October 23, 2014


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

Political Briefs

Top stories

Poll:  Prop 45 trails, water bond, Jerry Brown up – Support for the Nov. 4 ballot initiative requiring that health insurance rate changes be approved by the state’s elected insurance commissioner is eroding, according to a new poll out late Wednesday, with the measure faltering under the weight of a $57-million campaign funded largely by insurers. On Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, 56 percent say they would support it after being read the ballot title and label for the measure.  Sacramento Bee articlePPIC news releaseSan Francisco Chronicle articleJohn Myers in KQEDContra Costa Times article

CD21: Poll shows Renteria closing in on Valadao – Amanda Renteria’s campaign for the 21st Congressional District touted a strong bit of news for the second day in a row Wednesday. Her campaign quoted a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KFSN-TV, Channel 30 in Fresno that shows she has cut deeply into the lead her opponent, Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, held just six weeks ago.  Bakersfield Californian article

George Skelton: Less-funded controller’s race is where the real money is – Who could have imagined? The California controller contest is more intriguing than the slow-motion race for governor.  Skelton column in LA Times

Valley politics

Some say Central Unified candidates misfire with Wild West posters – Four Central Unified school board challengers wrangling for a win at the polls are billing themselves as a set of Wild West cowboys on a quest to improve the school district.  Fresno Bee article

‘First Look’: Bakersfield Ward 3 incumbent Ken Weir talks roads, water – Ken Weir is nearing the end of his second four-year term on the Bakersfield City Council and is the third-longest serving member. The incumbent talked about his accomplishments as Ward 3 councilman Wednesday on “First Look with Scott Cox.”  Bakersfield Californian article

‘First Look’: Bakersfield Ward 3 candidate Mark McCullum disagrees with incumbent – When asked why he was running for the Ward 3 seat, McCallum said incumbent Ken Weir doesn’t represent the people. McCallum claimed Weir has pushed aside the needs of people in Ward 3.  Bakersfield Californian article

‘First Look’: Bakersfield Ward 3 candidate Heidi Carter Escudero talks vision for east Bakersfield – Do you know who your City Council representative is? Although the question is simple, many people do not know who represents their ward and are left in the dark about issues in their neighborhood. You should know who your Bakersfield City Council representative is and how involved he or she is in the community. That is what Heidi Carter Escudero said Wednesday on “First Look with Scott Cox.”  Bakersfield Californian article

Bakersfield Californian: Choose Rivera in Ward 1, Smith in Ward 4 – Clearly, voters’ best choices are Willie Rivera in Ward 1 and Bob Smith in Ward 4. After mastering the often tricky learning curve of a new city councilman, they show great promise for helping guide city government in the years ahead.  Bakersfield Californian editorial

Want mudslinging?  Don’t look to Lee-Faber matchup for assessor – Wondering why there hasn’t been much fuss in the runoff race for Kings County assessor/clerk-recorder/registrar of voters? That’s because candidates Kristine Lee and A. Renee Faber like it that way. In what might be the quietest contest out there, there hasn’t been a lot of drama. Just each candidate describing her qualifications.  Hanford Sentinel article

Lemoore council candidates split on campaign styles – Candidates running for the Lemoore City Council appear to be taking a wide range of approaches to finance their campaigns. According to campaign finance reports, the five candidates vying for two seats on the council have been working to get their message out to voters either by raising thousands of dollars to buy signs and promotional materials, or running their campaigns on a self-funded shoestring budget.  Hanford Sentinel article

About 1,000 voters get wrong ballots in Merced – The Merced County Registrar of Voters Office is trying this week to clean up a mistake that sent almost 1,000 incorrect sample or absentee ballots to voters in central Merced. According to the registrar, 989 voters in Merced College Board of Trustees Area 4 received ballots that omitted the names of candidates in the board seat race. Of those, 456 were vote-by-mail ballots.  Merced Sun-Star article

Election workers in short supply in Kings – Ever noticed how old the volunteers are operating the polls on Election Day? County elections officials have been paying attention. The pool of elderly volunteers is shrinking, and it isn’t being replenished by younger people.  Hanford Sentinel article

