September 11, 2015


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Political Stories

Top stories 

John Myers: Ethics bills, exit exams and vaccines: Lawmakers march toward Friday deadline — With Friday’s deadline looming for the California Legislature, lawmakers worked Thursday to get through hundreds of still-pending bills — but ones that were relatively small when compared to the year’s biggest issues, issues where momentum seemed to be quickly evaporating by week’s end. Here’s a quick sketch of bills that saw action on Thursday. Myers in KQED 

Lawmakers likely to put off spending cap-and-trade money — With negotiations on transportation funding faltering, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are likely to again put off a dispute over how to spend more than $1 billion in in cap-and-trade revenue, money polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, sources said. Sacramento Bee article

Lawmakers announce deal on medical marijuana legislation – California lawmakers said late Thursday that they have reached a deal on legislation to regulate and license medical marijuana. Sacramento Bee articleAP articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

State budget

Sacramento Bee: Enough speechifying, boost pay for care of disabled people – State government has a budget surplus once more. And yet efforts to raise rates for the care of people with autism, cerebral palsy and other severe lifelong disabilities are sputtering, needlessly. Sacramento Bee editorial

Gov. Brown  

Analysis: Jerry Brown puts happy face on climate change, road improvement defeats — Gov. Jerry Brown gets his way with the California Legislature so often that his defeat on major climate and transportation initiatives this week put him in an unusual defensive spot. So when Brown capitulated Wednesday, he promoted a more favorable interpretation of his setback.  Sacramento Bee articleContra Costa Times article 

Jerry Brown to Ben Carson: Do your homework on climate change — California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has taken his campaign on climate change around the globe, is now schooling Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on the issue. San Francisco Chronicle article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

The Intensified Zeal: California Politics Podcast — This week, our California Politics Podcast focuses on the final battles and changes to the big climate change proposal, Senate Bill 350. And just for good measure, we throw in a quick look at the other big midweek announcement: The delay of a fix for the state’s transportation woes. California Politics Podcast in KQED

Bill Whalen: What’s in store for California politics over next three decades? — As for California’s political leadership: given that we replace governors like clockwork every eight years, there’s every reason to expect one of Gavin Newsom’s kids – or, a grandniece or nephew of Jerry Brown’s – on the ballot in 2050. And California’s United States senators? That depends on what Dianne Feinstein has up her sleeve. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Another climate bill falters in California — One day after Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers abandoned a proposal to curtail petroleum use in motor vehicles, another major climate bill fell in California on Thursday. Senate Bill 32, which sought to dramatically increase California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, will not get another vote in the Assembly before the legislative session ends this week, the bill’s author, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, said. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article


Joel Fox: No gas tax increase for now — There will be no immediate deal on tax increases for road infrastructure because Republicans have held fast arguing that while revenues are up road needs have been ignored. The facts appear to back them up. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Assembly rejects measure to limit police seizure of assets — Facing intense opposition from law enforcement groups, a measure to limit police seizures of cash, cars and other property from people not convicted of a crime fell flat in the Assembly on Thursday. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

Assembly sends Jerry Brown bill on racial profiling – Gov. Jerry Brown will decide the fate of a police profiling bill that led advocates to blockade his office and stage a mass “die-in” last week. Sacramento Bee article 

California Senate Oks automatic voter registration plan — In response to the record-low turnout in the last election, the state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would automatically register to vote any eligible Californian who gets a driver’s license unless they opt out. LA Times article 

Bill banning ‘Redskins’ mascot heads to governor’s desk — A bill banning the use of the term “Redskins” as a mascot for public schools is headed to the California governor’s office after passing out of the state assembly Thursday. Four schools in the state use the mascot: Gustine High in Merced County, Chowchilla High in Madera County, Calaveras High in Calaveras County, and Tulare Union in Tulare County. Merced Sun-Star articleAP article

