates are making their last pitches to voters. But just as play-calling has evolved on the gridiron, campaigns are changing their approaches. They had to thanks to the ever-increasing numbers of voters who are casting their ballots by mail.  Fresno Bee article

Sleeping giant:  Low Latino turnout diluting power, hurting Democrats – Thousands of Latinos locally and millions nationally have been doing the same thing, forfeiting the power of their participation to voters who do go to the polls, thereby facilitating the election of people who may not share their views and values. It also poses a challenge to local Democrats as they fight to take back the Latino-majority 21st Congressional District and similarly diverse 14th Senate District from Republicans David Valadao and Andy Vidak.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley politics

Sleeping giant: How to win Latino vote? Persistence and follow-through – Motivating Latinos can be hard work, said former Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, who represented northwest Kern County plus Arvin, Lamont and parts of Bakersfield from 2002 to 2008. Phone work is no good, she said. What works, Parra said, also referring to successful campaigns by former Democratic state Sens. Dean Florez and Michael Rubio of Shafter, was to move repeatedly over the same ground in the same neighborhoods. Bakersfield Californian article

Sleeping giant:  Democratic Party disarray hurting turnout effort – Poor Latino turnout has always made it hard for Democrats to win elections in the southern San Joaquin Valley. But victory has become harder in the past two years as the party has been hurt by feuding and a lack of bench.  Bakersfield Californian article

Ray Gonzales: What’s wrong with Dems, Latinos in Kern County – The former Kern County assemblyman writes, “What’s wrong with the Democrats in Kern County? What’s wrong with the Latinos in the county as well? We might expand that and ask: What’s wrong with these two groups in the southern San Joaquin Valley?” Gonzales op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

AD21: Outside money flowing to Mobley and Gray – The race between Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray and Republican challenger Jack Mobley is among a dozen in California in which outside money is outpacing traditional campaign fundraising.  Modesto Bee article

Fresno Bee: Vote for Renteria, Hill, Catalano and ‘yes’  on Z – The Fresno Bee recommends Amanda Renteria for Congressional District 21, Rachel Hill for Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Cary Catalano for Fresno City Council District 1, and a “yes” vote for the Measure Z sales tax to benefit the Chaffee Zoo.  Fresno Bee editorial

Stockton Record: Ready. Set. Vote – You want storylines? Here are 10 of them to follow in Tuesday’s general election.  Stockton Record editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Mike Dunbar: Why the water bond must pass – With the water bond, we have a fighting chance to keep more of our rivers in our reservoirs. Without it, it will be a much tougher fight. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Poll finds support for Gov. Brown and his ballot measures – Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is coasting to a historic fourth term with record-high approval ratings, and the ballot measures that he has made the centerpiece of his reelection bid — a water bond and a rainy-day fund — are also supported by a majority of likely voters, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.  LA Times article

Poll: Support for higher sentences, but not 2 healthcare measures – Voters strongly back a ballot measure to soften penalties for certain drug and theft crimes, but two healthcare initiatives face much stiffer opposition, a newUSC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll shows.  LA Times article

Brown makes small-town campaign stop as Kashkari courts city voters – Gov. Jerry Brown held his grand finale as a gubernatorial candidate Saturday before a warm, jeans-clad crowd in this tiny Colusa County farm town, forgoing the glare of the big city on the final weekend before the Nov. 4 election to be near his family’s Northern California roots.  LA Times articleCapitol Alert

In Prop 2, state voters again face budget decision at ballot box – Throughout much of California’s history, some of the most consequential budget decisions have been made not in the Capitol, but at the ballot box. On Tuesday, voters will once again make a major budget decision. Proposition 2, a bipartisan constitutional amendment approved by the Legislature and backed by Brown, would strengthen the state’s rainy-day fund and require regular payments to pare down the state’s debt.  LA Times article

Lieutenant governor’s race a painfully familiar story to California GOP –  It was a painfully familiar story to California Republicans: The party’s little-known candidate for lieutenant governor would have $15,000 for the closing phase of his long-shot campaign to oust a Democrat who had $2.8 million in the bank.  LA Times article

Candidates on the stump as election day nears – In a flurry of last-minute attempts to motivate a disengaged electorate, California candidates barnstormed the Bay Area on Saturday, reminding voters of the high stakes — and hot issues — in state, federal and local races.  San Francisco Chronicle article

A guide to California’s propositions and statewide races – KQED offers its California voter guide on propositions and statewide races.  KQED report

