November 30, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

California governor in Paris to push pact to curb emissions — California Gov. Jerry Brown is heading to the U.N. Climate Change conference, which opens Monday, where he will promote the state’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and urge other states and provinces to sign on to his climate pact. AP article

California tobacco tax measure’s supporters, foes prepare for battle — Three-and-a-half years after California voters rejected a $1-per-pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax, Big Tobacco and health advocates are preparing to duke it out once again over a proposed $2-per-pack hike likely to appear on next November’s ballot. San Jose Mercury News article

Other areas

Presidential race plays out in Congress: Which candidates do California’s members support? – At least 70% of the Democrats representing California in Congress support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. LA Times article 

Sacramento Bee: Who is to blame for tragedy in Colorado? — A 57-year-old drifter named Robert L. Dear Jr. may have pulled the trigger, but, if convicted, he won’t be the only one with blood on his hands. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Fresno Bee: U.S. Supreme Court should learn from Prop. 209 mistake — It has been nearly 20 years since California voters banned affirmative action in college admissions. Campus diversity here has never recovered from the chain saw that was Proposition 209. Fresno Bee editorial

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: Our cities have become vulnerable — The bankruptcies of three cities and high-profile financial scandals in a couple of others demonstrated the operational vulnerabilities of California’s municipalities. A coincidental series of events just this month underscore that vulnerability. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Minimum wage hike could reduce access to childcare – Rich Winefield has seen first-hand the pros and cons of the minimum wage increase. As executive director of BANANAS, an Oakland-based nonprofit that connects families with childcare providers, he has seen how Oakland’s minimum wage hike has impacted workers who benefit from a higher wage, while creating new challenges for families facing more expensive or reduced access to child care. CALmatters article

Jobs and the Economy

Change in Thanksgiving weekend spending stumps retailers – U.S. shoppers no longer blow the bulk of their holiday budgets on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. It’s a major shift that has made it difficult for stores to track and learn from shoppers’ spending habits during the start to the traditional busy holiday shopping season. AP article

Local businesses, shopper participate in Small Business Saturday — Visalia and Tulare establishments participated in Small Business Saturday, the nationwide movement that calls on shoppers to make their holiday shopping at locally-owned locations. And shoppers seemingly did their part. Visalia Times-Delta article

Hanford council will discuss chamber contract — The Hanford City Council will hold a study session Tuesday to review its contract with the Hanford Chamber of Commerce. The current contract provides the chamber with $87,540 of annual funding from the city. The chamber is responsible for a wide range of promotion and outreach efforts to support local business and tourism. Hanford Sentinel article

Gallo takes on hunger with Super Bowl event – Once again, E.&J. Gallo Winery will raise money for anti-hunger efforts through a gala on the night before the Super Bowl. And this time, it’s close to its Modesto home. Modesto Bee article

LA’s competition for 2024 Olympics things as Hamburg bows out – One of Los Angeles’ main rivals in the competition to host the 2024 Summer Olympics has dropped out of the running. Hamburg withdrew on Sunday after a slim majority of citizens in the German city voted not to support the bid. LA Times article

Last Boeing C-17 leaves Southern California assembly plant — The last C-17 Globemaster III built at a Southern California Boeing plant soared into history on Sunday with a flyover that marked the end of an era for the region’s once-thriving aerospace industry. AP articleLA Times article

Where will they go?  Homeless desperate for warm bed — Darren Pyle was staking out the south side of Sacramento’s Loaves & Fishes dining hall, a sunny spot on a chilly Sunday afternoon that was about to get a whole lot chillier. The regulars know that this is the place to stay warm during the day, he said. By midafternoon, though, as sharp shadows descended, Pyle moved across the street to get in line for a bus out of there – and a free ticket to a warm bed. Sacramento Bee article

CalPERS takes one step to monitor private equity – Using a new data system, CalPERS last week issued its first report on fees paid private equity firms, a type of investment that created a new class of billionaires and is criticized for debt-laden company takeovers resulting in job losses and bankruptcies. Calpensions article


November storms bring improved rain total to Fresno — Through Sunday, Fresno had received 1.74 inches of rain for the month. That compares with the meager 0.39 inches Fresno tallied in November a year ago, and beats the 10-year average for the month of 0.99 inches. Fresno Bee article

Modesto Irrigation District to seek more water income for higher-tech meters – Whether Modesto-area farmers are willing to cover the cost of fancy water delivery meters – about $4.5 million – will be seen next year in a vote of Modesto Irrigation District growers. Modesto Bee article

Don Curlee: Valley grape growers learn economic lesson — Wine grape growers in the San Joaquin Valley are learning a tough economics lesson the hard way, causing them to pull out vines, turn to other crops, sellout or retire. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta article 

Drought squeezes duck hunters – that could be bad news for fowl — Largely lost in the statewide discussion about fallowed crops, depleted reservoirs and brown lawns, is the impact of California’s drought on hunting. The succession of four dry years has dried up many of the natural marshes and rice fields used by the estimated 55,000 people who hunt waterfowl in California. While the number of duck hunters has stayed relatively steady overall in recent years, some of the state’s larger refuges have seen a marked decline in hunter usage. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Police kill shooter after Padre Hotel fight — A Bakersfield Police Department officer shot a man early Sunday morning after he fired at an officer during a short foot chase in downtown Bakersfield, according to police. The subject died later in a hospital. But people who work and visit downtown said they do feel safe there, despite what happened. Bakersfield Californian article

Black Oakland residents stopped, searched with vague legal tactic — Police in Oakland disproportionately stop and search African American pedestrians and motorists under the parameters of “reasonable suspicion” — a vague legal standard that can amount to little more than an officer’s hunch. San Francisco Chronicle article


