September 18, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

State panel outlaw ‘dark money’ in California political campaigns — The state’s campaign finance watchdog agency on Thursday adopted new requirements that nonprofit groups that contribute through a federal political action committee to support or oppose ballot measures or candidates in California must disclose their donors. LA Times article

Public employee unions push bill on transparency; some say it does the opposite – A union-backed measure on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk would require that a handful of cities and one county disclose more information about outsourced services, but the bill’s opponents say its real aim is to keep union labor negotiations opaque. Sacramento Bee article

Merced councilman could have district to himself — Depending on which of the two northern districts maps are picked by Merced City Council next month, one councilman has the potential of not sharing a district – and he designed the map. Merced Sun-Star article

Gov. Brown  

Which bills will Jerry Brown sign? — Below is a list of legislation we’re watching and a look at the issues that Brown is facing as he decides what to do with each one.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley Edition On Politics: Ben Adler on Gov. Brown’s rough week — While Brown vows to press on with his effort to enact the fuel standard and more aggressive greenhouse gas goals, the defeat is a political setback for the four-term governor. Brown also failed to reach deals with lawmakers involving new revenue for Medi-Cal and California’s crumbling roads. For analysis and insight on the close of the legislative session, and on Brown’s agenda moving forward, we spoke with Ben Adler, Capitol Bureau Chief for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. KVPR report


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Merced County education officials support extension of Prop 30 – Merced County education officials say they would support a state-level initiative to extend the income tax-based portion of Proposition 30 to continue funding schools. Merced Sun-Star article 

Does FPPC chair Ann Ravel support California campaign finance measure? – In a brief interview, Ravel said she can’t opine on the state law portion because it may come before the commission. She can, however, speak glowingly about the part amending the California constitution, which the FEC has no say over, she said. Sacramento Bee article



Civil rights commission: Release migrant children, parents — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has joined the call for the Obama administration to release thousands of immigrant women and children held in detention centers, finding their confinement inhumane and a violation of the migrants’ constitutional rights. McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times article

Central Valley farmers sound off on Trump immigration plan — We asked a dozen valley farm leaders what they thought of his plan that could deport 11.1 million people — perhaps 2.6 million of them from California including entire families. “They’d all have to go,” Trump has vowed. There were several schools of thought although most seem to part ways with Trump when it comes to his plan. Visalia Times-Delta article

GOP’s immigration dilemma comes to South Carolina: Hard line now may cost Latino votes later — Although Latinos here and elsewhere share many conservative social values with Republicans, their support for a fix to an immigration system widely viewed as broken is in conflict with a conservative constituency that largely opposes citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. How Republicans negotiate the competing pressures could determine the outcome of the party’s primary and the 2016 general election. LA Times article


Other areas

Ed Coghlan: New election funding grant announced by CA Fwd and James Irvine Foundation – California Forward, with support from the James Irvine Foundation, has embarked on the Election Funding Project. It will explore election funding models nationwide and in California’s 58 counties to create a list of viable options for elections officials. These models will focus on sustainability, efficiency, and innovation, while making sure elections are adequately funded. Coghlan in California Forward website

Catholic Church pushes to the left and right – The Catholic Church was a player in two of the biggest bills California lawmakers grappled with this year, working to push politicians to the left in one case, and to the right in another. CALmatters article

Despite setbacks, climate change push accelerates – The Legislature may have scuttled the centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change plans, but it still approved ambitious new environmental policies that will impact the economy and life of Californians. CALmatters article

Tom Steyer: Victories of SB 350 are incomplete, but lessons learned – The businessperson, philanthropist and president of NextGen Climate writes, “The bill’s passage was a tremendous victory – but it was incomplete. Our triumph was tempered by a stark reminder of how power really works in the Capitol. Oil company lobbyists gutted part of the bill, removing a provision to reduce oil use in vehicles by 50 percent by 2030.” Steyer op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ethics panel oppose bill to reduce disclosure of behested payments – A bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would end disclosure of payments made by government agencies at the urging of state legislators was opposed Thursday by the state’s campaign finance watchdog agency. LA Times article

Ben Boychuk: Giving legal sanction to deliberately killing the sick is wrong – Now the governor has another matter of conscience before him, and a profound one at that. Will he sign the bill that makes California the fifth state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide? Put another way, will Brown give his assent and place the state’s imprimatur on a law that makes it easier to kill the sick, the aged, the poor, the underinsured and the helpless? Boychuk column in Sacramento Bee


