October 3, 2015


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Political Stories

Top stories

Mendota water rally calls for special legislative session – More than 300 farmers, workers and elected officials from throughout the Valley gathered Friday at Rojas Pierce Park in Mendota to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to call a special legislative session to deal with California’s water crisis. Fresno Bee article

Bill awaiting Brown would subsidize farmworker union’s health plan for 5 years — The measure, which would cost taxpayers as much as $3 million annually, is on Brown’s desk, awaiting his signature or veto. A Republican analysis of the proposal called it “an unprecedented sweetheart deal.” Union officials have said they need the money because their bare-bones insurance plan limits annual benefits to $70,000 annually, falling short of rules created by President Obama’s healthcare overhaul. LA Times article


Gov. Brown 

The terminally ill lobby Brown and his staff as governor faces tough decision —  As he faces an Oct. 7 deadline to sign or veto a bill allowing aid-in-dying measures in California, Gov. Jerry Brown and his staff have talked to terminally ill Californians, an indication he is open to considering their plea for approval of the bill. LA Times article

Brown signs recidivism, livestock and hazardous waste bills — California Governor Jerry Brown has signed another batch of bills on his desk. The 34 new laws take on hazardous waste, criminal profiteering, recidivism and alpacas. Capital Public Radio report

LA waterfront gets help from Gov. Jerry Brown — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed bills Friday aimed at revitalizing the Los Angeles waterfront, reducing recidivism by convicts, saving more people who have heart attacks and allowing law enforcement to seize more ill-gotten gains. LA Times article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California pension initiative backers preparing new measures — A group hoping to put a public pension overhaul before California voters next year will soon file two new initiatives they say will get around a political obstacle that has blocked previous measures. Sacramento Bee article

Women make gains but still underrepresented in California elected offices – More women serve in elected offices statewide this year than last, according to a new report, but they remain relatively under represented in the halls of power. According to the annual “Status of Women in City Government” issued Thursday, 727 women serve on city councils, up from 706 last year. Still, men outnumber women at the local government level nearly 3 to 1. Sacramento Bee article

Tom Torlakson doing double duty for schools, his candidate wife — This weekend, state schools chief Tom Torlakson is promoting two of his loves: education, and his wife. Sacramento Bee article



The unintended consequences of the 1965 Immigration Act — Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new immigration law that would change the face of the nation. But that dramatic impact, ironically, was in good part the result of a major miscalculation by those who actually wanted to limit the bill’s effect. NPR report


Other areas

AP sources: Rep. Chaffetz plans surprise bid for speaker, challenging McCarthy — Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah plans to run for House speaker in a surprise longshot challenge to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, three Republican aides said Friday, injecting new turmoil into an unsettled House Republican conference. AP article

Path to speaker’s gavel winds through gauntlet of far right’s demands – Just a week ago, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California seemed to have a lock on the job that Speaker John A. Boehnersaid he would relinquish at the end of October. But now, Mr. McCarthy is facing challenges from his Republican colleagues on two fronts. Many were sharply critical of his suggestion this week that a congressional committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was politically motivated, and there is deep skepticism among far-right lawmakers who helped unseat Mr. Boehner and wonder if Mr. McCarthy is different enough. New York Times article

Dan Morain: Studying Kevin McCarthy’s rules –After a campaign stop in his hometown of Bakersfield a few years ago, Rep. Kevin McCarthy told me some of the guiding principles for his success. Rule No. 1: Every election is won before it begins. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Trump on McCarthy: ‘He’s not off to a great start’ — Donald Trump is not sold on Kevin McCarthy as the next speaker of the House, calling into question the California Republican’s negotiating skills and his statement earlier this week regarding the House Select Committee on Benghazi and its effect on the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Politico article

Robin Abcarian: Kevin McCarthy’s radical honesty: ‘Benghazi’ was about hurting Hillary — I thought I had misheard the exchange because what McCarthy had just revealed is what Democrats have claimed for so long: The Benghazi committee hearings in the House were ginned up for only one reason — to make Clinton look bad. Abcarian in LA Times