Some businesses back higher gas taxes in California – Businesses aren’t known for their support of tax increases, but the California and Greater Los Angeles Area chambers of commerce are among the groups rooting for more revenue to help Caltrans catch up on some $59 billion worth of deferred maintenance to roads and bridges. KPCC report

Late labor effort on ‘fair share’ union fees stalled for session — A labor union-inspired push to deal with the potential financial fallout of an unfavorable U.S. Supreme Court decision is not expected to occur in the final two days of the Legislative session. Sacramento Bee article 

Dan Morain: Putting for dough as session closes – The last week of a legislative session is always entertaining, and for aficionados, this year’s finale is proving to be true to form. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Lawmakers reject measure expanding county boards of supervisors – The Senate on Thursday failed to muster the two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring large California counties, including Los Angeles, to expand their five-member boards of supervisors to at least seven members. LA Times article

Which presidential campaign is willing over Silicon Valley? ‘None of them’ — The candidates talk about tech all the time, but in the offices of startups and the boardrooms of venture capital firms, there is little excitement about the crop of politicians whose outreach tends to involve clumsy efforts to speak the language of innovation followed by an appeal for campaign checks. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

El Nino stays warm, boosting hopes for wet California winter — The Pacific Ocean along the equator stands a 95 percent chance of staying warm through winter and possibly influencing storms to hit drought-damaged California, federal officials said Thursday at an increasingly popular monthly update on El Niño. Fresno Bee articleSacramento Bee articleKQED reportNew York Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Drought is no reason to ease environmental protections, California voters say — After four parched years, most California voters seem to be taking the drought in stride, saying it has had little to no effect on their daily lives. They oppose sacrificing environmental protections to expand water supplies and generally approve of how Gov. Jerry Brown has handled the crisis, according to a new statewide USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy 

San Joaquin Valley officials lobby and learn on Capitol Hill – In an annual lobbying ritual, more than 30 officials from eight Valley counties this week swarmed the Hill in search of federal support for an assortment of projects and priorities. They want better roads, more reliable water and cleaner air, none of which comes cheap. What they got was a crash course in congressional politics, circa 2015. Fresno Bee article

After 7-year hiatus, Valley industrial development shifts back into gear – The Valley’s industrial development sector, hit hard by the most recent economic downturn, is roaring back to life. Evidence of the sector’s comeback is on full display in Fresno County where Diversified Development Group (DDG) is currently building one of the area’s largest spec projects ever. The Business Journal article 

Betty Yee: I want you to get your money back – California’s state controller writes, “While the state may use funds from lost property until the rightful owners come forward – much as a bank uses money in a savings account – there is no time limit on making a claim. My office safeguards the property for owners and their heirs until they can claim it.” Yee op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Sacramento economy nearly full recovered, forecasters say – Sacramento’s economy is on the verge of making a full recovery from the recession, according to a new forecast from Sacramento State. Sacramento Bee article


Taxi drivers vent on Uber to Fresno City Council – Several representatives for the local taxi industry appeared before the Fresno City Council Thursday, once again asking officials to address the disparity between their businesses and ride-sharing services. The Business Journal article

Nanci Nishkian: Thanks to all who helped bring back Storyland – The Fresno resident writes, “Thank you, Scott Miller and Bruce Batti, for all of your efforts as leaders of the Storyland/Playland board of directors. The reopening of Storyland on Sept. 4 was something to celebrate. And the after-event party that evening was very fun.” Nishkian op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Proposal would give SEIU Local 1000 president nearly $100,000 stipend — SEIU Local 1000’s top four leaders, including President Yvonne Walker, would each receive from $66,000 to nearly $100,000 in union money if the local’s board approves a new stipend proposal next month. Sacramento Bee article

San Diego to miss mayor’s deadline on vote to keep Chargers — The city of San Diego and the NFL Chargers were poised to miss a deadline set by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to schedule a public vote on whether taxpayers should help pay for a new stadium to stop the team from moving to Los Angeles. AP article



Twin tunnels permit sought – State officials applied this week for the latest in a series of permits they need to build the twin tunnels beneath the Delta, another indication of their intent to move forward with the $15 billion plan. Stockton Record article