Joel Fox: Scorecard on the GOP debate — As usual, there are so many polls, opinions and scorecards examining who did well during last night’s Republican debate at the Reagan Library. Here are my takeaways – not so much on what happened but where things might lead after the debate performances. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Are vaccines safe? Republican presidential candidates weigh in — Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate offered plenty of overlap with leading California issues: the candidates sparred over climate change policies. They mentioned the drought and marijuana legalization. And toward the end, they entered a debate over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines that roiled the Legislature in 2015. Sacramento Bee articleKQED report

Can Fiorina become the Republican establishment’s candidate? – Carly Fiorina is the latest Republican to emerge as the hope of the party’s pivotal center-right voters, as one-time favorite Jeb Bush stumbles and other would-be contenders struggle to get noticed. McClatchy Newspapers article

Fiorina flourishes in debate, but will it last? – In her return to politics – culminating in a breakout performance in Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate – it is unclear if Fiorina is enjoying only a moment, or something more lasting. Republicans in 2012 cycled through a league of up-and-down candidates before ultimately settling on Mitt Romney. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Another year, another shutdown – Another year, another doomed run at a government shutdown. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Victor Davis Hanson: Migration’s monotony and hypocrisy — There is a tragic monotony to the latest massive human migration, this one involving Syrians fleeing their war-torn country. Whether the migrants are from Mexico, the Islamic world or elsewhere, it is always the same: Migrants flock to the West. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Good news, bad news as historic El Nino nears — Hopes for a wet winter and spring for drought-parched California grew Thursday as researchers predicted that there’s at least a 95 percent chance of a historic El Niño on the way. But the precipitation likely won’t come in time to bail the state out of its fourth year of crippling drought, or provide relief to California’s destructive fire season, according to a monthly climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSan Francisco Chronicle article 

About 100 workers furloughed at Chukchansi Gold; gaming officials resign – About 100 workers at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino lost their jobs this week after federal regulators learned about a conflict between tribal gaming officials and the tribal council. Casino officials confirmed Thursday that they have furloughed the employees. Also this week, two of the three tribal gaming commissioners and the commission’s executive director submitted their resignations, saying the tribal council was trying to usurp their authority. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy 

San Joaquin County posts strong job growth in spring – San Joaquin County employment grew strongly in the spring, and average wages also gained, particularly in traditionally lower-paying industries, federal officials said Thursday. Stockton Record article

Halliburton plays 54 local layoffs in third round of staffing cuts this year – Halliburton Energy Services Inc. served notice Thursday it plans to lay off 54 local employees, marking at least the third time this year the Houston-based oil field contractor will have cut its staff in Kern County. The layoffs at the company’s offices at 34722 7th Standard Road follow more than 1,200 oil field job losses in Kern since December. The cuts are widely attributed to a roughly 50 percent drop in the price of crude since June 2014. Bakersfield Californian article

BoNhia Lee: Fresno mortgages recovering from negative equity – Fewer Fresno County mortgages are underwater. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared underwater mortgage activity. That’s because the number of borrowers who owe more than the value of their homes has fallen dramatically as the economy recovers and the housing market strengthens. Lee in Fresno BeeThe Business Journal article

California home prices, sales cool in August – California’s summer housing rally cooled in August, a research firm said Thursday, as tight supplies kept a lid on sales and more buyers found prices out of reach. AP article

Housing prices cool slightly in Sacramento area – Sacramento’s housing market tailed off slightly in August, although prices remain higher compared with the same time last year. Market researcher CoreLogic reported Thursday that the median sale price fell to $275,000 last month for an existing single-family home in Sacramento County. That was down from $279,000 in July, but up 5.8 percent from the $260,000 recorded a year earlier. Sacramento Bee article 

Fed declines to raise interest rate amid global market turmoil — Cautious Federal Reserve policymakers on Thursday held a key interest rate at near zero, opting to wait longer to remove the unprecedented easy-money stimulus to determine whether recent global financial market volatility has slowed the U.S. economy. LA Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers article

George Hostetter: Granite Park ‘curse’ might be dying – Ten thoughts on Thursday’s news conference at Granite Park in east-central Fresno. The event’s topic: A proposed deal between City Hall and a local nonprofit to rehabilitate the 20-acre, city-owned site on Cedar Avenue, a mile south of Fresno State. Hostetter in Fresno Bee

Mayor announces deal to renovate, reopen Granite Park – With a financial boost from the City, local developers Terance Frazier and TJ Cox plan to bring the 18-acre, city-owned central Fresno parcel back to life, the mayor said during a noon press conference at the currently vacant facility first developed 15 years ago. The Business Journal article

