September 16, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories


Anger, passion drive the debate over more overtime pay for California farmworkers – Perhaps no place better captures the frustrations, tensions and emotions that remain over the issue than the San Joaquin Valley Cardenas calls home. The fight for farmworkers’ rights has roots in this 10,000-square-mile stretch of flatlands, orchards and vineyards, where friction between labor and agricultural interests existed long before the days of Cesar Chavez. LA Times article


Dan Walters: Brown vetoes tax break bills but doesn’t push vital tax reform — Brown’s position on punching holes in the state’s tax system is not quite as high-minded as he makes it sound. For one thing, he’s shied away from anything approaching comprehensive tax reform during his second governorship, even though the need for a major overhaul is evident to anyone. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Gov. Brown


‘Portable’ pensions: Historic changes loom – In a decision that could serve as a national model, Gov. Jerry Brown is considering legislation to allow millions of private-sector employees to steadily build their pensions without interruption — even when they change jobs.  Capitol Weekly article


Jerry Brown signs janitor protection bill amid fast — With janitors fasting outside the Capitol in support of a bill to increase workplace protections against sexual assault and harassment, Gov. Jerry Brown late Thursday signed the measure. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article


Jerry Brown signs oversight bill prompted by Berkeley balcony collapse – Fifteen months after the balcony collapse at a Berkeley apartment building that killed six people, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed legislation increasing state oversight of California building contractors. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics


Video: Atwater City Council candidate debate — Here is full video of the Atwater City Council candidate debate presented by Merced County Association of Realtors. Merced Sun-Star article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Rep. Loretta Sanchez attacks Kamala Harris over controversial company Herbalife – Rep. Loretta Sanchez opened up a new line of attack against state Atty. Gen.Kamala Harris on Thursday, criticizing her opponent in California’s U.S. Senate race for not doing enough to protect consumers from what she called the “predatory practices” of nutritional company Herbalife. LA Times article


What you need to know about Prop 61, the spendy prescription drug measure on November’s ballot — One of the most closely watched — and big-spending — ballot initiatives this fall is Proposition 61, a measure that seeks to limit the price state agencies pay for prescription drugs. LA Times article


Joel Fox: Don’t bring back the candy tax — It’s not often that California voters support a ballot measure by over a two-thirds vote but that’s what they did in 1992 when rejecting a sales tax on snack foods and candy. Now Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez and Cristina Garcia want the voters to take a second look at that action by supporting a tax on snack foods and candy to offset a tax cut on feminine hygiene products, diapers and toilet paper. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Prop 54 supporters make their case for increased transparency — It is a rather inelegant but also an official term in the California Legislature Glossary. “Gut and amend” describes when legislators offer amendments to a bill removing the current contents in their entirety and replacing them with different provisions. It happens more than you would think. California Forward article




California moves to allow undocumented to buy insurance – In a move that is sure to draw the ire of Republicans, California officials are asking the Obama administration this week to approve a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to buyhealth insurance on the state’s public exchange. New York Times article


He was deported 4 times. His wife is accused of helping him flee to Mexico. Now, she faces 10 years in prison — Immigration officials have deported Jose Vega-Zuniga four times, but he’s always returned, and usually landed behind bars. LA Times article


Other areas


Bill Whalen: Tweeting a two-bit notion to banish George Washington – It’s not just the clever minds under the state Capitol dome that can make America wonder if California has taken leave of its senses. The Golden State is also blessed by the likes of Matt Haney, president of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, who recently posted this on his Twitter account (since set to private): “We should rename Washington High School after San Francisco native, poet and author Maya Angelou. No schools named after slave owners.” Whalen column in Sacramento Bee


LA Council President Herb Wesson names himself temporary overseer of Valley district — Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said Thursday that he has selected himself to temporarily manage the San Fernando Valley district represented until recently by Felipe Fuentes. LA Times article


Presidential Politics


Donald Trump’s lead widens in USC/LA Times tracking poll, which points to likely turnout as key shift – Donald Trump’s lead over Hillary Clinton in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times national tracking poll grew to nearly six percentage points on Thursday, his largest advantage since his post-convention bounce in July. LA Times article