Tim Holt: Split-state idea needs a fair hearing – The founder and editor of the quarterly North State Review writes, “What deserves to be on a future ballot is the question of whether California voters think splitting the state is a good idea, not whether they like Draper’s six-state map, which included a separate state named Silicon Valley. My ideal initiative would simply ask voters if they like the idea of splitting California into two or more states.” Holt op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Border Signs:  Turning a lens on the tragedy and mystery of the U.S.-Mexico border – Although Richard Misrach has been photographing the American desert for more than 40 years, it wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to turn his full attention to the 1,969-mile border between the United States and Mexico. California Sunday Magazine article

Other areas

Switch in control of U.S. Senate could cut California’s clout – Neither Sen. Barbara Boxer nor Sen. Dianne Feinstein is on the ballot Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean that they, and California, don’t have something to lose. If next week’s elections give Republicans majority control, both California Democrats stand to lose their Senate committee chairmanships and the sway that comes with it.  McClatchy Newspapers article

As California undergoes sweeping demographic changes, voting plummets – While 17.8 million Californians are now registered, more than for any other gubernatorial general election in the state’s history, voting experts project that Tuesday’s could be the first general election in which turnout falls below 50 percent.  Contra Costa Times article

To fight fracking bans, oil firms heavily outspend environmentalists – With a population of just 55,000 scattered among its hills, San Benito County seems an unlikely threat to California’s oil industry. But come Tuesday, voters there will decide whether to ban fracking, acidizing and other “high-intensity” forms of oil extraction within the county’s borders. And the industry isn’t taking the challenge lightly.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Local measures against sugary-drink tax, fracking raise millions – Industry groups are pouring millions of dollars into defeating local ballot measures in California that would levy taxes on sugary drinks in San Francisco and Berkeley, and outlaw the oil-extraction method known as fracking in Santa Barbara and San Benito counties.  LA Times article

Dan Morain: When will school reform become a wedge issue for Democrats? –Marshall Tuck is the 41-year-old UCLA-Harvard-educated son of a lawyer who grew up in the wealthy Peninsula burg of Hillsborough and eschewed a Wall Street career in the hope of changing public schools for the better. He’s also the latest embodiment of what Democratic leaders should fear, a wedge between their most influential donor, the California Teachers Association, and their most loyal voters, African Americans, Latinos and Asians.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento strong-mayor campaign races to the finish – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spent an hour Thursday engaged in a lively exchange with the folks at the Pioneer House senior home in downtown, stumping for his strong-mayor plan. After that, he moved on to the patio of a stylish midtown restaurant to mingle with a bunch of 30-somethings.  Sacramento Bee article

Willie Brown: As others wait in the wings, Ed Lee should reveal campaign intentions – It’s time for Mayor Ed Lee to say whether he will seek a second full term.

State Sen. Mark Leno’s recent statements in the Matier & Ross column that he’s considering a run, coupled with longtime Lee ally Rose Pak saying she’s not sure he’ll seek a second term, are leading to all kinds of political speculation.  Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Chevron spends $3 million in attempt to sway Richmond voters – Chevron has spent $72 per registered voter in Richmond to push its slate of candidates for City Council and mayor in Tuesday’s election — more than a minimum wage worker brings home after a full day’s work in this blue-collar city.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Michael Hiltzik: Voters are left in the dark on campaign spending by corporations – Voters are usually inclined to vote their pocketbooks. But that’s become more difficult with every election, as the pocketbooks that carry the most weight aren’t those of the individual voter, but corporations and plutocrats.  Hiltzik in LA Times

Partisan hurdles too high for Davis in Texas, Kashkari in California – Democrats will tell you Texas is growing more competitive, as Latino voters gain in numbers and political strength. Republicans say California is ripe for realignment, as Democrats overreach in Sacramento and divisions open between coastal liberals and more conservative voters inland. There will likely be little evidence of either occurring Tuesday.  LA Times article

Mindy Romero: Friends don’t let friends not vote – The director of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change writes, “We need to seriously consider the candidates and ballot measures, including local issues; often they have more impact on our lives. Most of all, we need to take action. Cast your ballot and reach out to those you know who are not likely to vote. You have the ability to increase California’s turnout rate. That would make a positive difference for our democracy.” Romero op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Engaged voters offer antidote to apathy – Defying every pollster, pundit and commentator who insists that Americans have lost interest in this year’s elections, the ultimate nonconformists of 2014 may be that increasingly rare but proud breed: the “voting obsessed.”  San Francisco Chronicle article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Challenges abound after favorable bankruptcy decision – Within minutes of last week’s pivotal victory in bankruptcy court, City Manager Kurt Wilson spoke briefly of the immediate benefit for Stockton of the impending exit from Chapter 9.  Stockton Record article

