November 27, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories 

Gavin Newsom talks his three big issues for 2016 — The former San Francisco mayor has put himself front and center on three controversial 2016 ballot measures — pot legalizationgun controland a higher minimum wage. They’re all issues that could shore up his liberal base and raise his profile in areas of the state where he’s not well known. KQED report

Dan Walters: Troubles continue for courts — There’s nothing more fundamental to a well-functioning society than an efficient, fair court system to resolve civil disputes and criminal cases. California has the nation’s largest court system, and perhaps its most troubled with severe financial and managerial tangles, and a virtual war between a San Francisco-based administrative superstructure and hundreds of rebellious local judges. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Debra Saunders: Should federal agents even have guns? — Another murder committed with another gun stolen by someone in law enforcement. The latest victim, we learn, is muralist Antonio Ramos, who was shot in September — gunned down in Oakland while working on a mural dedicated to nonviolence.  The worst part is: This is nothing new. This column is not about the guilt or innocence of anyone charged in these crimes, but the role played by irresponsible officials. It’s about gun theft. Saunders column in San Francisco Chronicle

News Stories

Top Stories

More California farmland could vanish as water shortages loom beyond drought — Land retirement is coming to California agriculture. The drought will end someday, maybe even this winter, but farmers will still face long-term shortages of water. The driving force: a new state law regulating the extraction of groundwater. Sacramento Bee article

New study fuels debate on ethanol mandate’s California impact — New California-specific estimates on the economic toll of requiring U.S. refiners to blend corn ethanol into gasoline have put the fossil fuel industry in rare accord with environmentalists in advance of a politically fraught regulatory decision on a far-reaching aspect of national energy policy. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Beige Thursday? Thanksgiving store openings start calm, get busy – Thousands of people across the Valley hit the stores in search of early Black Friday deals while their turkey still was digesting Thursday.  Fresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian article

Small Business Saturday takes hold locally — Small Business Saturday was such a hit downtown last year that it is returning this year with the support of more than a dozen business owners who have offered coupons and donated raffle prizes for participating shoppers. The event’s popularity speaks to increasing recognition among consumers that, on the day after the major-retailer shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, it pays to check out small, local stores whose fortunes are closely tied to the local economy. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Record: Black Friday – To all of this we add our usual two-word editorial synopsis: Shop locally. We realize that some will want to avoid the crowds and the mayhem and simply sign onto their computers to do their holiday shopping. But it makes such a difference to the local economy when dollars are spent here. Stockton Record editorial

Black Friday retail workers struggle to make the most of a shopping slump – Employees of companies like American Apparel, which filed for bankruptcy last month, will be putting in extra effort to turn around what is shaping up to be a dismal shopping season. New York Times article

San Diego homeless population climbs to fourth highest in U.S. – The homeless population in San Diego city and county is now the fourth largest in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nearly 48% of those without housing are sleeping on the streets. LA Times article

Gap says audits show its workers get equal pay for the same work – Since the California Fair Pay Act was signed into law last month, companies have been scrambling to check their books, review their hiring statistics and get legal guidance to navigate what’s being called the toughest equal wage statute in the country. But one well-known San Francisco apparel firm is getting attention for its effort to help close the gender wage gap. Gap Inc. says its male and female employees are paid an equal wage for equal work. LA Times article

Sacramento court workers consider strike as labor talks push on – Sacramento Superior Court’s technical employees are threatening to walk off the job in December after months of contract talks without a deal. Sacramento Bee article

Parents ready for some love from Silicon Valley companies — Silicon Valley is beginning to admit it isn’t just for young people anymore. New York Times article

Before you buy a Black Friday drone, read this — You may be one of the many planning to purchase and gift-wrap a drone. But before you plunk down your credit card on that smoking-hot Black Friday deal, there are some things you should know. Consider the following information an early Christmas present. Sacramento Bee article 

LA County backs plan to ensure Internet access for seniors and the poor — Recognizing how essential the Internet is for people looking for jobs and social services, the Board of Supervisors voted this week to push for affordable high-speed Internet access for Los Angeles County seniors, low-income residents and people with disabilities. LA Times article

Well permit applications largely approved under new groundwater ordinance — From April through October, 465 applications for well permits were submitted to Merced County. More than 65 percent, or 304 applications, were approved. Out of those approved, 222 were for domestic wells and 82 were for irrigation wells. Merced Sun-Star article 

