October 24, 2014


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

Political Briefs

Top stories

GOP tries to cover money tracks, Dems say – California Republican Party leaders made dramatic changes to finance records Wednesday, the same day The Modesto Bee reported that Democrats asked for an investigation into money changing hands in the 21st Assembly District race. Democrats suggest the sudden shift shows that Republicans are trying to cover their tracks, while the GOP called amendments an attempt to be “truthful and transparent.”  Modesto Bee article

California candidates pour on negative ads as election nears – Neel Kashkari saves a drowning boy from Gov. Jerry Brown’s neglect. San Jose Rep. Mike Honda charges fellow Democrat Ro Khanna with being bought and paid for by GOP-leaning special interests. Republican Ron Nehring accuses Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of promoting drug addiction among women. As the Nov. 4 election nears, the TV, radio and mail ads are getting tougher, with candidates throwing out charges by the basketload and daring their opponents to deny them.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown headed to Yale Law School reunion – This is how secure Gov. Jerry Brown is in his re-election prospects: Less than two weeks before Election Day, Brown left the state on Thursday for a long weekend in New Haven, Conn., where he will participate in his Yale Law School class’ 50th reunion.  Capitol Alert

Valley politics

SD12: Cannella seeks a second term – State Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, is seeking a second term in the California Senate to keep working on water storage that could reinvigorate farmland and Valley communities hammered by the drought.  Modesto Bee article

Bakersfield Californian: Elect Parlier to fill Ward 7 council seat – Clearly Chris Parlier has a depth of life, business and government experience that far exceeds the other two candidates in this race. Voters should elect Parlier to be the Ward 7 councilman.  Bakersfield Californian editorial

Quiet campaign in Riverbank council race – After nearly a decade of turmoil, the City Council has had a quiet year with little controversy. Even the current election campaigns are respectfully polite, as three candidates vie for two council seats.  Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Gov. Jerry Brown finally spends campaign money, but not on himself – California Gov. Jerry Brown is finally spending some significant money on the November election. But once again, his focus is not on his reelection, which seems assured given public opinion polling, but rather two propositions on the November ballot.  LA Times article;Sacramento Bee article

Neel Kashkari enters final weeks with less than $1 million – Neel Kashkari reported Thursday that he held less than $1 million entering the final two weeks before Election Day.  Sacramento Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: What’s Kashkari got for Valley? – Creating more prosperity in the San Joaquin Valley ought to be virtually a matter of conscience for California’s gubernatorial candidates. Republican challenger Neel Kashkari was in town on Wednesday. Catching up with him at a Republican women’s luncheon, I asked him what he would do.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Outside spending in California state elections nears $32 million – Oil companies, unions, hospitals and other political special interests have pumped more than $31.4 million into California statewide and legislative contests on the Nov. 4 ballot, state independent expenditure filings through Wednesday show.  Capitol Alert

Betty Yee sets sights on tax reform as state controller – Betty Yee has served on California’s Board of Equalization since 2006 — and now she’s seeking to manage the state’s $100 billion budget as the next controller. We’ll talk to Yee about some of the issues she’s raised during her campaign, including inequality, pension security and what she calls California’s “unfair, outdated and unsustainable” tax system.  KQED Forum

Joel Fox: Curious numbers in PPIC poll – What to make of some of the findings in the most recent Public Policy Institute of California poll? In a state in which Governor Jerry Brown has positive poll numbers and Independent voters historically lean Democratic, why are the Independents barely breaking for Brown over Republican Neel Kashkari?  Fox in Fox & Hounds

Ad Watch: CTA overstate Torlakson’s accomplishments, Tuck’s failures – As the election draws closer, outside groups are spending aggressively in the close race for state superintendent of public instruction. A new radio ad from an independent expenditure funded primarily by the California Teachers Association touts the record of incumbent Tom Torlakson while criticizing his challenger, former Los Angeles schools executive Marshall Tuck, as unqualified.  Sacramento Bee article

Rhee promises vote for Tuck … oh, wait – At a voter information event Monday night hosted by Indivizible, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s African American community empowerment group, Michelle Rhee, the controversial education advocate and Johnson’s wife, encouraged attendees to support Tuck. Trouble is, Rhee can’t vote for Tuck, or any other candidate in California because she’s registered to vote in Tennessee, where her ex-husband and kids live.  Sacramento Bee article