Almonds are no longer villains – or scapegoats – of drought – Instead of pointing fingers at products perceived to be water hogs, Californians are more likely to be congratulating themselves on their excellent conservation effortsLA Times article

State officials hear about drought damage, solutions – High-ranking state officials heard about the drought’s devastation in Stanislaus and Merced counties – and about projects that could enhance future water supplies. They met Wednesday with local officials involved in wastewater recycling, groundwater recharge and other efforts to better manage the resource. Modesto Bee article

Drought leaves Chowchilla school well running dry – A well that serves a rural school near Chowchilla has nearly dried up, forcing children to drink bottled water and use portable toilets and sinks while they wait for a new well to come on line. Merced Sun-Star article


Court revokes approval of insecticide, citing ‘alarming’ decline in bees – An appeals court Thursday overturned federal approval of an insecticide used on a variety of crops, ruling that it could hasten an already “alarming” decline in bees. LA Times article 

Farm flooding could address overdraft — If Mother Nature dumps rain and snow on the Sierra this winter — and that’s a big if — Kings County farmers could flood their crops to recharge overdrafted aquifers, according to feedback from a study being conducted by University of California, Davis, researchers. Hanford Sentinel article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

Hanford public safety making progress – Nearly one year after the failure of Measure S, Hanford is on the verge of expanding its police station and building a third fire station. Hanford Sentinel article

Man dead, officer injured in afternoon shootout – A man was killed and a detective was wounded Thursday afternoon when gunfire erupted as police pursued a shooting suspect into a residential area in central Lodi, leading to a lockdown at a nearby elementary school. Stockton Record article

Escaping a life of crime – Ray Salazar sits in the lobby of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department with a reserved demeanor. His slacks, dress shirt and tie with a well-kept haircut wouldn’t have been imaginable to Salazar two decades earlier. Salazar, now in his mid-40s, has routinely visited law enforcement agencies in the past, but his previous encounters were never by choice. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Pasadena police union loses bid to bar release of shooting report – A California appeals court on Thursday rejected a police union’s request to stop the public disclosure of an independent consultant report on the 2012 fatal shooting by Pasadena police of an unarmed black teenager. LA Times article 

San Francisco jail to house transgender inmates based on identity — The San Francisco jail is taking steps to house female transgender inmates based on their gender identity, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Federal monitor: Oakland police still searching more minorities, but finding more contraband — The Oakland Police Department is still stopping and searching more black and Hispanic residents than the city’s white and Asian populations, but those searches are now resulting in a higher percentage of recoveries of illegal contraband, according to a new report from the department’s federal monitor. Contra Costa Times article



Senate sends high school exit exam suspension to Gov. Brown – Thousands of students who failed the California High School Exit Exam over the past decade may finally be able to graduate under a bill now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Poor test results: What now? — It was no surprise that California’s first academic tests tied to new Common Core English and mathematics standards revealed lackluster achievement. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Trustees fail to approve new contract with Bakersfield College president – Kern Community College District trustees voted against approving a new contract with Bakersfield College’s embattled president Thursday, instead choosing to discuss it further in both closed and open session. The decision surprised and outraged supporters of President Sonya Christian, one of whom vowed to fight back come election time. Bakersfield Californian article

Proceed with caution when comparing California test scores with other states – Comparing California scores on tests aligned with the Common Core standards to those in other states isn’t a straightforward process. EdSource article

Kings students score low in new tests – The results are in from the new online state test students took last year for the first time, and the results aren’t too pretty. In Kings County, 37 percent of students passed in English and 24 percent passed math in the new Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments test, which measures students’ knowledge of the Common Core standards. Hanford Sentinel article

Advocates question how Kern High School District is using $1.35 million – The Kern High School District board voted against a recommendation from teachers and community members Thursday to repurpose $1.35 million currently allocated to the district’s new online education system, Kern Learn. Bakersfield Californian article 

