October 31, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Central Valley Republicans want immigration reform despite speaker’s promise – Two Central Valley Republicans say that newly selected House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to focus on immigration reform while Barack Obama is president won’t stop them from trying. Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and David Valadao (R-Hanford) have been among the most outspoken members of their party pushing for comprehensive immigration overhaul. LA Times article

Voters may weigh competing death penalty measures on 2016 ballot — Pro-death penalty group unveiled a ballot measure Friday that would require death row inmates to work in prison and provide new deadlines intended to expedite appeals. A proposed anti-death penalty initiative also has been submitted for state review, creating the possibility that voters next year will weigh competing initiatives on capital punishment. LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown declares emergency for dying trees — Lamenting “the worst epidemic of tree mortality” in the state’s modern history, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday sought federal aid to remove dead trees from California forests and called for more controlled burns to reduce the risk of wildfire. Sacramento Bee articleBakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Anthony York: Introducing the Grizzly Bear Podcast — This week, we introduce the Grizzly Bear podcast, an audio exploration of the news and issues facing California. For fans of the California Politics Podcast I have done for years, (and hope to do more of) with John Myers of the LA Times and Marisa Lagos from KQED, this podcast may serve as a temporary bridge while we get all the wrinkles worked out and prepare to relaunch that podcast, bigger and better than ever. Grizzly Bear Podcast


How Tasers became instruments of excessive force for Border Patrol — Searching for a way to curb fatal border shootings, Border Patrol leaders decided in 2008 that their agents needed a new weapon on their belts. The agency began to supply Tasers, a hand-held device that delivers a paralyzing electric charge, as a way to end confrontations quickly and safely. But in scores of cases along the border, the Tasers became instruments of excessive force, a Los Angeles Times analysis found. LA Times article

Other areas

Who are national Republicans recruiting to unseat Ami Bera? – National Republican leaders are talking to three prominent potential candidates about challenging Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove in next year’s election. Former Rep. Doug Ose, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and former Sheriff John McGinness have been approached by the National Republican Congressional Committee about running in suburban Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District, a perennial toss-up that stretches from Elk Grove to Folsom. Sacramento Bee article 

Longtime LA civil rights leaders dismayed by-in-your face tactics of new crop of activists —  Now there are new kids on the block, and they are shutting down freeways, disrupting community meetings, and camping outside LAPD headquarters and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Windsor Square home. Earlier this month, they confronted Garcetti at a forum in a church, eventually following the mayor—chanting along the way—to his car. Inside and outside Holman United Methodist Church, longtime L.A. activists witnessed the scene, aghast. Embarrassed. Angry. LA Times article

San Francisco’s last gun shop gives up the fight – The last gun from the last gun shop in San Francisco has been sold — without a single bullet. San Francisco Chronicle article

Scalia’s favorite opinion? You might be surprised — Speaking to law students at Santa Clara University this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked which past court opinion he most admired. He paused for a few seconds, which allowed time for speculation by those of us who thought we had the court’s most outspoken conservative all figured out. Would it be Citizens United? Bush vs. Gore? One of the dissents in Roe vs. Wade? Nope. It was Justice Robert Jackson’s dissenting opinion in the Korematsu case. San Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

Beverly Hills water wasters ‘should be ashamed,’ state regulators say — The city of Beverly Hills and three other water suppliers face financial penalties for falling short of state water conservation mandates, officials said Friday. Statewide, Californians cut their urban water use in September by 26.1% compared with the same month in 2013, regulators said. The reduction was below the 27% decline recorded in August and the 31% savings in July. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleAP articleSacramento Bee articleModesto Bee articleStockton Record articleKQED reportNew York Times article

Educators leaders discuss Latino learning at Fresno State summit – About 300 educators gathered at a conference Friday at Fresno State to discuss issues affecting Hispanic students and to offer possible solutions. “We’re here to bring focus to the central San Joaquin Valley,” organizer Victor Olivares said. “We gathered the college and district leaders here to identify leaks in the education pipeline from kindergarten through college and fix them.” Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Data Tracker:  Despite improving economy, California millenniels still ‘failing to launch’ – The economy is improving, the unemployment rate is dropping, but hundreds of thousands of Californians between ages 25 and 34 still can’t seem to leave their childhood home. About 1.3 million Californians between the ages of 25 and 34 lived with their parents in 2014, new census figures show. That’s about 22.7 percent of Californians in that age group, down less than a percentage point from 2013 but well above levels seen before the last recession. Sacramento Bee article 