Study: State should increase, overhaul school construction bonds – The state’s system of school construction and upkeep is inadequate and inequitable, with districts serving low-income students more often underfunding construction, then overspending on patching up facilities that needed major renovations, a new research study has found. EdSource article 

LA Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight – In L.A. Unified, police Chief Steven Zipperman and his force worked with community organizations to launch a landmark reform last year that has ended citations for most fights, petty thefts and other minor offenses in favor of redirection into counseling programs. In the last year, he said, about 460 students who would otherwise have been cited were sent to counseling instead, with only 7% failing to complete their programs. LA Times article

Beard Elementary students gain community skills on trip to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto — Students from Beard Elementary School got a special tour of Memorial Medical Center, seeing its X-ray and emergency rooms, posing for pictures with a medical helicopter and eating a hospital cafeteria lunch. Modesto Bee article


Tens of billions promised to boost clean energy tech – Government and business leaders are banking on clean energy technology to fight global warming, kicking off this week’s high-stakes climate change negotiations by pledging tens of billions of dollars for research and development. AP articleSacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Merced marchers hope to raise awareness on climate change — A group of about 40 people marched up and down M Street in Merced on Sunday on the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to raise awareness about environmental issues.  Merced Sun-Star article

UC Davis expert to take pro-cycling message to Paris climate conference — UC Davis transportation expert Lewis Fulton gave up his car years ago. He commutes on a red Trek hybrid bike from his Davis home to a West Village office where he’s on the faculty at the Institute of Transportation Studies. When it’s grocery time, he and his wife grab bikes with paniers. Sacramento Bee article 

Why rooftop solar advocates are upset about California’s clean-energy law — California’s aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don’t count. If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn’t included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown. LA Times article

Bay Area communities gearing up to create their own power systems — From Silicon Valley to the East Bay to the Central Coast, a “people’s power” movement is sweeping through California that will give local residents a choice to ditch PG&E and buy cleaner — and possibly cheaper — energy from the cities and counties where they live.  San Jose Mercury News article

Meet the Berkeley burners trying to hack climate change — The birthplace of a machine that could bring clean power to the developing world and knock a tiny dent in global warming looks like a junkyard on the edge of a port. Old shipping containers and metal scraps crowd the West Berkeley lot of All Power Labs. Prototypes of the company’s products stand watch over the front gate like rusted crows. Stray cats patrol the grounds, including the drafty former auto shop that the startup calls home. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

A cure for AIDS: Scientists say it’s ‘on the horizon’ – Today, on the eve of World AIDS Day, UCSF is scheduled to announce that it’s receiving a $20 million grant to find a cure for AIDS over the next five years. It’s part of a $100 million effort by the American Foundation for AIDS Research or amfAR, to fund the most promising research that could lead to curing AIDS. KQED report

California aims to stop warehousing foster kids in group homes — Vowing to raise its most traumatized children in committed family homes instead of residential facilities, California will soon stop warehousing kids in group homes where they often languish for years because the foster care system has found no other place for them to live. San Jose Mercury News article

‘Gene drive’ tool can prevent epidemics – but should it? — The genetically engineered mosquitoes now living in a Southern California basement lab, secured behind five locked doors, prove that it may be possible to wipe out malaria. Now we must decide whether or not we should do it.  San Jose Mercury News article


Stockton bike plan workshops to start — The city is about to start pedaling a lot faster in its long-awaited effort to make Stockton a friendlier place for those traveling around town on their bicycles. Stockton Record article

Driverless vehicles and the future of LA transportation — Last week at a presentation and panel discussion for students at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, The Times talked to Gabe Klein about one set of wheels he prefers — the self-driving car — and how it might be used to improve mobility in Los Angeles and other cities.  LA Times article

Other areas

New paper lifts records restrictions in Stanislaus County – A shortage in the paper used to print birth certificates and the like in Stanislaus County is over. County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan announced in a news release earlier this month that her office has received banknote paper used to print certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates. Restrictions on the number of copies people can get have been lifted, she said. Modesto Bee article

Where do Fresno Chafee Zoo animals go to warm up on a cold night? — Brrr. It’s cold outside. Cold enough to give chilblains to a chimpanzee or frostbite to a flamingo. But whereas people visiting the Fresno Chaffee Zoo have had to bundle up against chilly weather, the animals have places to get warm. Fresno Bee article

Family, witness question CHP errors in initial report on fatal bicycle crash – Family members and bicycle advocates say the California Highway Patrol botched key details in its investigation of a fatal bicycle crash this month involving a Sacramento Superior Court judge, deepening their skepticism about the agency’s handling of the case. Sacramento Bee article

San Jose leaders eye changes to medical marijuana rules – With just weeks to go before a December deadline for compliance, medical marijuana providers are still balking at some of San Jose’s rules and city officials are offering to ease them. San Jose Mercury News article

Marijuana dispensaries are banned in Newport Beach – Brick-and-mortar marijuana dispensaries and delivery services are now illegal in Newport Beach. Despite protests from two public speakers Tuesday night, the City Council gave its final OK on an ordinance banning the cultivation, processing, distribution and delivery of medical cannabis in Newport Beach. LA Times article

Fitz’s Stockton: An interview with Commodore Stockton — Commodore Robert F. Stockton, the Navy hero for whom Stockton is named, stopped by the newsroom the other day. Or the historical actor who plays him, Bart Bird, did. We asked the Commodore a few questions. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – U.S. Supreme Court should learn from Prop. 209 mistake.

Sacramento Bee – A 57-year-old drifter named Robert L. Dear Jr. may have pulled the trigger, but, if convicted, he won’t be the only one with blood on his hands.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: Unintended Consequences: Do Open Meeting Laws Undermine Good Decision Making? – Guest: California’s Little Hoover Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia. 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.

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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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