Improving voter turnout a priority for secretary of state candidates – The record-low voter turnout in California’s June primary has added urgency to the contest for the state’s top elections post. The two candidates — Republican Pete Peterson, the director of a public policy think tank, and Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla — agree that a top priority is to get more Californians to the polls.  LA Times article

Milt Younger and Wayne McClean: Fight greed: Vote yes on Prop 46 – Younger, a long-time Bakersfield personal injury attorney, and McClean, a long-time personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, write, “California voters must not be fooled by the ‘big bad lawyers’ campaign being waged by physicians and the insurance industry. Vote yes on Proposition 46.”  Younger/McClean op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Other areas

State Sen. Darrell Steinberg to join law and lobbying firm – A week after stepping down as leader of the state Senate, Democrat Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento said Thursday that he will join the law and lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP on Dec. 1, a day after he leaves office.  LA Times articleCapitol Alert

Dan Walters: Sacramento is next in line for strong-mayor reforms – While some may see it – wrongly – as a power grab, it is more accurately a vehicle for improved accountability.   Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Mayor Garcetti can’t get enough D.C.; Gov. Brown has had his fill – Mayor Eric Garcetti parachuted into town this week for the sixth time since he was sworn in just a year and a half ago, raising the question: What is Los Angeles getting out of it? Not everyone thinks that’s worth the time. Count Gov. Jerry Brown among the doubters. Despite Washington’s influence in drought relief, high-speed rail, healthcare and just about every other major issue on Brown’s agenda, he has been to Washington exactly zero times this year.  LA Times article

Democratic candidates seek gains from Republicans’ tarnished business image – Democrats believe the door is open for them to break the Republicans’ stranglehold on business support. It’s an uphill battle because of the Republican Party’s core focus on low taxes and light regulation. But recently there have been signs of hope for Democrats.  LA Times article

News Briefs

Top Stories

California Middle Class Scholarship grants are still available –  In a surprising and somewhat embarrassing situation, administrators of California’s new Middle Class Scholarship program last month awarded only about half the $107 million available. But on Wednesday, officials announced that they were extending application deadlines so more eligible students could receive the grants this year.  LA Times article

Stockton council to hold special session on Saturday – With Stockton’s pivotal Chapter 9 bankruptcy hearing less than a week away, a special closed-session meeting of the City Council has been scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday at City Hall.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

A look at some of the pension-boosting perks – The board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System voted to add to a recent pension reform law 99 bonuses that can boost workers’ current paychecks and also their future pensions. Here are some of these retirement-enhancing bonuses.  LA Times article

Amazon’s loss makes holidays a question mark – Amazon’s trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world’s largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.  AP article

Home equity improves in Fresno County – About 41,461 borrowers, representing 22% of all mortgage loans, owed significantly more than the value of their homes during the third quarter of the year, RealtyTrac said. That’s a decrease from the second quarter when 44,399 borrowers, or 24% of all loans, was seriously underwater or owed at least 25% more than their property is worth.  Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Mortgage rates sink; 30-year averages 3.92 percent, Freddie Mac says – The lowest mortgage rates of the year sank a bit lower this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed loans at an average of 3.92%, down from 3.97% a week ago.  LA Times article

Rabobank renews arena complex naming rights – Bakersfield and Rabobank N.A. have renewed their vows for another decade, and the Rabobank Arena, Theater and Convention Center complex will be keeping its name.  Bakersfield Californian article

Svenhards lays off Exeter production staff – Svenhards bakery has laid of the entire production staff from its Exeter plant just months after announcing that the company was relocating from Oakland to Exeter.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Lodi sets ambitious goals for 2020 – Identifying challenges including limited space for growth, low minority graduation rates and public health, Lodi’s business community is joining civic and government leaders in a plan for the city to achieve by 2020.  Stockton Record article

California cracks down on wage theft by employers – State regulators are wielding a new tool to combat the intractable problem of employer wage theft, which costs workers an estimated $390 million a year.  LA Times article

