November 25, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories 

Sanchez picks up local endorsements for U.S. Senate – Sarah Reyes wasn’t Sanchez’s only recent local endorsement. Former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante – a Valley native who now lives in Elk Grove – and Sanchez’s House colleague, Fresno Democrat Jim Costa, have also endorsed her over Harris. Fresno Bee article

California bill would require double pay on Thanksgiving – As Californians start brining birds and mashing potatoes, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, is again hoping to dish out meatier wages for Thanksgiving workers. She plans to amend and revive stalled legislation guaranteeing double Thanksgiving pay so it would only apply to workers at large retail businesses that have more than 500 employees in California. Sacramento Bee article
State budget

$1 billion at risk in California fight over Medi-Cal managed care tax – California lawmakers are staring down a $1.1 billion hole in next year’s health budget after failing to come up with a way to replace the state’s “managed care organization tax” on health insurance plans that serve Medi-Cal managed care recipients. KQED report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joe Mathews: Gavin vs. Kevin, and California dysfunction — It’s not just a tempest in a teapot. It’s more telling than that. The back-and-forth over state Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon’s pulling back two employee positions from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has become a statewide story, with lots of speculation about what’s behind the move and what it may mean. Mathews in Fox & Hounds


Young immigrants are at risk from sponsors with criminal records, senators say — Federal officials placed immigrant youths with convicted criminals, including sex traffickers and human smugglers, then refused to remove them even after a whistle-blower alerted officials, two senators alleged Tuesday. LA Times article

Other areas 

What is California doing about the daily fantasy sports controversy? – Another year has come and gone without any resolution in California’s long-simmering battle over legalizing Internet poker, and now politicians’ attention may be shifting to a newer, shinier form of online wagering: daily fantasy sports. Sacramento Bee article

Tim Scott: Taxing services would kill jobs and damage small firms – The California state director for the National Federation of Independent Business writes, “As the politicians keep concocting new tax schemes, it’s important to remind them that the consequences of tax policies extend beyond the ledger of Sacramento’s state treasury. They impact jobs and the economy as well.” Scott op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California GOP consultant Rob Stutzman helped sink Vitter in Louisiana — Rob Stutzman, a Republican political consultant based in Sacramento, played a key role in the defeat of Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s bid for the governorship of Louisiana last week. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories

California’s working poor grow poorer — Montes is part of a growing economic problem in California: low wage workers are getting poorer, and there are more of them. There were about 354,800 Californians working full-time and year-round in 2013 living under the federal poverty limit, according to the nonprofit California Budget and Policy Center. That’s 3.1 percent of California’s full-time workforce, double the rate it was 35 years ago. CALmatters article

Visalia’s water fight intensifies – Tensions between the city of Visalia and California Water Service Company are heating up, with the utility announcing the findings of a poll claiming residents don’t want the city to take over the water system. Visalia Times-Delta articleCal Water Visalia director James E. Smith op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Jobs and the Economy

‘Hunger Count’ aims to bring more data to Fresno leaders – A new survey of food insecurity in some of Fresno’s poorest neighborhoods is shedding light on a problem that plagues much of the valley. On Valley Edition we talked to Philip Erro, the driving force behind the new “Fresno Hunger Count”project, and Andy Souza of the Community Food Bank. Souza says the new data may help local organizations like his be more proactive in meeting the needs of those who go hungry, rather than simply being reactive. KVPR report 

Valley Edition: Hanford grows while downtown struggles – For years, Hanford has enjoyed one of the most vibrant downtowns in the Central Valley. However, in the last decade, the area has seen its fortunes decline as vacancies have risen. Recently the city council eliminated laws that prevented things like movie theaters and hotels to be built outside of downtown, in favor of a more “free market” approach.  Now Hanford city leaders say they want to help improve business conditions in the heart of town. KVPR report

Hanford readies for hotel projects – Just three months after the city loosened its rules on where hotels can locate, Hanford is about to have a lot more places to stay. Hanford Sentinel article