Dan Walters: Controller John Chiang drops bombshell on California public pensions – State Controller John Chiang dropped a political bomb the other day, although he was so quiet about it, one could say it was a stealth bomb. Chiang added public pension systems to his already large fiscal database. One chart reveals that their “unfunded liabilities” – the gap between assets and liabilities for current and future pensions – exploded from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $198.2 billion in 2013.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Jobs and the Economy

Error will cost Fresno County employees ‘bonus’ benefit – About 6,700 Fresno County retirees are going to lose part of their retirement benefits beginning in December after an “accounting error” posted money to the wrong account.  Fresno Bee article

Stockton business owner takes stand against serial litigant – Scott Johnson, a disabled Carmichael attorney who has filed thousands of disability-access lawsuits in the greater Sacramento area, is at it again, pumping out more than three dozen actions against small businesses, just in Stockton, since June. But this time he’s got Jerry Brannon, owner of Brannon Tire and other area businesses, in his crosshairs, and Brannon promises to fight back.  Stockton Record article

Tech has given rise to middleman economy – The Silicon Valley delivery startup Curbside offers customers something that could either be described as an opportunity for extreme laziness or incredible efficiency. The company’s theory is this: Shopping at stores like Target is a waste of time — even if you place an order online for in-store pickup. And waiting at home for the delivery guy is also a waste of time — even if you use one of those nifty apps that promises one-hour delivery.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Probe of SpaceShipTwo disaster may take a year – Billionaire Richard Branson is promising to find out what caused the crash of his Virgin Galactic prototype space tourism rocket that killed a test pilot, but federal investigators are cautioning that it may take up to a year to learn exactly what went wrong.  AP article

Crash, pilot’s death hit home for commercial space industry – Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board started combing through the wreckage, and Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, flew in to support the company’s hundreds of grieving and anxious workers. Branson vowed Saturday to continue his quest to carry tourists into space.  LA Times article

Would property owners pay to improve Modesto’s downtown? – Are property owners willing to spend some of their own money to improve downtown? That’s the question a group of people with ties to downtown Modesto are trying to answer. They have hired a consultant to gauge property owners’ interest in forming a community benefit district, in which the owners would pay an assessment to fund downtown improvements.  Modesto Bee article

New faces in old places: Restaurants open in downtown Modesto – It’s out with the old and in with the new for downtown Modesto restaurants, as the seemingly endless cycle of shifting dining spots continues. Several more eateries opened this fall, filling spaces where previous restaurants had failed. New owners are optimistic about success, though some of them had to spend $200,000 or more just to open their doors.  Modesto Bee article

Waterford honored for downtown redo – The city of Waterford received the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Award of Merit for its downtown beautification project. Completed in 2012, the downtown renovation included new sidewalks, streets, lighting, landscaping and upgraded storm drains.  Modesto Bee article

Agents, lenders fill niche as Chinese market floods housing market – When Alisha Chen first got into real estate 10 years ago, she didn’t really plan on becoming a gatekeeper for a global housing market. But a housing crash and a flood of Chinese money later, she’s part of a growing cottage industry of real estate agents, bankers and attorneys who specialize in helping wealthy foreigners buy a little patch of Southern California.  LA Times article

Two rural newspapers in Fresno County go out of print – Two rural weekly newspapers with long histories in Fresno County are now out of print, with their final editions rolling off the presses this week. The Fowler Ensign, which dates to 1894, and the Orange Cove & Mountain Times, with roots going back to the 1920s, ceased publication. Fresno Bee article


Winter storm brings snow to mountains, needed rain to Valley – Storms that brought snow to the Sierra Nevada and much-needed rain to the central San Joaquin Valley fizzled by Saturday night — the last expected rainfall in the foreseeable future. The precipitation brought snow to around 5,000 feet, the lowest snowfall thus far this season. Fresno Bee article

Rain brings joy, if not a fix, to drought-ridden Central Valley – One modest, seasonal storm wasn’t going to reverse California’s historic drought. Yet across the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada mountains, where livelihoods and entire towns are threatened, there was joy Saturday as rain fell and snow piled up.  LA Times article

Rain level in drought-stricken South Bay now ‘normal’ – The season’s first significant storm, which started with a downpour during the San Francisco Giants’ World Series championship parade on Friday, gave a little bit more on Saturday. The storm left between a quarter- and a half-inch of rain around the Bay Area. It might not be saying much, but that means the rainfall total so far this season, at least for the South Bay, is — dare we say it — “normal.”  San Jose Mercury News article

Kerman raisin grower calls it quits – Sixty-five-year-old farmer Nick Jerkovich has been producing raisins his entire life. His father, a Croatian immigrant, taught him how to meticulously care for the gnarled vines so that every year they yielded plump Thompson seedless grapes to be sun-dried into raisins. This fall, Jerkovich produced his last crop. Fresno Bee article


