November 2, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories 

Paul Ryan says he won’t work with President Obama on immigration reform — Speaker Paul D. Ryan said in a series of televised interviews on Sunday that he would not work with the Obama administration on changing immigration policy, effectively pushing off the issue to at least 2017. New York Times articleAP articleLA Times article

George Skelton: As next Assembly speaker, academic late-bloomer Anthony Rendon aims to focus on education – Your kid’s doing cruddy in school? Don’t fret. He could rise to the top of his field and land one of the state’s most powerful jobs. Like Assemblyman Anthony Rendon of Lakewood, who has been chosen by fellow Democrats to be the next house speaker. Skelton column in LA Times

Valley politics

Longtime bus driver Murray to run for mayor of Stockton — With a Holy Bible before him and occasionally pounding on the table of a northside Starbucks, Sean Murray said Friday morning he is the man to transform Stockton and is beginning his political career by running for mayor. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Campaigns beginning earlier under term limits, fund caps — Earlier and earlier campaign kickoffs are a recognition of the realities of California politics in the age of term limits and contribution caps: If someone wants to stay in the political limelight, he or she has to be aggressively alert for an opening. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Dan Walters: Gun control effort shows Newsom’s derivative symbolism – California has no shortage of real issues – water supply, poverty, highway congestion, tax reform and educational deficiencies, to name but a few. Those who aspire to the governorship should tell us what they’d do about real problems, not merely peddle symbolic fluff à la Jerry Brown in 1974. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Angelique Ashby casts herself as outsider in Sacramento mayoral race — Angelique Ashby said she was ready to take on a Goliath. She’ll get her chance, even if it’s not the political heavyweight she had in mind. Sacramento Bee article

Battles in San Francisco, but not in mayoral race — On Tuesday, when voters here go to the polls for municipal elections, they will see a ballot that captures that turmoil and the deep divisions over the city’s future. There is an initiative to impose a moratorium on new construction in the Mission District and another to severely restrict short-term rentals, as well as a $310 million bond to create affordable housing. New York Times article

How evolving public attitudes on marijuana could affect the 2016 presidential race — Pot is very much on the minds of voters, with millions poised to decide whether to legalize it. That raises a tantalizing question for presidential candidates: Is there political opportunity in the wind? Some are beginning to believe there is. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

New plant tests US appetite for seawater desalination — There’s far more riding on the Americas’ largest seawater desalination plant than the 50 million gallons of drinking water it will produce for the San Diego area each day. The plant, which opens this year, will help determine the future of seawater desalination in the U.S. The billion-dollar project is only the nation’s second major seawater plant. The first U.S. foray in Tampa Bay is widely considered a flop. AP articleAP article: ‘Questions and answers about huge U.S. desalination plant’ 

Students should brace for longer, more difficult SATs – Students across the country are preparing for a new, more challenging SAT that will debut in March, the first major revision of the college admissions exam in a decade. The College Board, which administers the SAT, decided last year that the test needed to better reflect what students are learning in class, particularly as most states have adopted Common Core State Standards. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Everyday citizens step up to help the homeless – We’ve got to hand it to you, San Francisco. You have a huge homeless population, dirty streets and tent cities popping up all over, but you also have creative residents determined to do something about it. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fresno entrepreneur rises to the top – Laurie Seaborn of Fresno, founder of Spero Software, sold her company last year for a tidy sum. It was a pinnacle in her 23-year career in the technology industry. But as anyone familiar with Seaborn knows, her journey as an entrepreneur has been anything but typical. She overcame numerous challenges, both personal and professional, to become one of the first women to own and operate a tech company in Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Wild ride: Stockton entrepreneur jumps on electric scooter craze – You may have seen one — a two-wheeled scooter, sometimes called a hoverboard, that looks something like a low-slung Segway without the upright handlebar. Demand for such self-balancing scooters blew up earlier this year when twenty-something celebs such as Justin Beiber, Soulja Boy and Kendall Jenner posted on social media videos of themselves zipping, spinning, weaving and scooting around. Stockton Record article 