Will Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg become Hillary Clinton’s treasury secretary? — Will Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg finally lean back into politics if presidential candidate Hillary Clinton comes knocking? Rumors have been flying for a while that Democratic nominee Clinton might tap Sandberg as U.S. Treasury Secretary if she wins the presidential election in November. San Jose Mercury News article


News Stories

Top Stories


California proposes steering more river water to fish – less to farms, cities — In a move that foreshadows sweeping statewide reductions in river water use for human needs, state water regulators on Thursday presented a stark new reality to some California cities and farms that receive water from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. Sacramento Bee articleAP articleModesto Bee articleStockton Record articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article


Clovis Unified parents angry that daughters share locker room with transgender student – Two mothers of Clovis Unified School District students say their daughters suffered from anxiety after changing alongside a transgender student in the locker room at Alta Sierra Intermediate School. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy


Parking costs could drop for Modesto garages, lots – Modesto is looking at making it cheaper to park in the evening at its three downtown parking garages and five parking lots to encourage people to come to the city center. Modesto Bee article


Officials ramp up for Measure K redo – As Measure K makes its way back for a second go-round on the ballot, local officials are ramping up their efforts to appeal to voters in the November election. Hanford Sentinel article


Kings County: Taking the business pulse – It seems clear that the Central Valley will again be home to millions more egg layers, happy perhaps, to have room to move around a bit thanks to the new law. Central Valley Eggs, LLC plans a 2.5 million hen egg ranch to be located between Wasco and Corcoran a few miles south of the Kings County line. The value of the project, considered the state’s largest egg ranch, is $300 million. They plan to be shipping eggs by the early 2017. Hanford Sentinel article


Sacramento median income rises to highest level in years – The region’s median household income – the middle income in a ranked list – was about $62,800 last year, the highest level since 2009, after adjusting for inflation. Incomes grew slightly faster in the Sacramento region than they did statewide last year. Sacramento Bee article


Low inventory keeps Sacramento-area home prices high; sales up 3.5 percent from last year – Home prices in the Sacramento region have increased by double digits over a year’s time, driven by low inventory, according to the latest monthly report released by the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee article


Prime River Park property goes on the market for $14 million – A prime piece of real estate in the River Park Corporate Center went on the market this week — the first time since the 1990s that land for development in one of Fresno’s premier office complexes has been available. Asking price for the trophy property: a cool $14.6 million. The Business Journal article


Ladies, it’s possible that every guy you knew in college earns more than you – Men make more money just six years after enrolling in college than women do 10 years after entering schools, a wage gap that persists across public and private four-year universities, according to a study released this week by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. LA Times article


Are Raiders closer to exit with Las Vegas approving new stadium? — The Oakland Raiders’ future seems to be headed toward Las Vegas, via Carson City, with the committee overseeing a proposed new 65,000-seat stadium voting Thursday morning to approve the deal, clearing one major hurdle as billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson attempts to achieve his dream of a NFL stadium for the city. San Jose Mercury News article;


San Francisco pension board votes to dump guns and ammo stocks – almost — The board of the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System voted 6-0 Wednesday to rid its portfolio of firearms and ammunition stocks — but the measure they passed apparently stops short of pulling the trigger on divestment. San Francisco Chronicle article


Fresno’s Smades Henes family has three generations of Realtors – The three generations of women Realtors from the Smades Henes family spoke Wednesday at the Pay It Forward luncheon series hosted by the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State. The women talked about their experiences, how real estate has changed and about maintaining their family brand. Fresno Bee article


NBCUniversal to cut 200 jobs in DreamWorks Animation takeover — Less than a month after completing its takeover of DreamWorksAnimation, NBCUniversal announced plans to eliminate about 200 jobs at the Glendale operation of the former standalone studio. LA Times article




Felicia Marcus: Seeking a better way to share rivers among people, wildlife – The chairwoman of the California State Water Resources Control Board writes, “Maintaining adequate flows for California’s natural resources can have significant costs for water users and local economies. But with creativity in how we manage each drop, including saving more water above and below ground in wet times for the dry times, we can minimize the costs and maximize the benefits. That requires people coming together to solve problems rather than just saying ‘more,’ or just saying ‘less,’ or by dismissing each other’s legitimate interests. Marcus op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Will climate change make California’s droughts worse? A mountain lake offers clues — Authors of the study, published Thursday in the online journal Scientific Reports, cautioned that it remains uncertain whether climate change driven by greenhouse gas emissions will affect ocean dynamics in the same way as past climatic shifts. LA Times article