Chevron cutting up to 7,000 jobs; profit falls to $2 billion – Chevron Corp. is cutting up to 7,000 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, as it deals with lower oil prices that are cutting deeply into profit. LA Times articleAP article

Marek Warszawski: New ownership the next, necessary step for Fresno Grizzlies – Now that the Grizzlies are Triple-A champions, now that they’ve successfully rebranded themselves and their achievements are being recognized across minor-league baseball, there’s only one box left to check: New ownership. Warszawski column in Fresno Bee

Downtown Fresno star of new Haron Jaguar spot — Count Randy Haron among Fresno’s biggest public boosters. Haron, owner of Haron Jaguar and Land Rover, has bankrolled a new series of flashy videos praising the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown — while also subtly promoting his luxury brands. Even his competitors in the auto industry can’t help but rave about the commercials. The Business Journal article 

HP, a Silicon Valley icon, is ready for its break-up – One of the nation’s most storied tech companies will split in two this weekend, another casualty of seismic shifts in the way people use technology — and big-company sluggishness in responding. LA Times article

Crowdfunding 2.0: SEC just made it easier to buy shares in start-ups – New rules approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday will make it easier for start-ups to sell shares directly to the masses. The rules could be a boon for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital and a potential windfall — or loss — for investors hoping to be among the first to get a piece of the next Uber or Instagram. LA Times article 

Walgreens ready to shed 1,000 stores on Rite Aid deal — Walgreens Boots Alliance is willing to unload up to 1,000 stores in order to win regulatory approval of its $17.2 billion deal to acquire Rite Aid, the company said in a securities filing. The cap represents about 8 percent of the combined company’s 12,700 U.S. stores. LA Times article

House of Pendragon, Pita Kabob win downtown Fresno business plan competition – Sanger brewery House of Pendragon and Visalia Mediterranean restaurant Pita Kabob won the Downtown Fresno Create Here Business Plan Competition, securing a grand prize of business-related services valued around $100,000. Fresno Bee article 

LA’s Olympics bid gets help from Vice President Joe Biden — Los Angeles’ campaign to host the 2024 Summer Games got an unexpected boost Friday at an international sports conference in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden made an unscheduled appearance at the Association of National Olympic Committees event, giving a short talk during the morning session. LA Times article 

Lawsuit: Cal Fire director ordered grieving families kept ignorant of death benefits — A fired Cal Fire official who lost his job amid scandal says Director Ken Pimlott ordered him to withhold death-benefits information from grieving families of fallen fire pilots, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in a Sacramento court. Sacramento Bee article 

Creative kick boosts specialty pencil business – Resurrecting a defunct writing instrument — one costly to produce and appealing to a narrow audience of writers, editors, artists and other creative folks — is a business model that really can pencil out. At least it has for California Cedar Products Co. in Stockton. Stockton Record article 

Consultant: Chargers stadium point man has misled city — The top political consultant for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Thursday that if the Chargers resume negotiations for a new stadium, they need to come without lawyer Mark Fabiani because he has no credibility with elected officials. KPBS report


Thousands comment on tunnels plan — As water wonks across the state hustled to beat a Friday deadline to file formal comment letters on the proposed twin tunnels, Gov. Jerry Brown offered a brief comment of his own, calling opponents’ arguments “false” and “shameful.” Stockton Record article

Water fines dry up in Sacramento’s ‘drought school’ – They came to wash away their sins. On a recent Saturday morning, 26 residents filed into a makeshift classroom at the city of Sacramento’s Water Conservation Office near Executive Airport. Some looked annoyed, others a bit sheepish. Sacramento Bee article

Drought casualty: Clovis Christmas tree will be removed due to disease – The Clovis Christmas tree, which each year is decorated as the centerpiece of a community lighting ceremony, is dying due in part to the drought, and will be removed in coming days. But city officials promise that the Clovis Civic Center’s annual Christmas event won’t be canceled. The lighting ceremony, scheduled for the first Monday night in December, will go on. Fresno Bee article

EPA may ban common pesticide used on fruits and vegetables — A common pesticide used on citrus fruits, almonds and other crops would be banned under a proposal announced Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would prohibit use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops including oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli and asparagus. AP articleLA Times article

Fresno’s Pumpkin King struggles to supply region as drought takes toll — Martin knows his pumpkins. He used to grow them, but these days he’s solely a pumpkin broker. He buys and sells about 2 million pounds of pumpkins a year. Typically, he meets demands with gourds from California. But this year, because of the drought, he had to cross state lines. KQED report

Folsom Lake: Stark, wondrous landscape amid drought — Thanks to the drought, a visit to Folsom Lake right now is a chance to walk through California history. KQED report

