September 19, 2014


Receive the Maddy Daily in your inbox every morning! To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at

Political Briefs

Top stories

Congress keeps California water talks flowing – Secret California water bill negotiations have a “55% to 60% chance” of success during the fast-fading 113th Congress, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said Thursday.  McClatchy Newspapers article

CD21: Valadao, Renteria air first TV commercials – Hanford Republican David Valadao, who is seeking a second term in the 21st Congressional District, went on the air this week with his first television commercial, titled “Fighting for the Central Valley.” His challenger, Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, followed later in the week with her own first commercial, titled “Heart.” The ad starts Friday.  Fresno Bee article

Gov. Brown

Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown’s crony capitalism hurts home health aides – Gov. Jerry Brown argues the state can’t afford to better compensate low-paid home health care workers, but he’s found hundreds of millions of dollars for corporate tax breaks, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Bill Whalen: Big Business gives Gov. Brown a free pass – Assuming Brown is willing to do the same dance for another four years, he won’t catch any static from the business crowd.  Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California Republicans convene with modest goals – As Republicans gather in Los Angeles his weekend for their biannual convention, activists will rally around a more modest aspiration: To gain enough seats in competitive legislative races to undo the two-thirds supermajority Democrats hold in the Assembly, and to prevent Senate Democrats from reclaiming a supermajority that evaporated when three lawmakers were suspended in separate criminal cases this year.  Sacramento Bee article

Kashkari gets ‘hangover slot’ at state GOP convention – In promising to “remake” the state Republican Party, gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has spent $2 million of his own money and taken his message to urban churches, gay-pride parades and homeless shelters. But as hundreds of Republicans gather for their three-day state convention starting Friday in Los Angeles, Kashkari won’t be delivering his message to the party in a prime-time slot.  San Francisco Chronicle article

GOP pushes diverse candidates, but will it matter? – The California Republican Party is promoting one of its most diverse, youthful sets of candidates in years for this November’s election. But heading into this weekend’s state party convention, the question is whether it will matter in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.  AP article

Tribe’s hopes for huge Madera casino hinge on ballot battle – For as long as anyone in Madera County can remember, the impoverished North Fork Tribe of Mono Indians has been scattered in trailers and apartments throughout a rugged mix of Sierra foothills and San Joaquin Valley flats, with no reservation to call its own.  The tribe plans to build a huge casino on the outskirts of the city of Madera, on busy Highway 99, and analysts say it will bank millions of dollars almost immediately. There’s just one challenge to overcome: The state’s voters have to approve Proposition 48 on the Nov. 4 ballot. If they don’t, the compact that Gov. Jerry Brown signed with the tribe two years ago to allow the casino to be built will be canceled.  San Francisco Chronicle article

California health exchange stays neutral on Prop 45 – After months of intense discussions, California’s health insurance exchange on Thursday remained on the sidelines of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate rates.  Capitol Alert

Ad Watch: Ad targeting rate regulation measure overreaches – Opponents of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate health insurance rates have launched their first TV ad, claiming that the proposal would disrupt the health exchange and give too much power to a single politician. Sacramento Bee article


Ric Llewellyn: For every immigration success, there’s a dark side, too – Implying that the extraordinary success — or the unimaginable inhumanity — of a few people can be ascribed to an entire group assaults common sense. So, until we stop telling stories of aspiring young college students and rejoining them with mourning widows and fatherless children, we’ll never find an immigration solution that is good for the country, the state or Kern County.  Llewellyn op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Other areas

Dan Walters: Bill would expand courts’ authority over local government districts – State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who wants to become the state’s chief election officer as secretary of state, has responded to the questions with Senate Bill 1365, now sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, awaiting signature or veto. It would expand the 2002 voting law to require that the shape of districts (or wards) cannot impair the ability of a “protected class” of voters to elect candidates of their choice, empowering judges to intervene and impose new district maps or even change the size of governing boards.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Prosecutors offer Sen. Ben Hueso a plea deal – Sacramento County prosecutors offered Thursday to lower the drunk driving charge against state Sen. Ben Hueso to a lesser misdemeanor known as a “wet reckless.”  Sacramento Bee article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Tougher San Joaquin Valley wood-burning rules begin in 6 weeks – San Joaquin Valley air leaders on Thursday approved tighter wood-burning rules aimed at about 240,000 homes creating 95% of the dangerous soot from fireplaces and older wood-burning heaters.  Fresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian articleModesto Bee article