The Grade: To pray or not to pray at school – The Kern High School District board of trustees addressed complaints this week that South High Principal Connie Grumling prayed with students before classes began to kick off the school year last month. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno Unified purchases more natural gas buses — Fresno Unified will purchase four more compressed natural gas buses, bringing the number of environmentally-friendly buses in the school district to 63. The district’s total school bus fleet is 97. The district also has 10 clean diesel buses, which are low-emission and meet air quality standards. Fresno Bee article

Students air concerns on Sac City shootings — A week after a violent confrontation on the Sacramento City College campus left one student fatally shot and another man with a knife wound, administrators held a town hall forum for students, faculty and staff to air concerns and ask questions. Sacramento Bee article

Karen Ross and Tammy Anderson-Wise: Nutrition education should be integral part of school curriculum – Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Anderson-Wise, CEO of the Dairy Council of California, write, “Access to healthy meals at school is part of the solution, but it isn’t enough. Importantly, we also need to arm our young people with nutrition education and food literacy to improve their health over the long run and break the cycle of food insecurity.” Ross/Anderson-Wise op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Rough fire forces evacuations in Dunlap, Grant Grove, Wilsonia – The Rough fire’s rampant growth spurred another round of mandatory evacuations. Late Thursday, authorities said parts of the Sierra community of Dunlap need to be cleared out by noon Friday. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleKQED report

Firefighters prepare to defend historic Boole Tree, other giant sequoias from Rough fire – The voracious Rough fire has turned back toward occupied areas and national monuments, prompting new evacuations Thursday and a mad dash to protect the world-famous giant sequoia trees in Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest. Fresno Bee article 

Earth Log: Rough fire soot got you down? Defend yourself – You’ve had a headache for two days. The tickle in your throat has become a constant pain. And your airways feel like they’re swollen. It’s the soot and ozone in the summer’s worst week of air quality. Besides hiding behind closed doors, how should you defend yourself against the afternoon ozone and the soot siege from the Rough fire east of Fresno? Fresno Bee article

Fast-growing fire spreads to two counties – A vegetation fire that began as a small blaze on Amador County’s Butte Mountain has now grown to 14,700 acres and was only 10 percent contained by Thursday evening. Stockton Record article

Crews mop up Antelope fire, two others – While firefighters mopped up the remains of the Antelope fire Thursday, two much smaller lightning fires broke out in the Stallion Springs area of Banducci and Matterhorn roads. Tehachapi News article

Firms propose oil field waste treatment plant near Bakersfield – A British technology startup has teamed up with a Texas company to build a Bakersfield-area water treatment plant that would recycle 20,000 barrels of oil field wastewater per day, or 840,000 gallons. Bakersfield Californian article 

Edison files opposition to reopening San Onofre settlement — Southern California Edison asked state regulators Thursday to reject calls to reopen the settlement agreement over the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. LA Times article

San Francisco Bay shows signs of progress in biennial report — The erstwhile murky waters of San Francisco Bay are mostly clean enough to swim in, and the fish are essentially edible if you can shrug off the mercury and PCBs left over from mining and industry, a state-of-the-bay report revealed Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

California Legislature approves bill requiring prescription labels in 5 foreign languages — California’s pharmacists would be required to provide prescription drug labels or medication instructions in five languages besides English under a bill passed unanimously Thursday by California lawmakers. KQED report

State legislature approves limiting deductibles for family health plans — The state legislature is offering some relief to people whose health insurance comes with a large family deductible. Assembly Bill 1305 won final approval in the legislature Thursday. It would require all family health plans to include a per-individual deductible and a per-individual out-of-pocket limit. KPCC report


Land Use/Housing

Turlock City Council advances Vista student housing project — The four-story student residential complex proposed across from California State University, Stanislaus, took another step closer to opening its doors. The project will return at a later meeting for final approval. Modesto Bee article 