Turlock weighs trash fee hike, first in 12 years – The city of Turlock is considering raising trash fees for homes and businesses to offset county cost increases at the Fink Road Landfill and the waste-to-energy plant. The typical single-family home would pay $2.30 more under the proposed one-time increase, raising the monthly bill from $25.10 per month to $27.40. Modesto Bee article

Mojave Air and Space Port picks new CEO — The Mojave Air and Space Port’s deputy general manager, Karina Drees, has been named the new general manager and CEO. Drees will take over in January for the retiring Stu Witt, who has been with the airport for almost 14 years. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced supervisors approve raise for county counsel — The Merced County Board of Supervisors has approved a 1.5 percent salary increase for James Fincher, boosting the county counsel’s yearly pay to nearly $195,000, with another raise to come next year. Merced Sun-Star article

Better options for Internet connection a possibility at Castle – The Merced County Board of Supervisors has chosen a Fresno-based telecom consortium for early-stage work to improve Internet service at the Castle Commerce Center in Atwater. The Central Valley Independent Network was granted a permit Tuesday to build a pathway for new fiber-optic infrastructure at the former Air Force base. Merced Sun-Star article 

Developer plans 13-story condo tower in midtown Sacramento — In what would be the tallest residential tower in the neighborhood, a developer has submitted plans to the city of Sacramento for a 13-story condo and commercial building in the heart of midtown. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento area med-tech company reports loss, layoffs — Cesca Therapeutics Inc., a Rancho Cordova medical technology company, reported a $2.4 million fourth-quarter loss Thursday. The earnings report came two days after Cesca laid off 15 workers as part of a cost-cutting effort aimed at trimming annual expenses by $3.3 million. Sacramento Bee article

Qualcomm to slash more than 1,300 jobs in San Diego — Qualcomm is slashing more than 1,300 full-time jobs in San Diego and has cut hundreds more in other states. AP article

City audit uncovers big cost increases for new LAX Bradley terminal – A city audit has uncovered an unusually high level of cost increases for LAX’s new Tom Bradley International Terminal — the centerpiece of a multibillion-dollar modernization of the aging airport. LA Times article



High rate of pistachio ‘blanks’ worries local nut growers — This year’s California pistachio crop is shaping up to be the worst on record, with as many as half the nuts harvested turning out to be empty “blanks,” a costly trend some in the industry think may have resulted from the unusually warm winter. Bakersfield Californian article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Inmates at California prison ask guards to keep quiet — California corrections officials said Thursday that they are handing out earplugs and telling guards to walk softly around some of the state’s most dangerous prisoners after the inmates complained about noise. The inmates say new welfare checks at Pelican Bay State Prison’s notorious security housing unit are keeping them up nights because noise caused by guards rouses them every half-hour around the clock. Sacramento Bee article

Video goes viral; Stockton police review arrest – A viral video that captured the forceful arrest of a 16-year-old boy outside a Stockton bus station earlier this week generated widespread scrutiny and prompted protestors to demonstrate against the Stockton Police Department on Thursday afternoon. Stockton Record article

76 arrested in probe targeting Norteno gang members – Several law enforcement agencies on Thursday announced the successful completion of a long-term mission focused on disrupting the operations of two violent Norteño criminal street gangs in Stockton. Stockton Record article

Officers charged in South Bay inmate death texted of prior abuse — Starkly contrasting pictures are emerging of the correctional officers charged with the beating death of a mentally ill Santa Clara County jail inmate last month, as lawyers from both sides filed motions over whether the three defendants should be eligible for bail. San Francisco Chronicle article



Bakersfield College president’s contract back on table following closed session – Kern Community College District board members voted to put a three-year contract extension and 10.5 percent raise back on the table for Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian Thursday after an earlier decision to table board consideration of the agreement. Bakersfield Californian article

UC regents withdraw policy statement on free speech, bias — The UC regents on Thursday withdrew controversial “principles of intolerance” and launched a new effort to rewrite policies that would more forcefully address anti-Semitism and other biases on campuses, while trying also to protect free speech. LA Times articleSacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Coalition fighting cap on budget reserves stumbles – A push in the Legislature to reduce the restrictions on school districts’ budget reserves faltered last week after a coalition of school organizations fractured over proposed compromises. EdSource article

Stephen E. Gomes: New tests will take some getting used to for students, teachers – The Merced County superintendent of schools writes, “The results of the first CAASPP testing, in the spring of 2015, recently became public and I would like to share some insight about the results.” Gomes op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Newest Fresno school paves way for business world — Fresno Unified’s newest high school is looking to pivot away from the standard educational experience, instead equipping students with the knowledge necessary to gain entry into the business world. The Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship is devoted entirely to creating a business-like atmosphere for students to grow their professional skill set. The Business Journal article