Shoppers should expect calmer Black Friday experience – The frenzy is fizzling. Where Black Fridays of years past had thousands of people lining up outside stores and tense moments inside, things will be less frantic this year. Why? Fresno Bee article

Fresno charities sweat out slow donations for Thanksgiving, holidays – Local charities serving the needy and homeless are sweating it out this week as donations of turkeys and other food for Thanksgiving meals and the rest of the holiday season lag behind last year. Fresno Bee article

1,000 holiday turkeys for the needy in Los Banos – Hundreds of Los Banos residents lined the streets near the fairgrounds Tuesday morning, waiting to get a free Thanksgiving turkey. Greg Hostetler, a farmer and developer in Merced, gave away 1,000 turkeys and packages of almonds this week to those in need in Merced and Los Banos. Merced Sun-Star article

CalPERS discloses private equity investment fees: $1 billion — CalPERS on Tuesday released long-anticipated figures on how much it pays the companies that manage its private-equity investments: more than $1 billion in the latest fiscal year. Pension fund officials said CalPERS earned a $4.1 billion profit from those investments. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

California tourism groups worried about changes to visa program – The head of a group representing California tourism organizations says she is concerned that the state’s more than $117-billion annual tourism industry could be hurt by a plan to change a visa program following the Paris terror attacks. LA Times article

Worker pay only small part of water rate hikes — Some critics of sharp water rate hikes San Diego approved last week complained that much of the new revenue would be devoted to employee pay, but city officials say that’s not true. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Average taxes on wireless bills in California reach a record 18 percent — The good news: Thanks to increased competition, wireless companies’ rates have dropped nearly 7% since 2008. The bad news: Average federal, state and local taxes and fees for California customers reached a record 18%, meaning that the government’s slice of your wireless bill is now at least twice as high as the state sales tax imposed on most other goods and services. LA Times article

Blue Origin succeeds in landing reusable rocket – Jeff Bezos’ space company landed the first stage of its New Shepard space vehicle this week in a breakthrough that could help dramatically lower the cost of spaceflight. Washington Post article

California reaches $1 million settlement with maker of robotic cleaners — The Sacramento-based California Energy Commission has approved a $1 million settlement with iRobot Corp., maker of robotic vacuum cleaners, including the Roomba. Sacramento Bee article

Ruling boosts San Diego’s stadium case to NFL – San Diego’s case to the NFL that it’s capable of building a new Chargers stadium was strengthened by a state appeals court ruling that the city can continue using its preferred method of financing infrastructure projects. San Diego Union-Tribune article

California politicians seek potential disaster relief for crab industry – A California congressional delegation urged Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday to be ready to declare a state of disaster if the commercial crab season is closed for the rest of the winter, a scenario that could cost local fishers around $60 million in lost revenue. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Sacramento Kings pursue overseas investors for development near new arena – Tapping into a federal program that dangles green cards to wealthy foreigners, the Sacramento Kings are seeking Chinese investment dollars to help finance redevelopment of the site around the new downtown arena. Sacramento Bee article

Steve Lopez: LA official understands homelessness as policymaker, concerned citizen – Mr. Santana’s first name is Miguel, and he’s the administrative officer for the city of Los Angeles. For many years, beginning with his volunteer work at missions while going to Whittier College, he’s looked at homelessness as both a policy maker and a concerned citizen. Lopez column in LA Times

Wool Growers changes ownership, but nothing else – After hearing Wool Growers Restaurant in Los Banos changed ownership, there was talk that the popular Basque-style restaurant would change its menu or picnic-table seating. But Michel and Jeanine Iturbide, who have owned the restaurant for 41 years, said not to worry: “Everything will be the same.” Merced Sun-Star article 