Hanford, Armona avoid water consolidation – Armona and Hanford officials are feeling like they dodged a bullet after fears that the state would require the two cities’ water systems to merge proved to be unfounded. Hanford Sentinel article


Farmworker dies while operating almond harvesting machine in Huron — A 21-year-old farmworker died Thursday while operating an almond harvesting machine in Huron, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. Fresno Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Recruiting cops isn’t that easy – Police departments across the state recruit out of the top police academies hoping to find the diamond in the rough. Many agencies compete with incentives that boost pay and attract the finest officers to their departments. But getting the finest to protect and serve isn’t as easy as simply posting a job. Visalia Times-Delta article


Accused Fresno County Jail shooter pleads not guilty — The man accused of the attempted murder of two Fresno County Jail officers pleaded not guilty Thursday morning. Fresno Bee article


Dos Palos football players face felony charge in hazing case – Criminal charges were filed Thursday afternoon against three Dos Palos varsity football players in connection with an alleged hazing incident, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed. Merced Sun-Star articleAP article


Diverse group addresses local violence – The recent daytime shooting death of a 16-year-old boy has elicited feelings of anger, fear and frustration in south Stockton’s Conway Homes housing project, but on Thursday there was a sense of unity and a call for change. Stockton Record article


Sacramento Bee: Sacramento police are flirting with disaster — Now is the time for Sacramento to learn from Ferguson. Be transparent. Be accountable. Be predictable. Nothing else will do. Sacramento Bee editorial


Randy Villegas: Lisa Green, closing libraries won’t make us safer – The CSU Bakersfield student writes, “During a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green declared that public safety must remain the top priority. ‘If that means closing every library in the county so you can put deputies on the street,’ she said at the meeting on Sept. 6, ‘you need to do that.’ Wrong. If you really want to prioritize public safety, you need to attack the real threat: lack of education and lack of opportunity. Numerous studies show the link between education and crime rates, and the overwhelming consensus is that the more educational opportunity communities have the lower the crime rate.” Villegas op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Judge: Sacramento County to pay $5.3 million in legal fees in deputies’ suit — A judge ruled Sacramento County must pay $5.3 million in fees to attorneys for four female sheriff’s deputies who alleged their superiors retaliated against them. Thursday’s ruling ballooned the county’s bill in its six-year legal fight against the women to more than $10 million. Sacramento Bee article


California Forward study on mentally ill offenders in Riverside County receives high marks — The serious mentally ill are booked more frequently and stay in jail significantly longer for lesser crimes than the general jail population. That’s the message Scott MacDonald delivered when he presented the findings of the Riverside County Jail Utilization Study to the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) meeting Wednesday in Sacramento. California Forward article



Did Merced College violate public-meetings law? – The head of the faculty union at Merced College says the school’s board of trustees violated the Brown Act, the regulations governing public meetings and employment, by failing to publicly report a decision this month to place a professor on unpaid leave. Merced Sun-Star article


Joe Mathews: Why does California turn to lotteries in education? – Californians think we have a system of public education. What we really have is a system for rationing public education. I got a taste of this in the spring, when I took my 5-year-old son to our local school district offices to determine his educational future. This being California, the determination was made not by any assessment but by a lottery. An administrator pulled names out of a hat to fill spots in our elementary school’s new Mandarin immersion program. Mathews in Bakersfield Californian


California expands services for undocumented students as legislation seeks more – For Gustavo Garcia-Rojas, the recent theft of his backpack and wallet was more than an inconvenience — it was a threat to his life in the United States. Among the items taken was his federal identity and work authorization card, which is supposed to protect him from deportation. Lucky for him, Garcia-Rojas, who was brought to the United States at age 7 from Mexico without immigration documents, had somewhere to turn.  EdSource article