Ceres parents get schooled on their child’s day at Sinclear Elementary — Parents crowded into classrooms for Sinclear Elementary’s Bring Your Parents to School Day, an annual tradition that typically has 60 percent of the student body escorting moms, dads or grandparents to their seats. Modesto Bee article


Modesto celebrates wastewater plant upgrade — Modesto officials celebrated Thursday the completion of a $133 million upgrade to the city’s Jennings Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will clean the water to such a state that it can be used to irrigate fields growing food for people. Modesto Bee article

Retired journalist, composer among five dead in Northern California fires – Search crews with cadaver dogs have found the remains of two more people in Lake County, bringing to five the total number of dead so far in two Northern California fires. Cal Fire officials say one of the dead, discovered Wednesday, is believed to be Leonard Neft, 69, a former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose family has lived for generations in the Cobb area of Lake County. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleNew York Times article


Rough fire grows slightly, some park closures to end – The Rough fire, which has burned more than 141,000 acres over the last six weeks, was still 67 percent contained on Thursday morning. Fresno Bee article 

PG&E says tree suspected in Butte Fire had been inspected – The tree suspected of hitting a 12,000-volt power line and sparking the 70,000-acre Butte Fire in the Sierra foothills had been checked six times since the start of 2014, but not been deemed a risk, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

From lightning to foul play, what causes California’s worst wildfires – There’s no simple way to stop wildfires from sparking up in bone-dry California. Over the past 25 years, the state’s most destructive blazes have ignited in all kinds of ways — tracing back to lightning storms, troubled firebugs, target shooters, negligent campers, tree trimmers who send limbs into active power lines, and people who insist on riding mowers over dry grass in the middle of summer. San Francisco Chronicle article

Why the worst of fire season may lie ahead – As bad as things are already, the system in place to manage California’swildfire season is already “stretched very, very thinly,” according to Mark Ghilarducci, who directs the state’s Office of Emergency Services. KQED report

Megafires don’t melt opposition to California fire fee – Rural Californians are reeling from yet another destructive fire season. But that doesn’t mean they now support a controversial fire fee imposed several years ago by legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown. Chris Nichols reports from Sacramento. Capital Public Radio report

U.S. Forest Service prevents its own scientists from talking about study – The US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station is preventing one of its scientists from talking about a study he authored in the journal “Science.” As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the agency even unsuccessfully requested that Science editors hold the article or remove his name from the study. Capital Public Radio report

Valley Fire acts of kindness, bravery earning kudos on social media – Amid heartbreaking reports of the Valley Fire’s increasing death toll and destruction, there are countless heartwarming tales surfacing about how many have helped.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Tsunami surge could help experts predict future ocean events — Though Thursday’s tsunami surge had little impact on most Southern Californians, for those who track such events, it offered a chance to hone their craft. LA Times article

Tuolumne fish passage draws pointed debate – An ambitious idea — moving salmon into a Tuolumne River stretch above Don Pedro Reservoir where they might have lived long ago — could come at too high a cost to Stanislaus County residents, critics said Thursday. Environmentalists countered that the project is worth exploring on a river that is heavily used by farms and cities and needs improved habitat for fish. Modesto Bee article

State’s renewable energy bill is costly for Covanta waste-to-energy plant – The Covanta energy plant, which serves as the municipal waste burner for Stanislaus County and Modesto, can continue for another year selling higher-cost electricity to buyers that want renewable energy credits. But a major senate bill to increase renewable energy sources in California will remove its special status in 2017. Modesto Bee article

Renewable energy to power Sacramento state buildings — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and Sacramento’s not-for-profit electric utility have reached an agreement that will power nearly two dozen state office buildings with electricity from renewable sources within the next month.  Sacramento Bee article 

Hearing on adapting to climate change set at UC Merced – State leaders will hold a regional hearing on climate change adaptation Tuesday at UC Merced. The hearing on “Central Valley Regional Adaptation Efforts to Climate Change Impacts” will include state and local officials from agriculture, fire, water and air departments and districts, according to a news release. Merced Sun-Star article 

Oil field operator settles air-quality violations, moves closer to reopening — An oil field linked to chronic respiratory illnesses in South Los Angeles has moved a step closer to resuming operations by paying $144,250 to settle air quality violations. LA Times article 

State fines local oil producer $257,800 for alleged deceit — State regulators have fined a Bakersfield oil producer a quarter million dollars for alleged violations including falsifying official paperwork as part of a pattern of environmentally risky behavior. Bakersfield Californian article