Daily fantasy sports: Skill or luck? — One of the most involved virtual spectator experiences is daily fantasy sports, or DFS. Sports fans draft teams of their favorite players and pit them against their friends’. The participants then accumulate points based on how the players in their draft performed that week. What started as a seasonal pastime in offices around America has morphed into a daily, multibillion-dollar business, fueled by national TV advertising and the internet. Unlike the traditional office pool, DFS offers same-day cash rewards to winners – a big incentive. Capitol Weekly article

Modesto council cuts outdoor watering to once a week – The Modesto City Council gave approval Tuesday to limit outdoor watering to one day a week starting next month. Modesto Bee article

Amid drought, San Diego faces the opposite problem: Too much water – Unlike other parts of California, San Diego has 99% of the water needed for normal usage. But statewide conservation mandates have applied equally to areas that have plenty of water and those that don’t, so the result here has been water piling up unused while local water agencies raise rates to make up for lost sales. LA Times article

Lois Henry: Demands on desert aquifer look a bit nutty – Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who gasped (figuratively speaking) when pistachio farmer Paul Nugent told the Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 17 meeting that his and a partner’s trees, when mature, would consume 20 percent of all groundwater pumping in the Indian Wells Valley. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Police arrest 4 men suspected of destroying dam during drought – The mystery of the missing 50 million gallons of East Bay water is over, authorities say. Police in Fremont arrested four men who they say slashed an inflatable rubber dam along Alameda Creek in May and sent a portion of the area’s drinking water supply downstream. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

New Oakdale irrigation board members take seats — Saying they’ll put campaign acrimony behind them, Linda Santos and Gail Altieri took the oath of office Monday and became members of the Oakdale Irrigation District board. Modesto Bee article

Donna Johnson: Valley volunteer joins bottled water distributors to help drought victims – Known locally as the water angel, Johnson writes, “While our state leaders continue to debate a variety of long-term solutions to California’s water crisis, I am proud that our community has come together with creative ideas to help in the short term. Church and community leaders have teamed with relief organizations and others to help us bridge the gap. And just recently, I was proud to stand with California’s bottled water providers to bring in over 100,000 servings of bottled water to help alleviate some of the challenges facing our local families.” Johnson op-ed in Fresno Bee

Turlock Irrigation District will expand water conservation project — A small reservoir near Hilmar proved its worth this year in catching excess canal flows, so the Turlock Irrigation District will more than triple its size over winter. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Jeff Jardine: People power prevails in stopping parole of murdered – When it comes to dealing with government, many folks don’t believe their voice matters. This time, it did. In July, after learning the state parole board had recommended freedom for convicted murderer Jeffrey Maria, a sizable contingent of people led by Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Beth De Jong, members of the Ranzo family and supporters took their frustration and disgust to the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

D.A.’s office: Kern deputies justified in using deadly force against manhunt suspect — Kern County sheriff’s deputies who fired upon manhunt suspect Benjamin Peter Ashley were justified in their use of deadly force as Ashley was armed with a gun and pointing it at one of the deputies, a District Attorney’s office news release said Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Videos of police shootings don’t always tell the full story, experts warn – Even as demonstrators took to Chicago’s streets Tuesday night to protest the shooting of McDonald by a white police officer, law enforcement experts around the nation warned that recordings like the one that captured the teen’s death can paint an incomplete picture. LA Times article

Even after release, California convicts contend with digital trail – Visitors to the 1998 California state fair were treated to demonstrations of a novel criminal justice tool: a computer that allowed them to look up information about registered sex offenders. Nearly two decades later, the novelty has vanished. A few clicks on a personal computer summon the name, address and record of sex offenders filed in the state’s Megan’s Law database. Every state in the nation now maintains a database of registered sex offenders. Sacramento Bee article 

Lawsuit seeks help for mentally ill after release from LA County jails — Seeking to end what they call the “Skid Row to jail cycle,” civil rights lawyers went to court on Monday to argue that new federal reforms fail to help mentally ill people get the care they need as they are released from Los Angeles County lockups. KPCC report 