Strong growth is forecast for Inland Empire –  It was among the nation’s hardest-hit local economies during the Great Recession, beset by staggering numbers of foreclosures and one of the highest jobless rates in California. But the Inland Empire is now the fastest-growing region in Southern California — a trend predicted to continue over the next five years, according to an economic forecast released Thursday.  LA Times article

California company imported Indian workers, paid them $1.21 an hour – Eight workers from India were paid as little as $1.21 an hour by a tech company in Fremont, Calif., over several months in late 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, as reported by the Associated Press.  LA Times article

Clovis man on seven-year crusade against Walmart – John Marquez says he spent more than a decade walking three times a week to his neighborhood Wal-Mart on Shaw Avenue in Clovis to buy groceries, dog food and other items. It was his favorite store, he says, until a Wal-Mart assistant manager allegedly assaulted him in November 2007 and accused him of a crime in front of a store filled with customers.  Fresno Bee article

San Joaquin court clerks OK strike if union calls for it – Court clerks in San Joaquin County have voted to authorize a strike should their union decide to call one in a move to show they’re serious about demands for wage increases and expansion of public services.  Stockton Record article

San Francisco court clerks union accused of breaking law with 1-day strike – A state labor board says the union representing San Francisco Superior Court clerks must answer charges that it violated state law in last week’s one-day strike that disrupted court operations.  San Francisco Chronicle article

5 Bay Area restaurants taking tips off table, adding surcharge – Citing both pragmatic and philosophical reasons, a small collection of Bay Area restaurateurs are eliminating tipping. Instead of expecting diners to leave a tip, the restaurants will automatically add a 20 percent service charge to all bills — and not accept any additional gratuity beyond the service charge.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Pedicabs now wheeling through red tape – Elizabeth Wong Fontana recently has been pedaling furiously against a holiday deadline, navigating a veritable Tour de City Regulations in an uphill bid to operate her 3-year-old Pacific Pedicabs business during public events along the promenade on downtown Stockton’s waterfront. Now, it appears her efforts will be rewarded.  Stockton Record article

Three Sonic franchises in Sacramento area close – Three Sonic Drive-In restaurants in the Sacramento area have closed, the latest and perhaps final casualties of the demise of Roseville developer Abe Alizadeh and his business empire.  Sacramento Bee article


For Sierra resident, the well runs dry – along with her options – Landers, a onetime school secretary, does not live in the parched heart of the state: the San Joaquin Valley, where some people get sand when they turn on the faucet. She has an acre in the Sierra foothills, in a sparsely populated town an hour northeast of Sacramento with a seemingly abundant water supply despite the drought. Except for one thing: Her water comes from a well. And her well, which is shallow, has gone dry.  LA Times article

Undercover duck farm video doesn’t sway authorities – An animal rights group that infiltrated one of California’s largest duck farms and shot undercover video of dead and dying birds is alleging widespread abuse at the Sonoma County plant. But an investigation by local authorities found no wrongdoing, just standard treatment of animals raised to become food.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Good Egg Award goes to veterinary supplier – The state’s egg industry on Thursday honored a Modesto man who has long helped chickens and other animals stay healthy.  Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stockton: Growth of police ranks slow, steady – At the end of September, the Stockton Police Department swore in three new officers, swelling its ranks to 373 on the road to much loftier goals. By last week, however, that number had dropped to 371, illustrative of the department’s ongoing struggle to recruit new officers and retain those already in the fold in the environment of Stockton’s bankruptcy and a highly competitive law-enforcement job market.  Stockton Record article

California startup creates gun technology that tells dispatch how, when cop guns are fired – A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer’s weapon has been fired. The new product by Yardarm Technologies would also track where the gun is located and in what direction it was fired.  AP article

Tulare County sheriff wants more eyes in the sky – Despite the single-engine plane being in the air up to eight hours a day, five days a week, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux wants his department to have a presence in the air every day and covering more of the county. To that end, his department is preparing to order a second Flight Design CTLS-model airplane for about $256,000, and the department could be flying it in four to six months.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Neighborhood Watch a success in Merced – After a successful year, a group of neighbors are being held up by Merced police as an example of the right way to conduct a Neighborhood Watch Program.  Merced Sun-Star article

Video shows bikers taunting CHP officer on Interstate 680 in Milpitas – A group of motorcycle riders alternately taunted and ignored an officer trying to pull them over while they popped their front wheels in the air and weaved on a California highway, a recently posted video shows.  AP articleLA Times article