Health/Human Services  

This year’s flu vaccines should work better than they did last year.  Here’s why – With the annual flu season approaching, federal officials said Thursday that the flu vaccines available in North America this year are a good match to the influenza viruses that are actually on the loose in the United States. LA Times article

More people are being billed for charges not paid by Medi-Cal – Healthcare providers are prohibited by law from billing people with Medi-Cal for charges not covered by their insurance. Yet, advocates said there has been an increase over the last year in healthcare providers engaging in the practice, commonly referred to as balance billing. LA Times article

Fresno nursing leaders inducted into Valley hall of fame — Two distinguished nurses from Fresno have been inducted into the Central Valley Nursing Hall of Fame. Dr. Glen Doyle, Fresno State professor emerita of gerontology, and alumna Laurel Friesen were inducted during the 12th annual awards luncheon at the Smittcamp Alumni House. Fresno Bee article

‘Study drug’ also misused by athletes — Concerns about the prescription stimulant Adderall resurfaced late last month when two high school football players in rural El Dorado County were hospitalized for head injuries following a game, and sheriff’s deputies arrested another student a few days later on suspicion of selling the drug. Sacramento Bee article


Land Use/Housing

Commission continues northeast development proposal after ‘contentious’ discussion — Faced with overwhelming neighborhood opposition to designs for 52 new houses in a partially-built northeast gated community, the Bakersfield Planning Commission postponed a decision for seven weeks to let both sides work things out. Bakersfield Californian article


A high-speed rail from LA to Las Vegas? China says it’s partnering with U.S. to build – A long-discussed high-speed rail project linking Southern California and Las Vegas will be built by a U.S.-China joint venture, Chinese officials said Thursday, though many details about the agreement remained hazy. LA Times article


Other areas 

Fate of old courthouse sparks concerns – A group of downtown Stockton property owners and real estate developers have asked the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to place a discussion regarding the fate of the existing courthouse on a future agenda. Stockton Record article

Michael Fitzgerald: A plaza is good for the heart – If the county keeps the old courthouse, there would be no plaza or parking. Parking is important. But the plaza is absolutely essential. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Joe Mathews: Junipero Serra may have been a saint, but he wasn’t California’s Founding Father — Serra may deserve his reward from his Catholic employer, but we don’t need to keep honoring him as a hero for all Californians. Here’s praying that his sainthood proves to be a moment for us to correct the record. This state had no founding father. We had founding impulses. We had greed. We had ambition. We had crazy dreams. And now we have a saint. Let’s leave it at that. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Cannella honors Merced volunteers — Several dozen volunteers gathered at the Merced County Courthouse Museum to accept an award from state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, on Wednesday. More than 100 volunteers in the past year gave more than 4,000 hours of their time volunteering at the museum, according to Executive Director Sarah Lim. Merced Sun-Star article

New U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera made a fantastic debut in D.C. – Juan Felipe Herrera, the new U.S. poet laureate, thanked a lot of people during his inaugural reading Tuesday night. But then he took the audience back to 1958 and described a woman in Burbank, Calif., who put him on the path to Washington. Washington Post article

Triple threat: Clovis movie theater adds three-screen technology — The movie theater at Sierra Vista Mall is the first to install the new Barco Escape three-screen, ultra-wide experience projection system. Unlike the traditional screenings, the new technology offers additional images to each side of the screen. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – When the smoke clears, we should all fight fires; Not to slander the noble bird well known in our region, but a Legislature dominated by the Democratic Party has cranked out some turkeys that serve no purpose other than to keep people in some public-employee unions happy.

Merced Sun-Star – Not to slander the noble bird well known in our region, but a Legislature dominated by the Democratic Party has cranked out some turkeys that serve no purpose other than to keep people in some public-employee unions happy. 

Modesto Bee – Not to slander the noble bird well known in our region, but a Legislature dominated by the Democratic Party has cranked out some turkeys that serve no purpose other than to keep people in some public-employee unions happy.

Sacramento Bee – Another year, another doomed run at a government shutdownPublic safety is paramount on American River Parkway.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Prop 63 and the State’s Mental Health Programs: Promises (Un)Fulfilled?” — — Guests: Darrell Steinberg, former president pro tem of the California Senate and current director of Policy and Advocacy at the UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, and Carole D’Elia, executive director of the Little Hoover Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Prop 63 in Action: Tulare County’s Innovative Mental Health Program” — Guests: Dr. Timothy Durick, the director of the Tulare County Mental Health Department, and John Moreno Gonzales with the California Health Care Foundation’s Center for Health Reporting. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 20, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Prop 63 and the State’s Mental Health Programs” – Guest: Jose Oseguera (Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability 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

  •     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

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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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