Farm recalls produce used in Costco salad linked to E. coli recall — A California farm is recalling a vegetable mix believed to be the source of E.coli in Costco chicken salad that has been linked to an outbreak that has sickened 19 people in seven states, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. Taylor Farms Pacific Inc. of Tracy, California, has recalled a mix of diced celery and onion used in Costco chicken salad and other foods containing celery “out of an abundance of caution,” the FDA said in a statement. AP article 

A new earthquake-proof Calaveras dam — Since July 2010, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been hard at work on one of the biggest engineering projects in the nation, theHetch Hetchy Water System Improvement Program. At a cost of nearly five billion dollars, the program will seismically upgrade and replace aging infrastructure that brings water from Hetchy Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, 167 miles away, to the Bay Area. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Judge: Kerman man can’t be executed for 1979 murder — A Kerman man who has spent more than three decades on California’s death row for raping and killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter is ineligible for the death penalty because he is intellectually disabled, a Fresno County Superior Court judge has ruled. Instead, Judge Wayne Ellison said Donald Griffin should spend the rest of his life behind bars. Ellison’s ruling is the first of its kind in Fresno County Superior Court and gives death-penalty opponents new fuel to ban capital punishment in California. Fresno Bee article

Crackdown on pimps fuels a rise in human trafficking charges in LA County — Over the last few years, Los Angeles County prosecutors have been targeting pimps with human trafficking charges that can carry significantly greater punishment than pandering. LA Times article


Microsoft picks five teachers for program — Five Manteca Unified educators have been named Innovative Educator Experts for Microsoft, joining more than 5,600 instructors in the program worldwide. Tammy Dunbar, Peter Gale, Christina Hansen, Kristen Messer and Stephan Unterholzner were among those selected by the tech company as experts to share ideas, try new approaches and learn from each other through a global community dedicated to improving student outcomes through technology. Stockton Record article

Music class helps Sacramento refugee students learn English — The Arden Arcade school has become a magnet for refugee families as nonprofits that sponsor their immigration to the United States have located them in apartments in surrounding neighborhoods. The school has 73 refugee students this year. Winney started her Building Oral Language Through Music class two years ago as she observed that newcomers can participate in the music program right away though they struggle to speak English. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Kaweah Delta lays out footprint, schedule for new downtown Visalia hospital — Kaweah Delta Healthcare District has published a map showing the footprint for the new acute care hospital in downtown Visalia. The new tower would be attached to the current Acequia Wing and would span all the way to West Street. Visalia Times-Delta article

General Hospital shores up orthopedic division — In an effort to avoid being understaffed in its orthopedic division, San Joaquin general Hospital will call upon physicians from Stanislaus County. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors earlier this month approved an agreement between the hospital and the Stanislaus Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic to provide services for the next year. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Stockton mayor promises ‘neutral’ sites for discussions – Two weeks after presenting a key to the city to God, Mayor Anthony Silva will host a town hall meeting Monday night at the Christian Life Center in northeast Stockton, and leaders of the local atheist and LGBT communities are not happy about it. Stockton Record article 

Cleaning up blight costs money that isn’t often recovered – Is there an abandoned house in your neighborhood spreading blight or attracting crime? What about an industrial site illegally set up on land not zoned for industrial uses? How about a next-door neighbor who has parked an ancient Airstream in his front yard to use as an apartment for grandma? If it’s occurring in unincorporated Kern County, residents usually direct their complaints to the county’s Code Compliance Division, which may seem like a savior to residents who are dealing with these thorny issues — or a bureaucratic bully to those on the receiving end. Bakersfield Californian article 

Lady Luck smiles on Modesto – twice — A Modesto man identified so far only as “Tony” has won $10 million off a $30 scratcher in the California Lottery. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Black Friday may be going, going, gone as a tradition. But, hey, it was never all it was cracked up to be.

Stockton Record – To all of this we add our usual two-word editorial synopsis: Shop locally. We realize that some will want to avoid the crowds and the mayhem and simply sign onto their computers to do their holiday shopping. But it makes such a difference to the local economy when dollars are spent here.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: Employment Conditions Post-Recession: Same As It Ever Was — 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.

Sunday, Nov. 29, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Valley’s Future Workforce: Low Skill/Low Wage or High Skill/High Wage” – Guests: Carole Goldsmith, Ed.D, president of West Hills College Coalinga; Lee Ann Eager, president/CEO of the Economic Development Corporation Serving Fresno County; and Antonio Avalos, chair of the Fresno State Economics Department.  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

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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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