Sound Off: Why are we being so mean to Kevin McCarthy? – If Kevin McCarthy is going to be the next speaker of the House, he’s going to have to get used to a few things, and intense scrutiny that touches him on a personal level is going to be one of them. His faithful Bakersfield friends and constituents are going to have to get used to it, too.  Sound Off in Bakersfield Californian

California weighs banning concealed handguns on campuses – Already praised by many gun control advocates for having the strictest firearms laws in the country, California is once again considering a move to tighten its restrictions with a ban on the concealed carry of handguns at colleges and schools. Sacramento Bee article 

Allan Hoffenblum, publisher of popular Target Book, dies at 75 — Allan Hoffenblum, a bespectacled political wunderkind who built his unrivaled command of the state’s political landscape into an essential compendium called the California Target Book, passed away in his sleep Friday at the age of 75. The cause of death was unknown. Sacramento Bee article

Joe Mathews: Voters are wising up – local politics is a waste of time — The case against local political involvement is strong in California. Local governments have little power and discretion in our highly centralized and regulated state. We discourage political engagement at the local level by requiring local elections to be nonpartisan, thus keeping out political parties, the chief way human beings engage in politics. And the few decisions left to local governments are virtually always determined by the interests with money – developers and public employees. Mathews in Fox & Hounds 

Fiorina makes distortion of Planned Parenthood a centerpiece — Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has spent the last two weeks repeating an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. That seems bound to continue as she makes her opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign. AP article

U.S. Senate schedules confirmation vote for Fresno judge nominee — In Fresno’s federal courthouse, there is a stir of excitement and optimism. The U.S. Senate has scheduled a Monday confirmation vote on U.S. District Court judge nominee Dale A. Drozd. Fresno Bee article

Supreme Court faces tough choices, familiar problems in new term — Supreme Court justices will face tough choices and political potshots from both left and right when they reclaim their seats on Monday. Over the next nine months, they could restrict affirmative action, alter congressional districts and weaken public service unions. And though Republican presidential candidates have been lashing the court’s GOP-appointed chief justice, conservatives still hold the upper hand. McClatchy Newspapers article


News Stories

Top Stories

California high-speed seeks private investors input —  The California High-Speed Rail Authority has received 35 responses from private companies interested in financing, building and operating the first 300-mile segment of the controversial rail project. Officials say the responses are a positive sign of private interest after lawmakers last year dedicated a long-term funding source. AP article

Fresno moving fast on growth blueprint for trails, parks — Fresno is gearing up to rewrite its master plans for trails and parks. The working theme: More of both, but make sure they complement each other and have money for maintenance. Fresno Bee article

Stockton mayor’s detention linked to ongoing probe – Mayor Anthony Silva’s brief detention this week by federal agents at San Francisco International Airport was tied to an ongoing investigation into Stockton’s top elected official, according to two sources with links to law enforcement.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy 

HUD expects fair market rent to decrease in Kern County – From studio apartments to four-bedroom rental houses, fair market rents are expected to decrease in Kern County next year, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Bakersfield Californian article 

Corcoran, Avenal courts slated to close – Amid ongoing statewide budget cuts, the Kings County Superior Court will close its courthouses in Avenal and Corcoran later this year. Hanford Sentinel article

High court to decide whether to hear San Jose’s antitrust challenge to MLB — The Oakland A’s, who didn’t go far on the baseball diamond this season, may soon hear from the U.S. Supreme Court whether they’re going anywhere off the field. San Francisco Chronicle article

Chukchansi tribe names new gaming commissioners — Two new gaming commissioners who are among the best-known regulators in the Indian gaming industry have been named to the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians’ gaming commission. Fresno Bee article

Hanford council to weigh Bastille renovation – The Hanford City Council will consider a contract Tuesday to prepare renovation plans for the Bastille in downtown’s Courthouse Square. The proposed $89,550 agreement with the Tulare-based Lane Engineers would include engineering and architectural designs needed to make the Bastille ready for a new tenant. Hanford Sentinel article 

Hanford poised to build third fire station after nearly a decade – The Hanford City Council is preparing to go forward with the construction of a third fire station, but the city may still be behind the curve. Hanford Sentinel article

Lemoore to discuss water rate study — The Lemoore City Council will hear an update Tuesday on the city’s ongoing water rate study and possible water quality issues. Hanford Sentinel article