San Joaquin County deputies break up human trafficking operation — Authorities Tuesday busted a human trafficking operation in San Joaquin County following an extensive investigation that began earlier this month when a young woman came into a Stockton motel lobby and pleaded with the clerk for help. Stockton Record article


‘White Student Union’ groups set off concerns at campuses – The emergence of “White Student Union” Facebook groupsclaiming links to more than 30 universities has caused alarm among students and education officials, although the authenticity of many of the pages is being questioned. New York Times article

Nan Austin: Words fail them: Take note, student speakers, Congress losing points on presentation – Congressional speeches on both sides warning the other side will ruin the country appear to be having an effect – on what people think of Congress. The underlying message seems worth noting as students head to college interviews and school boards gavel meetings to order during a tough negotiating year. Modesto Bee article

Fowler native named new Arts and Humanities dean – Fresno State named a Fowler High graduate its new College of Arts and Humanties dean on Nov. 23. Dr. Saùl Jimènez-Sandoval, a Fresno State professor of Spanish and Portuguese and interim associate arts and humanties dean, succeeds interim dean Jose A. Diaz, who was not a candidate for the position, on Jan 1. Fresno Bee article

USC faculty moves ahead with union election plan, despite warning of increased hostility – USC faculty filed paperwork Tuesday to hold union elections, a move that administrators have warned could lead to increased hostility on campus. The non-tenure track professors were organized by Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents bargaining units in Los Angeles and the county. LA Times article

Fresno State professor peeks behind TV curtain – Fresno State’s Jes Therkelsen was one of 20 professors from across the country selected by the Television Academy to participate in its annual Faculty Seminar. The five-day event held in North Hollywood gave the educators a chance to interact with high-level industry professionals to discuss topics such as programming, making a pilot, movies for television and securing rights. Fresno Bee article

Larry White: Teacher learning built on acceptance – Teachers have opportunities to practice the meaning of this quote every day. More than those in many other professions, teachers hear the voices and learn about the experiences of a number of children. These students often see life and face its challenges much more vividly than we as teachers did decades ago. When any person first enters their chosen profession, they bring along their own biases and stereotypes. This is particularly true for teachers. White column in Stockton Record

El Dorado County schools chief gets $125,000 to resign after two DUI arrests — El Dorado County schools chief Jeremy Meyers received a $125,000 buyout package this month for resigning after being arrested twice on suspicion of drunken driving. Sacramento Bee article

Report finds 6th-grade science texts inaccurate on causes of climate change — As California Gov. Jerry Brown joins world leaders in Paris next week after several months of campaigning to curb climate change around the world, many middle schools in his state are using science textbooks that are inaccurate on the subject, according to a new report from Stanford University this week. EdSource article


Bay Bridge pier blast saved endangered smelt, Caltrans says — Not a single endangered longfin smelt fish was killed in the implosion of the old Bay Bridge eastern span’s largest pier, Caltrans said Tuesday — an encouraging sign for a repeat performance on as many as a dozen remaining such structures. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Reedley hospital pays creditors from bankruptcy – Sierra Kings Health Care District in Reedley has paid all creditors from a 2009 bankruptcy. Six years ago, the Reedley hospital district was teetering on the brink of closure when it filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Fresno Bee article 

Third Bakersfield resident filing e-cigarette lawsuit — Bakersfield resident Roy Iversen was riding home from work on Interstate 5 when his electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, exploded in his pocket. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing

Local state of emergency declaration looms due to alarming conditions at central Fresno apartment complex – Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is expected to sign a resolution Wednesday proclaiming a local state of emergency at the Summerset Village Apartments, where hundreds of residents have been without heat, gas and hot water for two weeks. Fresno Bee articleFresno Bee editorialKVPR report