Farm Beat: Events will explore ag tech and tourism — A gathering in Hilmar next week will highlight how technology, such as drones and social media, plays a big part these days in farming. For those who prefer a more pastoral pace, a series of classes this winter will explore agritourism – produce stands, farm tours, festivals and other fun. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

California’s Prop 47 revolution: How it’s changed California – The Times’ opinion page is examining how Proposition 47 has changed California. We’re looking at whether it has lived up to its promise, and we want to know what police, courts and politicians need to do to make sure the change in law has the most positive effect on the largest number of people. We also want to know what they need to do to prevent unintended and unwanted consequences, such as higher crime. LA Times article

Medical services at North Kern Prison rated inadequate – The California Office of the Inspector General rated medical services at North Kern State Prison as inadequate in an inspection report filed earlier this month. Bakersfield Californian article

Stealth mode? Built-in monitor? Not all body cameras are created equal – Amid the recent pressure on police to wear body cameras, one thing is often overlooked: Not all cameras are created equal. In fact, cameras vary a lot — and the variations — some contentious — can have a profound effect on how the cameras are used and who benefits from them. NPR report

Calaveras sheriff dies at home — Calaveras County officials confirmed Friday that Sheriff Gary Kuntz died at his home last night. He died at 9:21 p.m., according to a news release from the sheriff’s office that said, in part, “It is with sad hearts that the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office reports the untimely passing of Sheriff Gary Kuntz. … Sheriff’s Office staff offer our sincere condolences to Sheriff Kuntz’s family.” Stockton Record article


Cal Johnson and Christopher De La Cerda: Good things are happening in Fresno Unified – The Fresno Unified board members write, “For the first time in recent history, Fresno Unified School District reached a historic graduation rate of 81.8%. Unfortunately, the efforts of our students, teachers and staff have been overshadowed by the excessive coverage of the district’s use of lease-leaseback construction contracts.” Johnson/De La Cerda op-ed in Fresno Bee

Downtown neighborhood group meets with UC Merced chancellor – UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland told members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association the campus is committed to boosting its relationship with the community and hopes to see the central neighborhood become a magnet for the arts and businesses. Merced Sun-Star article 

Clovis pathway program helps students get to health care careers – Clovis Community College is offering six new programs to students interested in health-care careers. With a $50,000 grant from the California State University system’s Linked Learning to Baccalaureate program, pathway programs are now in effect for pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-optometry, pre-physician assistant, pre-veterinary and pre-pharmacy careers. Fresno Bee article

Survey: Half of Muslim students in California report bullying – More than half of the state’s Muslim students have experienced religion-based bullying, a rate double that of their non-Muslim peers nationally, according to a survey released Friday by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

Fresno Pacific’s scholar-athlete program to attract local talent – Fresno Pacific University is offering a $200,000 to student-athletes through the Gregory Family Athletic Honors Scholarship. The Gregory scholarship was created by Don and Karen Gregory to attract top scholar athletes that might otherwise venture outside the Central Valley. Fresno Bee article

Merced Union High School District selects new superintendent – The Merced Union High School District has selected Alan Peterson, a longtime Merced County educator and administrator, as the district’s superintendent and will formally introduce him next month, the district announced this week. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Berkeley students warned of possible drugging – UC Berkeley Police issued a crime alert Thursday asking students to take extra precaution after receiving reports people were drugged recently at a fraternity. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Joe Mathews: Don Mattingly for LA Unified superintendent — L.A. Unified has had trouble in the past finding superintendents from the education world, so it has turned to people working for foundations, for the military, even an ex-governor. They were good people, and of course, no one was particularly happy with the job they did. There is only one job I can think of that requires taking this much crap. A manager or coach of a pro sports team. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Police identify McClatchy High teacher arrested after allegedly wrestling student — McClatchy High School teacher David Fritz was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of willful cruelty toward a child after what district officials said was possibly an alcohol-fueled classroom wrestling incident with a student. Sacramento Bee article 

Judge orders temporary restraining order against Alliance charter group – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Alliance College-Ready Public schools that prohibits the charter group from interfering with unionization efforts. LA Times article

Florin High’s punishment of student whose video went viral draws free speech questions — After Florin High School suspended a student who recorded a cafeteria melee this week on her cell phone, free speech experts said Friday that administrators may have overreached by disciplining someone who captured video in a public gathering place. Sacramento Bee article


The anti-oil activists are coming – With a rallying cry of “Stand with Kern County — Stand up to Big Oil,” environmental activists from outside the area are planning a trip to Bakersfield early next month to support local opponents of a plan to streamline petroleum permitting in California’s busiest oil-producing region. Bakersfield Californian article