Schools warned on legalities of anti-bullying – Citing an “ever-increasing” number of complaints about the bullying of students with disabilities, the federal government issued a letter this week reminding schools of their legal responsibility to stop such bullying or risk violating federal anti-discrimination laws.  EdSource article

Lodi Unified gets first taste of Farm-to-Table movement – The farm-to-table movement hit school cafeterias across the state Thursday, with Lodi Unified one of 15 districts piloting the initial rollout after the program was a hit in Oakland. Aimed at serving healthy, prepared-from-scratch school meals made from locally grown fruits and vegetables, California Thursdays is part of the Center for Ecoliteracy’s California Food for California Kids initiative.  Stockton Record article

Fresno seventh-grader busted in sales of pot brownies at school – A seventh-grader at Sequoia Middle School in southeast Fresno was booked on juvenile drug charges Thursday after he sold marijuana brownies to a classmate, police Lt. Joe Gomez said.  Fresno Bee articleLA Times article

UC Davis loses bid to land stem cell clinic – The California stem cell agency Thursday approved $24 million to create what it’s billing as a world-leading string of stem cell clinics, but rejected an $11 million bid from the University of California, Davis.  Sacramento Bee article

Christian group fights for identity against Cal State policy – Chapters of InterVarsity and some other Christian groups were stripped of recognition at California State University campuses this fall because they refused to sign a non-discrimination policy requiring clubs and organizations to open their memberships and leadership to all students. (Fraternities and sororities still can limit membership by gender.)  LA Times article

San Francisco State receives $17 million grant to help minorities – San Francisco State University has won a $17 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to double graduation rates of underrepresented minorities in science, in part by creating courses that address the needs of diverse communities.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Another CSUN fraternity being investigated for possible hazing – School officials said late Thursday that a fraternity at Cal State Northridge was under investigation for possible hazing, months after a pledge at a different Greek organization died during a mandatory hike.  LA Times article


Clovis led Valley in exceeding ozone health threshold – Clovis emerged this year as the worst ozone trap in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, Clovis finished third-worst in the country. The ozone exceeded the federal health threshold 56 times this year in Clovis. That’s not a record for the city, which had 92 in 2001.  Fresno Bee article

New crude oil report concludes risks of train spills are real – Mile-long oil trains that are expected to crisscross California daily in the coming years pose significant risks to residents of urban areas, including Sacramento, a new report concludes, contradicting earlier studies that found no major safety concerns.  Sacramento Bee article

Benecia sees cash in crude oil; neighbors see catastrophe – A plan to bring tank-car trains filled with crude oil from Canada and North Dakota to a Benicia refinery is pitting the Solano County town against Northern California neighbors who say they will be burdened with the risk of environmental catastrophe.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Art vandalism in Yosemite, other parks prompts investigation – Reports of artistic vandalism in 10 national parks in the West have prompted an investigation from the National Park Service, which said it is looking into incidents in five states, including California.  LA Times article

Anglers angered over possible ban on lead weights, lures – Anglers threw down their waders in anger this week over a decision by a state agency to look into regulating and possibly banning lead sinkers and other fishing gear as part of a comprehensive probe of toxic household products.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Commission recommends trial of swimming on Lake Ming – The Kern County Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend the county allow swimming in Lake Ming for a one-year trial period.  Bakersfield Californian article

Work on long-delayed Virginia Corridor trail nears completion – Those eager to use the long-delayed addition to the Virginia Corridor – the paved trail popular with walkers, bicyclists and joggers – should not have to wait much longer. Modesto expects the roughly three-quarter-mile extension from Bowen to Woodrow avenues to open during the week of Thanksgiving, which is about three months beyond the project’s original completion date.  Modesto Bee article

Mike Langford and Kim Glas: California leads the way in stopping gas pipeline leak – Langford, the president of the Utility Workers Union of America, and Glas, executive director of BlueGreen Alliance, write, “Thirty-seven states have programs to speed up repairs and replacement of problem sections of the gas distribution system. Most recently, California enacted a leak mitigation approach from which the whole country can take a lesson.” Langford/Glas op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California researchers try to save Mojave rodent – University of California, Davis researchers working to save an endangered Mojave Desert rodent have successfully bred some of the animals in captivity.  AP article