Vidak named ‘most fascinating’ for 2014 – State Sen. Andy Vidak has been named the most fascinating person of 2014 by the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Advanced Center for Eyecare.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kashkari dips toes in Stockton waters – Republican candidate for governor Neel Kashkari came to Stockton on Wednesday, hopping on a paddlewheeler with party faithful to talk water and politics on short tour of the Deep Water Channel.  Stockton Record article

VIDEO:  Neel Kashkari far behind, feeling ‘really good’ about race – Neel Kashkari, far behind in fundraising and public opinion polls less than two weeks before Election Day, said Wednesday that he still can make California’s race for governor “interesting” if enough of his supporters turn out.  Sacramento Bee article

Unions remain a critical backer of Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign – As Brown seeks a fourth term, unions remain a key element of his political power, providing millions of dollars in donations and deep ranks of campaign foot soldiers.  LA Times article

Nader assails Brown for not backing Prop 46 to raise lawsuit caps – Consumer advocate Ralph Nader blasted his onetime ally California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday for failing to back a November ballot proposition that would raise the cap on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice suits.  LA Times article

Videos offer help in sorting through state ballot measures – Confused by the conflicting TV ads and political mail concerning the state measures on the Nov. 4 ballot? Can’t face reading through the arguments in the official election booklet? Some recently released videos could help.  LA Times article

California malpractice gap generates big spending – The campaign, which exceeds the most competitive U.S. Senate races this year, underscores the effect that reforms passed in California have on the rest of the nation. The 1975 malpractice law was the first in the nation, paved the way for roughly 30 states to adopt some limits on medical malpractice payouts and used as a template for national proposals. More than $93 million has been raised by Proposition 46 opponents, while backers have raised at least $9.1 million, as of Wednesday.  AP article

Prop 47 lowers penalties for some crimes – A projected 40,000 offenders each year would face lower penalties for crimes such as drug possession and petty theft if California voters approve Proposition 47 on the Nov. 4 ballot.  AP article

Joe Garza: Officers just say no to Prop 47 – The police chief of Reedley writes, “Unlike what its title suggests, the passage of Proposition 47 will create neither safe neighborhoods nor safe schools.” Garza op-ed in Fresno Bee

Visalia Times-Delta: Timing all wrong for Prop 45 – While the idea of having a process that is open to public review is appealing, it seems premature to be tackling rates while consumers are still adjusting to the Affordable Care Act and its innumerable nuances. It may be a good idea and it might be good for the Central Valley, but it’s too soon to go down this path. Vote no on Proposition 45.  Visalia Times-Delta editorial

Amid ballot fight, state insurance commissioner rips Anthem rate hike – In the final days of a battle over Proposition 45, California’s insurance commissioner criticized Anthem Blue Cross for an “excessive” rate hike affecting 120,000 people with small-business health coverage.  LA Times article

John Myers: One theme, two races in Orange County – Orange County is, in fact, home to two of the season’s biggest battles: the 65th Assembly district contest between Quirk Silva and GOP challenger Young Kim as well as the race for the 34th state Senate between Republican Janet Nguyen and Democrat Jose Solorio.  Myers in KQED

Plastic industry gives $1.2 million to repeal bag ban – Out-of-state plastic companies hoping to block California’s freshly signed ban on single-use plastic bags have poured over $1 million into a referendum campaign.  Capitol Alert

Jim Mayer and Peter Weber: State political reform is working – Mayer, CEO of California Forward, and Weber, a Fresno civic leader, write, “Political scientists still are collecting data, but the evidence is growing that voters are getting the political reform they wanted when they seized from lawmakers the authority to draw district boundaries, opened primary elections to all voters, and modified term limits to reduce constant campaigning.”  Mayer/Weber op-ed in Fresno Bee

Other areas

Brown throws support behind strong-mayor systems – Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday expressed his support for strong-mayor forms of government. While not directly endorsing Sacramento’s Measure L, the campaign behind the ballot measure described the statement as a boost to their effort.  Sacramento Bee article

Michelle Rhee leans fully into role as Sacramento mayor’s wife – Two months after announcing plans to step down as head of StudentsFirst, the national education advocacy group she founded in 2010, Michelle Rhee is leaning fully into her role as wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.  Sacramento Bee article

McCarthy lays out agenda for next Congress – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that streamlining government agencies will be a central goal in the new Congress.  Politico article