New Palm Bluffs development targets owner-users – A new commercial development about to break ground will offer real estate investors a rare opportunity to own a piece of Palm Bluffs — Boardwalk at Palm Bluffs. Longtime real estate broker Larry Fortune plans to build the 74,000-square-foot Boardwalk at Palm Bluffs office complex on a 6.7-acre parcel between North Palm Avenue and North Ingram Avenue half a block north of West Nees Avenue in Fresno. The Business Journal article 

Price for Sacramento railyard: $18.1 million — Developer Larry Kelley and his partners paid $18.1 million to become the first Sacramentans to own the downtown railyard since the city’s original railroad tycoons in the 19th century. Sacramento Bee article



Fresno misses goal for September water cutbacks – Fresno water conservation fell to 22.3 percent in September, missing the 28 percent state-ordered target and raising concerns among city officials. Fresno Bee article

Marijuana growers are new drought target – Pot growers have been put on notice by state regulators that they will have to follow the same rules as the rest of the agriculture industry in protecting the state’s drought-stricken water supply. LA Times article

Clovis water fines could be suspended – Fines for excessive water use will come to an end in Clovis this month if City Council members agree to a new plan they will consider Monday. Fresno Bee article

Warm winter, drought bring early, potentially smaller almond harvest – Kept off-step by a warm winter and the drought, Kern’s almond crop is being harvested even earlier this year than last and yields are down — meaning consumer prices probably will go up. Bakersfield Californian article

California drought revives a river – and a poignant history — California’s relentless four-year drought has had some unexpected consequences. It’s uncovered lost bits of history — ancient petroglyphs and remnants of mining towns at the bottom of reservoirs. And in the canyons of the Sierra foothills, the legendary rapids of the Stanislaus River are back. KQED report

Almond growers seek greater access to greenhouse gas markets – Building on 10 years of Almond Board of California research on improving nitrogen management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the industry is trying to get greater access to the state’s cap-and-trade market. The board is working with the Environmental Defense Fund and other partners on a new USDA-funded, $960,000 pilot project that also would include corn growers. Modesto Bee article 

More California winemakers using less water to grow grapes – In a state where farms and dairies take the biggest gulp of the water supply, Leeds and the owners of his Frog’s Leap Winery are among a minority — but a growing minority — of California growers and winemakers who believe that when it comes to wine grapes, the less irrigation, the better. AP article

As farms await rain, Rough Fire impact looms – What will it mean for agriculture when winter rains hit the charred slopes of the massive Rough Fire, washing exposed dirt, debris and vegetation into the Kings River flowing into Pine Flat Lake? Hanford Sentinel article

Delta emergency drought barrier removed – State officials are removing a 150,000-ton emergency drought barrier that was installed in the Delta barely four months ago. Stockton Record article

Appellate court justifies state’s raisin marketing effort — An appellate court ruled Friday that the state did not overstep its bounds in 1998 when it set up an agency to promote California raisins. Sacramento Bee article

FDA, CDFA investigating Goshen feed plant — Both federal and state officials are investigating a Goshen feed manufacturer accused of producing horse feed that killed and sickened horses the Goshen area. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Wounded Mariposa deputy expected to recover from shooting — The Mariposa County sheriff’s deputy shot twice in a gunfight Thursday morning was still listed in critical condition Friday at a Modesto hospital but is expected to recover. Merced Sun-Star article

Jason Goins named undersheriff of Merced County Sheriff’s Office – Jason Goins, a 22-year veteran of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, has been tabbed to take over the No. 2 position, the Merced Sun-Star has learned. Merced Sun-Star article

Sandy Banks: ‘Cyber banging’ drives new generation of gang violence — The surge in shootings over the last few months reveals how little we know about what drives crime — and suggests the limits of our holy grail, community policing. Banks in LA Times

Chowchilla women’s prison marks 25th year — The Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla celebrated its 25th anniversary on Thursday with a special ‘thank you’ to staff who helped open the prison. Merced Sun-Star article

Judge drops contempt-of-court complaints against Stanislaus prosecution investigator, chief prosecutor — A Stanislaus County judge has dismissed cases against a prosecution investigator and a chief prosecutor who faced contempt-of-court charges for allegations of improperly contacting an alternate juror and failing to notify the court. Modesto Bee article 