Habitat dedicates 131st house in southeast Fresno — Carlos Hernandez and his family received the keys to their new southeast Fresno home, built by Habitat for Humanity Fresno County, just in time for Thanksgiving. A dedication was held Saturday to celebrate the completion of the 1,216-square-foot house – Habitat’s 131st home – in the Hope Village subdivision at Church and Laval avenues. Habitat, a nonprofit Christian housing ministry, is building nine homes in the development. Fresno Bee article


Politifact: Have costs dropped ‘several hundred million dollars’ for California’s bullet train? — Several hundred million dollars is miniscule compared with the project’s overall cost. But because the CEO’s statement goes against the project’s past financial history, it inspired us to check the facts. Capital Public Radio report

With rising number of highway deaths, California bucks national trend — Federal highway safety data released Tuesday show the traffic death toll in California continues to trend upward even as the number of people who die on roads nationwide holds steady. KQED report

Other areas

Turlock Fire Department has new leader, a national trainer and former chief — Turlock has named its new fire chief, hiring an instructor from the National Fire Academy in Maryland to fill the post. A community reception for Fire Chief Bob Talloni has been slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday the Community Training Room of the Turlock Public Safety Facility, 244 North Broadway, Turlock. Modesto Bee article

Valley Public Radio needs fund to open Clovis facility — Valley Public Radio/FM 89 has been awarded a $200,000 challenge grant from the James Irvine Foundation for the construction of its new broadcast center, currently under construction at Temperance and Alluvial avenues. To meet the challenge, the station must raise an equivalent $200,000 before the end of the year. Fresno Bee article

Nonfiction film features those on Modesto’s frayed edges — It is on our river that Bay Area filmmaker Katy Grannan starts her stunning trailer for her first feature film, “The Nine.” Billed as a nonfiction feature, though essentially a documentary shot with some degree of poetic license, the project follows some of the real-life inhabitants of Modesto’s South Ninth Street – hence the film’s name. Modesto Bee article

LA’s ‘soft targets’ draw more scrutiny in wake of Paris attacks — The coordinated attacks in Paris — where 130 people were killed at cafés, outdoor terraces and a concert hall in several parts of the city — has officials reassessing the threat. In addition to protecting famous attractions, authorities say they need to focus more on lesser-known gathering places where a few terrorists could carry out a devastating attack. LA Times article

Willard G. “Bill” Clark, rancher and Japanese art collector, dies at 85 — Willard G. “Bill” Clark, the Hanford rancher-turned-export-businessman whose love of Japanese art and canny eye for purchasing priceless objects turned him into a world-renowned collector, died Sunday on the ranch where he lived for all his 85 years. Fresno Bee article

Bakersfield to Mesa Marin softballers: more diamonds on the way — Bakersfield’s northeast Mesa Marin Sports Complex has become so popular nine softball teams were turned away in advance of a softball tournament last weekend because they simply didn’t have space to play. It’s a problem the city hopes to resolve next year by building two more softball diamonds, City Manager Alan Tandy said in his most recent weekly memorandum to Mayor Harvey L. Hall and members of the Bakersfield City Council. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Two simple words form one of the most powerful phrases on earth. And yet few of us say it enough. That phrase is “thank you.”Summerset Village owner should be ashamed of conditions there.

Sacramento Bee – Why turkeys are safer this year; Solidarity, but no change in strategy against Islamic State.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: Employment Conditions Post-Recession: Same As It Ever Way — Guests: California Budget Center Policy Analyst Luke Reidenbach, National Federation of Independen Business (NFIB) California State Director Tom Scott. 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

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.

Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!  

Follow @MaddyDaily on Twitter – Can’t wait for the Maddy Daily to hit your in-box each morning?  Follow @MaddyDaily on Twitter to receive updates on policy and political developments throughout the day.

If you want to subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at

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.

This document is to be used for informational purposes only. Unless specifically noted, the Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno does not officially endorse or support views that may be expressed in the document. If you want to print a story, please do so now before the link expires.

Funding for The Maddy Daily is made possible by grants from The Wonderful Company and BNSF Railroad and generous donations from you, our subscribers.