Health/Human Services

Merced County officials discuss report on expanding health care coverage – Most San Joaquin Valley residents oppose expanding affordable health coverage to include undocumented immigrants, according to a report presented at Thursday’s Merced County Health Care Consortium meeting.  Merced Sun-Star article

New class of abortion providers helps expand access in California – A state law that went into effect in January has authorized nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform a method of first-trimester abortion known as vacuum aspiration. Previously, only doctors were allowed to do so.  LA Times article

California hospitals prepare for Ebola – Hospitals in California are adapting to evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on how to best prepare for a possible Ebola patient. There are no known — or suspected — cases of the virus in California, but the infection of two nurses in Texas has hospitals here revamping their protocols.  KQED report

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million to fight Ebola – Paul Allen, billionaire owner of sports teams and mega-yachts, on Thursday pledged at least $100 million to fight Ebola in what is believed to be the largest private foundation donation so far to combat the deadly disease and support healthcare workers in West Africa.  LA Times article

Angela Kuo and Genelle Taylor Krumpe:  Turning abuse into a healthy lease on life – Kuo, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Fresno, and Taylor Krumpe, executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center, write, “Kaiser Permanente Fresno is partnering with the Marjaree Mason Center in a Living Well Program in an effort to get these victims the resources they need and help get their lives back on track. The center, in addition to offering support services, crisis intervention, counseling and shelter to victims and their children, aims to end the cycle of abuse through education and advocacy.”  Kuo/Tayloe Krumpe op-ed in Fresno Bee

Land Use/Housing

Urban growth boundary around Modesto qualifies for ballot – The proponents of placing an urban growth boundary around Modesto to protect farmland have gathered enough signatures to bring their proposal before the voters.  Modesto Bee article

Other Areas

Fresno city, county firefighter agencies hope to speed up response times – Fresno city and county fire agencies Thursday established an agreement intended to improve response times regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. The agreement calls for the closest available apparatus to go to an emergency for fire protection and emergency medical response.  Fresno Bee article

No progress on LA Fire Department response times, new data show – Waits for 911 medical help in Los Angeles have increased slightly this year, signaling no measurable progress toward Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign pledge to speed up Fire Department responses to emergencies, according to city statistics released Thursday.  LA Times article

Bakersfield city manager to be out periodically due to illness – City Manager Alan Tandy has let staff and elected leaders know he will periodically be out of the office for “personal medical reasons” he does not disclose.  Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton: One applicant so far for City Council seat – A lifelong Stockton resident who ran unsuccessfully for school board more than two decades ago has become the first applicant to qualify for consideration for the City Council seat that will become vacant at the end of the year when Kathy Miller moves on to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.  Stockton Record article

Judge: Harry Baker can visit assisted-living facilities, then return to jail – A judge ruled Thursday that former Madera County Supervisor Harry Baker can leave the Fresno County Jail to tour three assisted-living facilities, but he must return to jail once the interviews are over.  Fresno Bee article

Step Up is growing up – Tulare County’s Step Up youth program is growing in size and impact. And, officials say more students across the county are learning new ways to handle everything from hunger to bullying.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Atwater flight school installs huge simulator – Atwater-based Sierra Academy of Aeronautics dropped an 11-ton airplane simulator through the roof of a building the school leases at Castle Airport on Thursday, marking a major step in the facility’s plans to serve more students.  Merced Sun-Star article

Local Habitat for Humanity director dies – Dennis Vincent Wallace, who spent a lifetime making sure people had a home, including as executive director of Habitat for Humanity’s Golden Empire affiliate, died Thursday of cancer. He was 67 years old.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Clearly Chris Parlier has a depth of life, business and government experience that far exceeds the other two candidates in this race. Voters should elect Parlier to be the Ward 7 councilman;

Fresno Bee – CHP should get off the curb in lane-splitting controversy.

Merced Sun-Star – Like jumbo shrimp, campaign contribution limit is a bit of an oxymoron.

Modesto Bee – Like jumbo shrimp, campaign contribution limit is a bit of an oxymoron.

Sacramento Bee – Let incumbents keep West Sacramento on a winning streak.