Can downtown Visalia tree be a tourist attraction? – Every day, thousands of people walk and drive by the large tree on the west side of Visalia’s downtown post office, and many hardly notice it. But city officials say its a unique tree, one of the few giant Sequoia growing on the Valley floor instead of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Though small compared to much older giant Sequoias in the mountains, it’s still so unique that the Visalia Visitors and Convention Bureau wants to use the tree to attract visitors to Visalia and the nearby national parks. Visalia Times-Delta article

Look here! Bay Area dominates list of best California cities for job seekers – Fifteen of the 20 best cities in California for job seekers are in the Bay Area. San Francisco took the No. 20 spot, with the 21st best job market and 40th best socioeconomic environment. San Francisco has more job openings than any other city in California, according to the report. San Francisco Chronicle article

Orange County Register owner files for bankruptcy protection; CEO’s group plans bid — Freedom Communications Inc., owner of the Orange County Register, filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, and its chief executive said he plans to lead a bid to acquire the troubled newspaper company. LA Times articleAP article 

Aromatherapy device advances in business contest – Erin Bell’s business idea – ceramic pendants that dispense aromatherapy oils – won the Oakdale regional round of the Stanislaus Innovation Challenge. Modesto Bee article

San Francisco ballots turn up anger over the technical divide – Proposition F is a new proposal that would cut the supply of short-term home rentals, or, to quote a few of the people who answered their doors for Mr. Bennett, “the Airbnb thing.” New York Times article

Private firms offer to run state retirement plan – A board working on a proposal to enroll most small business employees in a state-run retirement savings plan, unless they opt out, was told last week that small technology-focused financial firms could do the job. Calpensions article

Sidewalk sales debate exposes sharp divide on where – or if – vendors can operate — L.A.’s political leaders are slowly moving to craft rules that would govern the outdoor sale of merchandise and foods well-known to many Angelenos — slices of mango spiked with lime juice, hot dogs wrapped in bacon, corn slathered with condiments. But they are being confronted with sharply diverging messages on where, if any place, the vendors should be allowed to operate. LA Times article


Californians take drought lessons from Down Under – Australia has become a crossroads for California policymakers seeking clues to coping with long, arduous droughts. A group of state lawmakers led by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León spent the last couple of weeks Down Under. KQED report 

Merced Mysteries and Minutia: Despite drought, Merced Irrigation District provided limited irrigation water this summer – In these years of drought, few things get people’s blood flowing more than talk about water. Here in the Central Valley, when we think of water, we think of farmers. It’s no secret that farmers received very little irrigation water this year. In some places, they received none. Merced Sun-Star article 

Modesto set to take big steps in recycled water project – Modesto is expected to take some big steps in a roughly $100 million project to send highly treated wastewater to drought-stricken West Side farmers as soon as 2018. Modesto Bee article

As East Bay water use drops, snitching on the rise — In their zeal to conserve water during the fourth year of a historic drought, many East Bay residents have become water snitches, tattling on neighbors for hosing down driveways, leaving sprinklers on all night and even excessive bathing. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Come crane or shine: Drought bad for birders, not so bad for birders — Egrets generally don’t like company, but these days, beggars can’t be choosers. The drought has reduced the amount of available food and water, forcing birds of many species to coexist in smaller pockets of habitat, which makes them more vulnerable to disease and predation. Stockton Record article
Criminal Justice/Prisons

Obama to announce steps to help ex-prisoners find jobs and housing – President Obama plans to announce a series of small initiatives on Monday intended to make it easier for former prisoners to find jobs and live in subsidized housing, part of his broader drive to remake the criminal justice system. New York Times article

Thousands start life anew with early prison releases — From Friday to Monday, more than 6,000 federal prisoners will be released earlier than they once expected, although nearly one-third of them are foreign citizens who will be handed over for likely deportation. New York Times article