Developer may expand plans for midtown Sacramento housing — A huge residential project slated for midtown Sacramento could get even bigger. Developer Sotiris Kolokotronis already has agreements to buy several properties, including The Sacramento Bee’s full-block parking garage, for a multiblock complex of apartments, single-family homes and retail uses called Midtown Quarters. Sacramento Bee article


Highway 43 bill clears Legislature — A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, that could get extra funding for Highway 43 improvements has cleared the Legislature. Hanford Sentinel article 

Stanislaus County restarts Claribel Road project between McHenry and Oakdale Road — Stanislaus County’s project to widen Claribel Road has fired back up and could be completed in October, a public works official said. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Suit filed against Neighborhood Blitz program –  “They’re doing this Nazi blitz thing. If they had come in with respect, it would have been very different.” That’s how Michelle Holland, a four-year resident of north Stockton’s Gateway Apartments, recalled last winter’s city-sanctioned Neighborhood Blitz by Stockton code enforcers and police officers who, she said Thursday, gave her and her husband little choice but to allow them inside their two-story apartment. Stockton Record article 

City Beat: Citation issue emerges — Administrative citations could be in the future for illegal fireworks users, water wasters, trash dumpers and code enforcement scofflaws. On Wednesday, the Bakersfield City Council will consider a proposed emergency water ordinance that would turn tickets for wasting water into administrative citations. Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento City Council to consider ethics package — The Sacramento City Council will vote Tuesday on a “good government” package that includes the creation of an ethics commission, an ethics code and a commission tasked with drawing the boundaries for City Council districts. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento County to add enforcement, services for parkway campers — Concerned about fires and other safety risks on the American River Parkway, Sacramento County supervisors Thursday approved about $500,000 in spending over the next year to crack down on illegal camping and provide services for homeless people who often congregate along the waterway. Sacramento Bee article

Compton council moves to cut ‘illegal’ payments to themselves — After initially defending the payments, Compton city officials have moved to stop boosting the salaries of council members and the mayor for sitting on boards and commissions — a long-standing practice the district attorney’s office has alleged is illegal. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – On 9/11, we salute heroes and seek clarity.

Merced Sun-Star – Remember the 9/11 tragedy and retie the bonds that connect us.

Modesto Bee – Remember the 9/11 tragedy and retie the bonds that connect us.

Sacramento Bee – State government has a budget surplus once more. And yet efforts to raise rates for the care of people with autism, cerebral palsy and other severe lifelong disabilities are sputtering, needlessly; On 9/11, saluting heroes and searching for clarity.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Livable Communities: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?” — — Guests: Laura Podolsky, policy director, National Center for Sustainable Transportation– Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis; Gian-Carla Sciara, assistant professional researcher, Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, UC Davis, and Paul Zykofsky, associate director of the Local Government Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Walkable, Bikeable Transit-Oriented Communities: What (is the) Demand? — Guests: Keith Bergthold, executive director of Fresno Metro Ministry and past assistant director of Planning for the City of Fresno; Mike Prandini, executive officer for Fresno & Madera Counties, California Building Industry Association; and John Wright, former planning director for the City of Clovis). Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 13, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Livable Communities” – Guest: Paul Zykofsky, associate director of the Local Government Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Deputy Director Ana Melendez.

The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel.  Check to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area.  You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at

Community Events

  • The Wonderful Company will hold information sessions in Avenal and Wasco for area nonprofits, churches, religious organizations and local government agencies interested in applying for the Wonderful Community Grants initiative.  The Wasco event will be held at Wasco City Hall on Monday, Sept. 14, from 10-11 a.m. The Avenal event will be held at the Avenal Recreation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.   More information:
  • CA Fwd will hold an event on “Money, Schools, Jobs and You – A Bipartisan Conversation in Clovis” at the Center for Advanced Research Technology on Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 6-8 p.m. Speakers are Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin; former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed; Pete Peterson, executive director of Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership; and Marshall Tuck, Educator in Residence, New Teacher Center.  Event is free but registration is required.  More information:
  • 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.
  • 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 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 

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.

More Information

Please visit 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 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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