Massive King fire sets off even louder alarms in California –  In a summer of destructive blazes across Central and Northern California, the King fire — burning out of control in the forest east of Sacramento — has officials particularly alarmed.  LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Fresno Grizzlies welcome Houston Astros affiliation: ‘We couldn’t be any happier with the outcome’ – The Grizzlies and Astros signed a two-year player development contract on Thursday, ending the Fresno club’s 17-year run with the Giants. “We’re thrilled to have this relationship and this opportunity to move forward with the organization,” Grizzlies owner Chris Cummings.  Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal articleFresno Bee editorialKVPR report

Swearengin takes upbeat approach to Grizzlies change – Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin tried hard this week to keep the San Francisco Giants’ ties to Fresno intact. She wasted no time switching to a new cause for optimism now that reality has changed.  Fresno Bee article

Fan reaction mixed on Grizzlies’ new affiliation with Houston – For local baseball fans, Thursday’s announcement that the Fresno Grizzlies are saying bye bye to the San Francisco Giants and hello to the Houston Astros comes as a mixed bag.  Fresno Bee articleMarek Warszawski column in Fresno Bee

Bakersfield Blaze future in question – The winds of change are coming, and again they’re threatening to blow the Bakersfield Blaze right out of town. Blaze owner D.G. Elmore said Thursday he will present a plan next week to relocate the California League team to Salinas in time for the 2016 season.  Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento River Cats agree to affiliation deal with Giants – After 15 seasons as the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, the Sacramento River Cats reached a deal Thursday to change their affiliation to the San Francisco Giants next year, citing the Giants’ popularity among area baseball fans as a key motivation.  Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

Marcus Breton: How the River Cats gambled to become Giants’ Triple-A team – By the time the closely followed switch was announced Thursday morning to the cheers of Giants fans and the scorn of some A’s fans, the Savages had endured a nerve-wracking 48 hours trying to close the deal.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee

General Mills looks to close Lodi plant – General Mills announced Thursday a preliminary decision to close its cereal plant in Lodi, which currently employs about 430 people. It follows by one day the Minneapolis-based food giant’s report of falling quarterly profits and highlighting a program to shed excess North American production and distribution capacity with the aim to save $100 million a year.  Stockton Record articleSacramento Bee article

Lodi losing ‘powerful partner’ in the community – While General Mills called the decision Thursday to shutter its plant by the end of next year “preliminary,” Lodi officials expressed little hope of keeping open the venerable plant. General Mills, which opened in 1948, employs 430 people and sits on 66 acres on Turner Road. Stockton Record article

Retailers may hire most holiday workers since 1999, report says – Retailers and delivery companies looking forward to a cheerful holiday season are ramping up their temporary hiring — possibly to its highest levels in 15 years, according to one report.  LA Times article

Jeff Cummins: Rail equals job boom – The Fresno State political science professor writes, “If I told you that one of the largest infrastructure projects in U.S. history was going to be built here in the San Joaquin Valley, attract $6 billion (yes, a “b”) in spending over the next five years, create over 20,000 jobs a year (most of which are private sector), and a few thousand jobs permanently, would you be in favor of this?” Cummins op-ed in Fresno Bee

Stockton Record: San Joaquin County gets a positive economic indicator – Most residents probably weren’t aware that a GDP — Gross Domestic Product — is measured each year for San Joaquin County. If it’s going to be calculated, then you certainly hope the news is positive. For the first time since the so-called Great Recession, that is the case.  Stockton Record editorial

Sacramento area sees median income slide in 2013 – The median household income for the region – the middle income in a list ranked from top to bottom – was $57,027 in 2013, down from $57,515 in 2012, after adjusting for inflation. Median incomes have fallen nearly every year since 2008, when the typical Sacramento household earned $66,033.  Sacramento Bee article

City Beat: Sales tax results, GET raise fallout – Quarterly sales tax results are in, they’re up, and they’re stabilizing, according to City Manager Alan Tandy in his weekly memorandum to the Mayor and members of the Bakersfield City Council. In turn, that’s reaffirming Bakersfield’s current city budget.  Bakersfield Californian article