The achievement gap grew starkly under California’s new Common Core tests.  See it in your community – Education experts blame the achievement gap on resource disparities; differing levels of parent participation and expectations; a high migration rate between schools among poorer students; and unfamiliarity or lack of access to helpful technology. This chart shows the relationship between poverty and scores on the state’s new math tests. Sacramento Bee article

What did Arne Duncan do for California schools? — Arne Duncan, who on Friday announced he will step down as U.S. Secretary of Education in December, had a sometimes stormy relationship with California, despite its status as a stronghold of support for Democrats and the Obama administration. LA Times article

Unlike his predecessors, Arne Duncan tackled more higher ed issues, like sex assault —  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who announced Friday that he would leave the Obama administration in December, advocated for changes on college campuses in areas as divergent as tuition grants and sexual assault. LA Times article

Safety awareness at top of mind at Merced colleges – As college students in Merced followed news about the mass shooting at an Oregon community college this week, officials at UC Merced and Merced College said they are taking steps to secure their campuses through increased awareness and training and revised guidance on how to spot and report problems. Merced Sun-Star article

Fresno Bee: Fresno classrooms should be safe havens, not boxing rings — A classroom is supposed to be a safe haven from the dangers of the outside world. But thanks to the popularity of cellphones with video cameras, we know that two violent attacks recently occurred at Fresno’s Roosevelt High School. Fresno Bee editorial 

Armen D. Bacon: Paradise on the northeast corner of Cedar and Shaw – The Fresno author and winner of Fresno State’s Top Dog award writes, “I’ve walked the campus forward and backward, from dawn till dusk, at all ages and stages of life. Little did I know in 1969 exactly how my future might unfold or that the path would continue leading me to the northeast corner of Cedar and Shaw.” Bacon column in Fresno Bee 

Tom Hanks not coming to Kerman High homecoming, but makes short video — Tom Hanks won’t attend Kerman High School’s homecoming next week as some had hoped – but he did film a short video for the students. Fresno Bee article 

Bill to help modernize Ridgecrest schools signed into law — A state Senate bill that is expected to help schools on military installations in Kern County find more money for facility repairs was signed into law Friday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Thinking outside the Box City — For a few hours at El Dorado Elementary School, there was a smaller city being built within the heart of Stockton. Young architects were hard at work, letting their imaginations run wild. From a gigantic pile of cardboard, glue and scissors, a Box City was taking shape. Skyscrapers, homes, even a miniature White House came to life, as well as animals and rocket ships. Anything is imaginable in Box City. Stockton Record article


California’s toxics enforcer is given sharper teeth —  In the wake of controversy over the delayed cleanup of the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a batch of bills Friday aimed at boosting the power of the state’s toxic-substances watchdog. LA Times article

Earth Log: Kidney stone of a summer, but it has passed – It was a long, strange summer in the most-brutal of the four drought years. In early October, it’s a good time to look back briefly, but only if you also try to look forward. Fresno Bee article

The Numbers Crunch: New normal for wildfires requires new approaches – We’ve all seen how bad this year’s wildfire season has been in California. Now we have confirmation of how historically horrible it has been – along with a warning that we better get used to it. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee

SolarCity builds high-efficiency solar panels — Rooftop solar giant SolarCity announced Friday that it has built a high-efficiency panel that the company says will generate more power per square foot and harvest more energy than any other on the market. LA Times article

Andrew Fiala on Ethics: Don’t miss out on the good medicine of nature – The Fresno State professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “This year marks the 125th anniversary of Sequoia and Yosemite national parks. There are practical reasons for preserving natural areas. Pure water and clean air are obviously useful. Biodiversity and flourishing natural ecosystems serve human interests. But behind these parks is a philosophical ideal that celebrates the aesthetic and spiritual value of nature.” Fiala in Fresno Bee


Health/Human Services 

Kern confirms first 2015 death related to West Nile virus — Health officials have confirmed the first West Nile virus-related death this year in Kern County, according to a Kern County Public Health Services news release. Bakersfield Californian article 

Ana Ibarra: Let’s talk health: EPA takes steps to improve air quality, but is it enough? – According to supporters, the new federal standard will help improve the health of the general population and will be especially beneficial for at-risk groups. Ibarra in Merced Sun-Star