News Briefs

Top Stories

A first: Drought tops list of Californians’ worries – The drought has moved to the top of Californians’ worry list. And that’s a first. Asked to name the “most important issue” facing the state, 26 percent of respondents to a statewide survey earlier this month said “water” and “drought.” That’s a statistical tie with those who said “jobs” and “the economy” (29 percent), the first time that’s happened since 1998, when the Public Policy Institute of California started asking the question.  KQED report

Report: Child poverty in U.S. is at highest point in 20 years – Child poverty in America is at its highest point in 20 years, putting millions of children at increased risk of injuries, infant mortality, and premature death, according to a policy analysis published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.  LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Fresno’s debt policies shine brightly in eyes of state agency – Fresno City Hall’s hard-won policies of financial penance and prudence are getting statewide praise. That the hurrahs come as the political campaign season draws to a close has to be a happy coincidence for Ashley Swearengin.  Fresno Bee article

Turlock updates plan for job growth – A draft plan for creating jobs recognizes that the city long has been a food-processing hub and should continue to be. But it sees potential also in health care, education, retail and other sectors that have emerged in recent decades. And it urges steps – road upgrades, permit streamlining, job training and more – to guide the city toward a prosperous future.  Modesto Bee article

Officials advocate Stanislaus transportation tax – A who’s who of elected officials spoke at Wednesday’s “State of the Region” event in Modesto, offering quick comments on a multitude of topics – from immigration and water bonds to government bureaucracy and predatory fish. But there was a focus on planes, trains and automobiles and the need for Stanislaus County to raise its sales tax to fund transportation projects.  Modesto Bee article

North Valley leads in property value gains – The northern San Joaquin Valley led California in increased assessed property valuations for 2014-15 from 2013-14, powered by the recovery in real estate value, new state Board of Equalization figures show.  Stockton Record article

99 ways to boost pensions in California – at public cost – The nation’s biggest public pension fund voted in August to adopt a list of 99 bonuses, ensuring that newly hired California public workers would receive the same pension sweeteners as veteran employees.  LA Times article

Oxy subsidiary posts 20 percent earnings drop despite record California oil production – Despite record oil production, Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s California subsidiary on Wednesday posted a 20 percent third-quarter earnings drop attributed to higher energy costs.  Bakersfield Californian article

Laid-off Chukchansi casino workers return to clean out lockers – Sitting in the passenger seat of her son’s car, a 56-year-old Merced woman who lost her job at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino said she probably would have to return to picking or packaging fruits and vegetables.  Fresno Bee article

GE shutting down wind manufacturing in Tehachapi – General Electric will shut down the manufacturing side of its operations in Tehachapi by the end of November, impacting about 37 jobs, according to a company spokesperson.  Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Downtown Alliance receives tech grant – Aiming to support communities it serves, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced Wednesday that the Downtown Stockton Alliance would receive one of 10 economic vitality grants to help fund a technology incubator program.  Stockton Record article

‘Silicon Beach’: Tech boom hits Los Angeles – So long Silicon Valley. These days entrepreneurs and engineers are flocking to a place better known for wave surfing than Web surfing. Amid the palm trees and purple sunsets of the Southern California coastline, techies have built “Silicon Beach.”  AP article

California state engineers to receive furlough back pay from Jerry Brown – Roughly 16,000 California state scientists and engineers will receive a total $9 million after Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration said Wednesday that it will not continuing fighting a 3-year-old furlough lawsuit.  Sacramento Bee article

Fresno’s Harris Construction celebrates centennial – For 100 years, Harris Construction of Fresno has built everything from hospitals to dairy plants, solidifying its position as one of the most successful and longest-running businesses in the central San Joaquin Valley.  Fresno Bee article

Mark Powell: Greenacres Market: And like that, it’s gone – Gas, coffee, doughnuts and beer: They are four staples of American living, and the Greenacres Market in northwest Bakersfield used to serve them up as well as anybody. Emphasis, sadly, on the “used to.”  Powell in Bakersfield Californian

Legislators call for union factory jobs to close women’s wage gap – Legislators called Wednesday for raising the minimum wage and tearing down gender barriers to unionized construction and manufacturing jobs to help eliminate income inequality for California women.  LA Times article