Growing number of lawsuits blame PG&E for Butte fire – In a handful of cases already filed, with more sure to come, plaintiffs’ lawyers blame Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the state’s largest utility, for causing a fire that killed two people, destroyed 475 homes and burned nearly 71,000 acres, mainly in Calaveras County. It was the seventh most destructive wildfire in state history. Sacramento Bee article

Altamont Pass: Controversial wind turbine company blamed for bird deaths shutting down — Altamont Winds told the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in an email Oct. 23 that it is ceasing operations as of Sunday. The decision was applauded by environmental groups, which for years have been fighting to build awareness around the large numbers of golden eagles, raptors, burrowing owls and other birds that are killed by turbines. Contra Costa Times article 

Solar desalination firm begins search for investors – A company with plans to build a $30 million, solar-powered water desalination plant in western Fresno County has launched its effort to attract investors through a state-registered direct public offering, or a regulated form of crowdfunding. Fresno Bee article 

Solar farms set to break ground – Tulare County will soon see 180 megawatts of utility-size solar projects break ground in southern Tulare County. Visalia Times-Delta article

Home improvement program catching on in Kings – You may have never heard of it, but the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, a California financing mechanism designed to build energy improvements into existing homes, could be coming to a house near you. Hanford Sentinel article

Fire conditions elevated to ‘extreme’ as gusty winds hit Southern California — Gusty Santa Ana winds are expected to blast through the Southland for most of Friday, creating “elevated” to “extreme” fire conditions for the mountains and foothill areas, according to the National Weather Service. LA Times article
Health/Human Services 

Patients may be unaware of doctors on probation – Several Kern County physicians are on disciplinary probation with the Medical Board of California for misconduct, and their patients might not know. Bakersfield Californian articleLA Times article

New Medicare rule authorizes ‘end-of-life’ consultations – Six years after legislation to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a furor over “death panels,” the Obama administration issued a final rule on Friday that authorizes Medicare to pay doctors for consultations with patients on how they would like to be cared for as they are dying. New York Times article

Foon Rhee: The Numbers Crunch: Friday night lights shine bright, but there’s risk  the field – Football can teach many important lessons about teamwork and leadership, but it also accounts for nearly 40 percent of severe sports injuries in high school. High schools account for two-thirds of all football-related deaths, partly because they have the most players. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Morgue inks tissue donation agreement — To some, transplanting a dead person’s cornea into a living donor’s eye might seem Halloweenish. For Kings County and Donor Network West, it’s anything but. The two entities finalized an agreement this week that allows medical staff from Donor Network West to recover tissue from authorized donors who end up in the morgue. The network will pay the county a fee each time they use the facility. Hanford Sentinel article 

Merced residents march against domestic violence – It took Juana Aguilar 45 years to leave an abusive relationship. She hopes her story will inspire others not to wait so long to speak up and take action. The Merced County woman was among several women and men who marched Thursday to mark the closure of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Merced Sun-Star article 

Michael Hiltzik: Genetic testing evolves, along with health and ethics debates — When last we visited with the genetic testing firm 23andMe, it was in big trouble. Hiltzik in LA Times

Supervisors to vote on San Joaquin General Hospital computer upgrade — San Joaquin General Hospital is preparing to step into the 21st century when it comes to its central information system. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider approving a nearly $37.3-million contract between the hospital and Kansas City-based Cerner Corporation for a new hospital information system. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Fresno council won’t change trash bin law, after all — A few weeks ago, the Fresno City Council appeared poised to change a law that required residents to store trash bins in spots that shielded them from public view. Fresno Bee article

Fresno 9-year-old adds new dimension to her Reading Heart program — Fresno 9-year-old Danay Ferguson added another piece to her Reading Heart programFriday, announcing a partnership with the Fresno Police Department to donate 1,200 books for patrol officers to give to children around the city. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Year Two of Obamacare: How’s the Patient Doing?” — Guests: Jennifer Kent, director of the California Department of Health Care Services; Felix Su, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office; Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California; and Bill Emerson, senior vice president of the California Hospital Association. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Valley Prognosis in Year Two of Obamacare” – Guests: Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of California Endowment); Michelle Von Tersch, vice president of Corporate Communications, Community Medical Centers; and John Price, CEO of Artisan Construction & Design and chairman of the board for Golden Valley Health Centers. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Medi-Cal Issues in California” – Guest: Nancy Gomez with Health Access. Host: Maddy Institute Deputy Director Ana Melendez. 

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

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.

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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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