AP: Hundreds of officers lose licenses over sex misconduct — A yearlong Associated Press investigation illuminated the problem of rape and sexual misconduct committed by law officers in the United States, uncovering about 1,000 cops, jail guards, deputies and others who lost their licenses from 2009 through 2014 for such incidents. There are most certainly even more than that, because some states did not provide records and others, including New York and California, said they do not decertify officers for misconduct. AP article


Phil Cox: Our future is in the hands of teenagers – The Tulare County supervisor writes, “On Oct. 21, more than 350 middle school and high school students from all over Tulare County converged on the Visalia Convention Center to launch this year’s Step Up Youth Challenge.” Cox op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Deterioration of public school arts programs has been particularly jarring in LA — Budget cuts and a narrow focus on subjects that are measured on standardized tests have contributed to a vast reduction of public school arts programs across the country. The deterioration has been particularly jarring in Los Angeles, the epicenter of the entertainment industry. LA Times article


Tulare County considering truck idling limits — An ordinance amendment that could limit how long heavy diesel trucks can idle will get a first reading during Tuesday’s Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting. Visalia Times-Delta article

Toxic algae bloom threatens Dungeness crab season — A toxic algae bloom in the Pacific may delay the start of Dungeness crab season — and the possibility of a delicious Thanksgiving crab on your table. San Francisco Chronicle article
Health/Human Services 

Covered California confronts challenge of signing up millions of remaining uninsured — As the Affordable Care Act’s third open-enrollment season kicks off Sunday, health care experts around the nation will be closely watching whether Covered California gains more traction — and signups — than it did in 2015. San Jose Mercury News articleLA Times article

28 people died from West Nile virus in California this year – California health officials say 28 people have died from West Nile virus so far this year. That’s according to the latest data from the state Department of Public Health. AP articleLA Times article 

Downtown Modesto center prepares foster youth to live as adults — Foster teens who are getting ready to live on their own now have a center in downtown Modesto where they can pick up the skills they need. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Forum set for public input on Merced city manager — A community forum to gather public input on what residents hope for in Merced’s next city manager is scheduled for next week, though the City Council will have the ultimate say in who fills the position. Merced Sun-Star article

Balaji settling in as new San Joaquin County public works director — Kris Balaji is looking forward to interacting with county residents and tackling the issue of flood control in the Delta as he adjusts to his new role as San Joaquin County public works director. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee – The developer of Curtis Park Village has sunk to a new low in the tactics he’s using to win approval for a mega-gas station in the residential community.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Is the Valley’s Political Influence Growing?” – Guests: Bill McEwen, opinion page editor of the Fresno Bee, and Dr. Thomas Holyoke, political science professor at Fresno State. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Nov. 8, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Californians and Civic Engagement” – Guest: Mony Flores-Bauer of League of Women Voters of California. Host: Maddy Institute Deputy Director Ana Melendez.

Sunday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: Political Influence in California Politics: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” — Guests: John Myers, former senior editor for California politics and government for KQED and currently Sacramento bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, and Marisa Lagos, KQED California politics and government reporter. 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

Community Events

  • The fourth annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit will be held at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration and additional information is available here.
  • The 34thannual Agribusiness Management Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Fresno on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The event will feature presentation on the economic outlook for agriculture, trade, water, and immigration.  More information:  559.278.4405 or
  • The 2015 California Economic Summit will be held in Ontario on Nov. 12-13.  Since its inception in 2012, the Summit has brought together hundreds of private, public and civic leaders from the state’s diverse regions in an effort to advance the triple bottom line: promoting a prosperous economy that respects environment and equity concerns.  More information and registration is available here.


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

Please visit if you want to view the Maddy Daily with our comprehensive list of links to all federal, state and local government, public affairs institutes/regional entities, Valley media and public policy blogs. (Please note new website address.)

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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