One tiny California IT project is on the cutting edge – In the dark firmament of spectacular state computer system failures, a small glimmer of success has pierced the gloom and points to government technology’s future.  Sacramento Bee article

Joe Mathews: Chevron may be a big oil company, but it’s California’s – It’s hard to change those you love, but I do have one request. I wish you would give yourself a human face – preferably a powerful Chevron executive who is a Californian and can become a constant, recognizable presence in the state’s debates over energy.  Mathews column in Sacramento Bee

Yahoo CEO defends strategy in face of criticism – Signaling her reign has reached a pivotal juncture, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is trying to convince restless shareholders that the long-struggling Internet company is heading in the right direction.  AP article


Tulare County wants long-term drought fixes – Tulare County could end up spending $100,000 to help residents deal with the short-term effects of the drought, doing everything from delivering water to communities with dry wells to providing them portable laundry facilities. But county officials say they need to work with the state to develop long-term solutions to ensure people have access to clean water during dry years, which includes finding money to pay for such projects.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Farmers meet with wardens to hash out truth about mountain lion sightings – Representatives of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife met with a few dozen members of farm and neighborhood watches from Stanislaus and Merced counties Wednesday night to separate mountain lion myth from mountain lion reality.  Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

California prisons agree to end race-based lockdowns –  In settling a federal civil rights suit, California prisons agreed Wednesday to no longer base lockdowns on inmates’ race or ethnicity.  LA Times article

Dyer: Man who shot at Fresno police will likely face life in prison under three strikes law – Patrick Lee Hall, 34, didn’t want to go back to prison. So when he found himself in a struggle with Fresno police early Monday morning, he took to violence, ultimately firing his gun while an officer held onto its barrel, Chief Jerry Dyer said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. Hall will go back to prison, Dyer said, likely for the rest of his life under the state’s three strikes law.  Fresno Bee article

Livingston approve armored vehicle amid some concerns – The Livingston Police Department this week received the green light to obtain an armored vehicle and a narcotics dog. Police Chief Ruben Chavez described both the Peacekeeper armored vehicle and the canine as “tools” for law enforcement to help keep the public safe.  Merced Sun-Star article

Newly released documents from Taft High indicate Bryan Oliver was bullied in 2011 – Proceedings in the trial of alleged school shooter Bryan Oliver came to an abrupt halt Wednesday morning after attorneys disclosed Taft Union High School turned over documents Tuesday evening indicating Oliver was bullied in 2011.  Bakersfield Californian article

Giants reliever Sergio Romo hurls heated words at San Francisco police – Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo had a few choice words for San Francisco police the other night, after the cops received a report that two men were trying to push a woman into an SUV on a downtown street.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Cal State awarded $60 million in federal grants to help diversify biomedical research – Three California State University campuses Wednesday were awarded more than $60 million in federal grants to help train low-income and minority students for biomedical research careers.  LA Times article

On Campus: Third grade a turning point for reading – Stanislaus READS, which stands for Ready, Engaged, Able, Determined Students, is tackling the sad statistic that only 39 percent of third-graders test as reading at grade level. Separately, Modesto City Schools is focusing on the same age group.  Modesto Bee article

Bonds should not pay for iPad curriculum, new LA Unified head says – Newly installed Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon Cortines said he opposes using construction bond money to pay for curriculum on student computers, raising new questions about the future of the system’s controversial $1.3-billion technology project.  LA Times article

Pacific’s Eibeck to lead state college group – University of the Pacific President Pamela Eibeck will be the next leader of the organization that represents the state’s 77 private, nonprofit colleges and universities.  Stockton Record article


New reports target fracking – A pair of studies released separately Wednesday shone an unfavorable light on fracking, with one claiming oil companies are skirting a ban on underground diesel injections and the other saying they employ the controversial technique near minority neighborhoods in areas including Kern County.  Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento crude oil transfers halted by lawsuit – Faced with an environmental lawsuit, a Sacramento-based oil company has agreed to stop loading train shipments of crude oil at McClellan Business Park, officials involved in the dispute said.  Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

Merced County Medi-Cal backlog is cleared – Merced County’s backlog of unprocessed Medi-Cal applications that officials were rushing to work through in recent months has been cleared, officials have confirmed.  Merced Sun-Star article