Mixed grade: Is new state school review method a ‘mishmash’ or a ‘good start’? – Parents have a right to know how their particular local schools are performing, but California’s new accountability system fails to provide that information, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa charged Wednesday. CALmatters article


Modestans, parents sought for Student Equity Panel – Modesto City Schools has opened applications for a new Student Equity panel, formed in response to sustained community protests of uneven discipline and unequal outcomes, particularly for African Americans. Modesto Bee article


Krista Moreland: Learning by interning: Bakersfield College’s Human Services Program – The associate professor of Anthropology at Bakersfield College writes, “I believe that the most successful graduates are those that have experience in their field when they graduate; and down the hall from me is a BC program that takes this concept to the next level by making community interaction the core of the program, requiring all majors to complete two semesters of internships with local organizations. That program is Human Services.” Moreland op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Katehi’s ‘questionable activity’ at UC Davis went unchallenged by close aides, Napolitano says – In a scathing, 15-page letter to members of the University of California Board of Regents last month, UC President Janet Napolitano described a litany of failures by UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi that ultimately led to Katehi’s resignation. Sacramento Bee article


UC Regents confirm Ralph J. Hexter as acting Davis chancellor — University of California regents voted Wednesday to confirm Ralph J. Hexter as acting chancellor of UC Davis until a new campus leader is found. Sacramento Bee article


She sat down during the Pledge of Allegiance, so the teacher lowered her grades — On the first day of the school year last month at Lower Lake High School in northern California, Leilani Thomas did what she usually does when her classmates recite the pledge. She stayed seated. But for the first time in several years, her new teacher stopped and asked why she and a friend weren’t standing for the daily recital. McClatchy Newspapers article


Oakland schools creating program to support African American girls — Following on the success of its pioneering program to help African American boys succeed in school, the Oakland Unified School District is creating one for girls, officials announced Thursday afternoon. San Francisco Chronicle article




Tesla battery contract shows how SoCal Edison is ramping up electricity storage – Tesla announced Thursday that it has been selected by Southern California Edison to build a battery project at the utility’s Mira Loma substation that will have the largest output of any existing lithium-ion storage facility. LA Times article


Health/Human Services 


By one measure, health care law is a record success – Included among the many uplifting economic numbers released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday was a remarkable one about health insurance in the United States: Only 9.1 percent of Americans do not have coverage, the lowest level ever recorded by the agency. New York Times article


Undocumented children’s new access to Medi-Cal could could help combat ‘epidemic of tooth disease’ — Dental coverage under the state’s Denti-Cal program is included in the expanded benefits, and there is widespread hope that it will improve pediatric oral care in California. But delivering on that promise could be a stiff challenge for a program in which more than half of children who were covered before the law took effect had not seen a dentist in the previous year.  KQED report


Fourth Zika case in Merced County pending — A fourth adult in Merced County is awaiting test results to confirm whether he or she has Zika, Merced County’s Public Health Director Kathleen Grassi said Thursday. Merced Sun-Star article


Land Use/Housing


Clovis planners delay decision on behavioral health hospital — After a lengthy and contentious public hearing Thursday evening, the Clovis Planning Commission postponed making a decision on a 102-bed behavioral health hospital that is promised to reduce the dearth of beds available in the Fresno area. Fresno Bee article




Open roads, or not — A stretch of mountain road that provides access to the Trail of 100 Giants may open all year if county supervisors can find financial partners willing to pay for the effort. Visalia Times-Delta article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – Wells Fargo scam shows the importance of a watchdog press.


Sacramento Bee – Trump’s gains on Clinton raise a question every voter needs to consider: Can we afford him as president?; Now is the time for Sacramento to learn from Ferguson. Be transparent. Be accountable. Be predictable. Nothing else will do.

Maddy Events


Sunday, Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Political Influence in California Politics: The Good, the Bad & The Ugly  Guests: Los Angeles Times reporter John Myers and KQED reporter Marisa Lagos. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Is the Valley’s Political Influence Growing? – Guests: Fresno Bee opinion page editor Bill McEwen and Fresno State political science professor Tom Holyoke. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy Report: “State Watchdogs in California” – Guests: Edgar Cabral of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office and Margarita Fernandez, spokesperson for California State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: 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