New CBCC center built on foundation of hope — Carrie Johnson is a bright-eyed, effortlessly bubbly blonde who laughs a lot. Most people would probably have a hard time believing she’s currently undergoing treatment for cancer. The 37-year-old Bakersfield native, a patient at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, flew back from Ethiopia where she does missionary work three months ago when she discovered a lump on her breast. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing

BIA circulating petition to slow adoption of Fresno Development Code – The Building Industry Association of Fresno/Madera Counties is circulating a petition asking the Fresno City Council to allow more time for discussion before adopting a new Development Code for Fresno’s 2035 General Plan. The Business Journal article

Plans to complete Riverway Sports Park to be considered — The Visalia City Council on Monday will consider whether to approve plans to build the final phase of Riverway Sports Park. Riverway, in northeast Visalia, opened in 2007, and has become a popular spot because of its numerous soccer and ball fields, as well as it’s playground and water play area. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas

Stockton mayor was briefly detained on return flight from China — The mayor of Stockton was briefly detained and had two of his laptops and a cell phone confiscated by homeland security agents at the San Francisco International Airport earlier this week after returning from a trip to China. San Francisco Chronicle article

Berkeley council member profited from police chief’s home loan — In a move that ethicists call fraught with conflicts and cronyism, a City Council member who voted to give Berkeley police Chief Michael Meehan a $500,000 housing loan from public funds later worked as his real estate agent and took a commission on the chief’s purchase of a home, records show. San Jose Mercury News article

San Francisco doubles the number of walls that spray back — The Public Works Department is doubling the number of walls painted with pee-repellent paint. In July, DPW installed nine in the Tenderloin, the Mission and South of Market. Eight more will be added this week. The surfaces make urine bounce right back onto the shoes and pants of unsuspecting relief-seekers. And, so far, it seems to be working. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – A classroom is supposed to be a safe haven from the dangers of the outside world. But thanks to the popularity of cellphones with video cameras, we know that two violent attacks recently occurred at Fresno’s Roosevelt High School; Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Oct. 4, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Recividism and Realignment” – Guests: Tulare County District Attorney Investigator Jose Benavides and Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Erica Gonzalez. Host: Maddy Institute Deputy Director Ana Melendez.

Sunday, Oct. 4, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Public Safety Realignment: Emerging Trends in Year 2” – Guests: Public Policy Institute of California analysts Steven Raphael and Magnus Lofstrom. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Realignment and Valley Crime: Has the Second Year Been the Charm?” — Guests: Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and Fresno State criminology professor Emma Hughes. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel.  Check http://www.calchannel.com to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area.  You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at http://www.maddyinstitute.org/policy-analysis/the-maddy-report-tv.

Community Events

  • West Hills Community College District will hold an event, “Shifting Ground — Adapting the San Joaquin Valley Economy to a Changing Climate,” on Oct. 8 at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Senior leaders from business, agriculture, government agencies and nonprofits will gather to launch immediate actions and provide near-term guidance to create next generation jobs in a region battered by drought and struggling with multiple challenges. Visit www.essentialelementsseries.comfor details of this no-fee policy series.
  • Zocalo Public Square will hold an event, “Can Fresno Win the War on Poverty?,” at Frank’s Place at Warnors Center for the Performing Arts in Fresno on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.  More information: www.ZocaloPublicSquare.org.
  • The fourth annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit will be held at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration and additional information is available here.
  • The 34thannual Agribusiness Management Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Fresno on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The event will feature presentation on the economic outlook for agriculture, trade, water, and immigration.  More information:  559.278.4405 or www.csufcab.com.
  • The 2015 California Economic Summit will be held in Ontario on Nov. 12-13.  Since its inception in 2012, the Summit has brought together hundreds of private, public and civic leaders from the state’s diverse regions in an effort to advance the triple bottom line: promoting a prosperous economy that respects environment and equity concerns.  More information and registration is available here.


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 www.federalbudgetchallenge.org.

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.  http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord

More Information

Please visit http://www.maddyinstitute.com/news/maddy-daily 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 http://twitter.com/MaddyInstitute. And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!  

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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.

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