Sacramento County officials say they are ready to contain Ebola here – Joining other emergency response authorities in a briefing Wednesday, Kasirye said in Sacramento County, “the risk is low” that the region would ever see an Ebola case crop up locally.  Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Judge rejects LA’s billboard ban – Judge has struck down Los Angeles’ billboard ban, saying it runs afoul of the California Constitution’s protection of free speech.  LA Times article

Neighborhood frustration grows as mansionization continues in LA – With mansionization marching on in some Los Angeles neighborhoods and city officials saying stricter regulations are still a year and a half away, some vexed residents are taking matters into their own hands.  LA Times article


Holiday airfares are rising amid record airline profits – The nation’s largest airlines are reporting record profits thanks to a stronger economy and declining fuel costs. But don’t expect the once-struggling industry to pass its good fortune on to travelers during the upcoming holidays.  LA Times article

$4 million needed to save ‘Bay Lights’ on Bay Bridge – Those programmed lights on the Bay Bridge will come down early next year, but they then could return once and for all — if, and only if, the creators of the shimmering installation can raise $4million by Dec. 31.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento Bee: Lane-splitting rules will protect motorcyclists and drivers – Motorcyclists may not like anyone telling them what to do, but it’s their safety at stake. If drivers don’t see them and hit them, they may only lose a side mirror. Cyclists, however, could be seriously injured. Freeways should be as safe as possible for everyone. If having guidelines helps do that, it defies logic not to have them.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Other Areas

Jeff Jardine: City manager brings culture change to Modesto City Hall – When I met with him a few weeks ago, he impressed me on several fronts: He doesn’t have that stiff, distrusting demeanor of so many I’ve met over the years in government. He is personable and approachable. He listens. He brings a positive vibe to a community that can use one, and the desire to overhaul the culture at City Hall. Sometimes, that change can be made through internal policies.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Modesto releases names of panel members – Modesto has released the names of the people who served on a community panel that interviewed interim City Manager Jim Holgersson on Monday for the permanent job. Mayor Garrad Marsh said these people served on the panel.  Modesto Bee article

More cities are making it illegal to hand out food to homeless – If you don’t have a place to live, getting enough to eat clearly may be a struggle. And since homelessness in the U.S. isn’t going away and is even rising in some cities, more charitable groups and individuals have been stepping up the past few years to share food with these vulnerable folks in their communities. But just as more people reach out to help, cities are biting back at those hands feeding the homeless.  NPR report

Advocates target domestic violence with peace walk in Merced – About 100 people carrying red balloons and signs with messages such as “Stop Abuse” and “No More Violence” gathered at Courthouse Park on Wednesday evening as they prepared to participate in this year’s Peace for Families walk.  Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield council vote saves Centennial Plaza bricks, tiles – Centennial Plaza’s thousands of engraved bricks and tiles will be preserved, and possibly even several broken granite slabs that weren’t part of the plan, in a nearly $269,000 remodel for the area approved Wednesday by the Bakersfield City Council.  Bakersfield Californian article

Veterans of Vietnam, Hmong continue to push for burial rights – The Hmong war veterans marching on congressional offices Wednesday know better than most about how legislation gets made. Or, more often, gets lost. Gathered from the San Joaquin Valley and Alaska, the veterans who once fought alongside U.S. spies and soldiers in their native Laos again seek legislation allowing burial in U.S. national cemeteries.  Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Clearly, voters’ best choices are Willie Rivera in Ward 1 and Bob Smith in Ward 4. After mastering the often tricky learning curve of a new city councilman, they show great promise for helping guide city government in the years ahead.

Fresno Bee – Like jumbo shrimp, campaign contribution limit is an oxymoron.

Merced Sun-Star – Lane-splitting rules will protect everyone on the road.

Modesto Bee – Lane-splitting rules will protect everyone on the road.

Sacramento Bee – Lane-splitting rules will protect motorcyclists and drivers.

Stockton Record – Consider the sight of hundreds of elite bicycle racers wending their way along north county roads, past vineyards and olive orchards before finishing their day’s competition, quite possibly in downtown Lodi. What a coup for the community.

Visalia Times-Delta – Vote no on Proposition 45.