Audit: Rural San Joaquin Valley school district managers took $171,000 in unwarranted overtime pay – A financially troubled rural central San Joaquin Valley school district has come under scrutiny by a state agency and two county offices after an audit revealed three of its top managers fattened their paychecks with unwarranted overtime pay totaling at least $171,816 since 2010.  Fresno Bee article

Companies that benefit from school construction bankroll bond campaigns – Construction, architecture, engineering and labor interests that could receive school building contracts are donating money to pass facilities bonds on Tuesday’s ballot.  Sacramento Bee article

Back on the air – Fifteen years ago, San Joaquin Delta College lost its voice. Its radio voice, that is. The college’s old radio station, KSJC, shut down in the late 1990s, silenced by budget cuts. Now, a Delta instructor — who as a student 30 years ago nervously taped his first broadcast on KSJC — is in the midst of launching a new station in the very same studio, with the help of dozens of students and community volunteers.  Stockton Record article


Valley burning restrictions begin; fewer for clean-burning fireplaces – The rain has passed, but nighttime temperatures this week are expected to dip into the 40s and options for warmth might be limited. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s “Check Before You Burn” season started Saturday, restricting use of fireplaces and woodstoves on days with poor air quality.  Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

Nonprofit provides surgery for uninsured – Founded by general surgeon Dr. Jorge Enriquez, Cirugia Sin Fronteras is a coalition of 24 Kern County surgeons who provide their services at deep discounts to uninsured patients.  Bakersfield California article

Lois Henry: How mustangs and PTSD vets can ‘gentle’ each other – I admit it’s hard to understand how this works — wild horses easing PTSD for combat veterans simply by their proximity. But for veterans who’ve lost hope and been lucky enough to stumble on equine therapy, it has worked. Just ask them.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Marilyn Golden: Assisted suicide is bad medicine – The senior policy analyst for the Disability Rights & Defense Fund writes, “As a disability-rights advocate and person living with a disability, I know our concerns aren’t just ‘fear-mongering.’ Rather, legalizing assisted-suicide is a direct threat to our community as well as to the elderly, people with chronic illness and others marginalized by society. The Oregon assisted-suicide experiment has major problems.” Golden op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Sidewalk bicycling safety to be debated in Sacramento – Thirty years ago, possibly longer, Sacramento city officials wrote a brief law that went largely unnoticed for decades: If a cyclist is caught riding on the sidewalk in a nonresidential area, police can hit the scofflaw with a fine of up to $5. City Councilman Jay Schenirer, an avid bicyclist, says that piece of city code needs a rewrite to bring it into modern times.  Sacramento Bee article

Other Areas

Effort to reform rules on tribal recognition has communities concerned – The Bureau of Indian Affairs is planning potentially far-reaching changes to what Native Americans and officials agree is an onerous process for gaining tribal status — and the self-governing powers that come with it. That is giving hope to thousands of American Indians who have campaigned for years, in some cases decades, for recognition. But it has caused near panic in communities from Napa to the coast of Connecticut, prompting state and local officials to implore the administration to reconsider.  LA Times article

Youth tell stories of homelessness – The Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin County held an event Saturday evening at the University Park gymnasium titled “Voice for Change: Let Homeless Youth Be Heard.” What those in the audience heard were compelling stories from teens and young adults who have overcome unimaginable hardships to discover a better way of life.  Stockton Record article

Our Diversity: Stockton home to sixth-largest Hmong population – Stockton is home to the nation’s sixth-largest Hmong population: 6,968. Only Fresno and Sacramento have more residents tracing their heritage to the highlands of South Asia. There are more than 260,000 Hmong in the United States.  Stockton Record article

Michael Fitzgerald: Stocktonian’s story becomes inspiring movie – Unless I’m mistaken, there never has been a motion picture based on a Stocktonian’s life story. That changes on Feb. 20. On that date Disney is scheduled to release “McFarland, USA,” a movie about a Stockton man who coached a poor Valley cross country team to a record nine state championships.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The Fresno Bee recommends Amanda Renteria for Congressional District 21, Rachel Hill for Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Cary Catalano for Fresno City Council District 1, and a “yes” vote for the Measure Z sales tax to benefit the Chaffee Zoo.

Sacramento Bee – Here in Sacramento County, voters might not be systematically disenfranchised, but they do have to contend with a clunky elections system that does little to encourage voting; Just a few voters will set the state and local course.

Stockton Record – You want storylines? Here are 10 of them to follow in Tuesday’s general election.