‘First Look’: Councilman decries raise for GET CEO – Two months ago an estimated 20,000 GET bus riders were left without transportation when members of Teamsters Local 517 union, seeking a 4 percent wage increase, went on strike. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. July 15. “That was the day I knew the CEO (Karen King) was the problem,” Bakersfield City Councilman Russell Johnson said in a Thursday appearance on The Californian’s weekday morning webcast, “First Look with Scott Cox.”  Bakersfield Californian article

CalPERS gets $88 million in Citi settlement – CalPERS said Thursday it has collected $88 million from a previously-announced settlement with Citigroup Inc. over toxic mortgage securities.  Sacramento Bee article

Public demands sale of Lemoore golf course – Despite more than a year of debate and public outcry opposing the sale of the Lemoore Golf Course, citizens called on the Lemoore City Council this week to sell the golf course.  Hanford Sentinel article

Jerry Brown signs film tax credit bill – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to more than triple California’s film and television tax credit, a point of heavy lobbying by the state’s TV and movie industry.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Oakland returns $1 billion contract to Texas waste hauler – In a stunning about-face, Oakland has agreed to return the city’s $1 billion trash-hauling contract to the nation’s biggest trash hauler, which one month ago accused the city in a lawsuit of illegally awarding the bid to a small local firm that was ill-prepared to do the job.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Republic FC fans welcome Major League Soccer executives to Sacramento – Top executives from Major League Soccer got high-level briefings from Sacramento Republic FC owners – and an earful from the team’s famously rowdy fans – as they began an on-the-ground evaluation Thursday of the region’s chances for an MLS expansion team.  Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown signs bill giving cities control over massage businesses – Cities will have more authority to crack down on illicit massage parlors under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday. Local government officials have complained that under current law, it is too difficult to regulate massage businesses or shut down parlors with suspected links to prostitution or human trafficking.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

Larry Ellison’s exit as Oracle CEO signals Silicon Valley shift – Larry Ellison‘s resignation as CEO of Oracle Corp. punctuates a shift in power in Silicon Valley as original tech titans like Steve JobsBill Gates and Ellison give way to a newer generation of leaders like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.  San Francisco Chronicle articleWashington Post article

Divide between homeowners and renters is growing – New figures highlight the growing gap between owners and renters in the Southland: Many homeowners are capitalizing on low interest rates to push down their monthly payment while renters are shelling out larger shares of their income to stay afloat.  And the ranks of renters are growing.  LA Times article

LA to re-examine regulations controlling city’s taxi companies –  In a push to level the playing field for taxi firms competing with new, app-based ride-sharing businesses, Los Angeles officials agreed Thursday to re-examine hundreds of regulations that control the city’s nine licensed cab companies.  LA Times article


Fresno cuts water use in July, August – The City of Fresno reports that water usage in the city dropped in the months of July and August, heeding a call from Gov. Jerry Brown to cut water use statewide. Total monthly water consumption for July — normally the highest-usage time of year — totaled 5.2 million gallons, down 8 percent from July 2013. That mark surpasses the statewide drop of 7.5 percent reported last week. For August, water usage was 4.6 million gallons, down 16 percent from last year.  The Business Journal article

‘Brown is beautiful’ landscaping bill signed by governor – Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills on Thursday that protect residents in homeowners associations across San Diego County and California who want to replace their water guzzling lawns with drought tolerant plants, or just cut back on turf watering during a drought.  U-T San Diego article

Another dry winter – Though summer ends on Monday, Joe Garcia isn’t isn’t thinking much about the start of fall, as his focus has been on the coming winter. Garica is a field supervisor for citrus farms in Tulare and Kern County, and like many in the agriculture industry here, is whether California’s three-year drought may finally be broken by a wet winter.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Agencies meet for close-up look at whether pesticides harm bees – About 100 people zipped themselves into beekeeping suits Thursday to see what’s troubling the hives. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation held an event near Modesto that dealt with whether pest-control chemicals are harming the bees that pollinate many crops in the state and beyond.  Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stockton Record: Symbol of success – The Stockton Police Department must push on after reaching Measure A hiring milestone.  Stockton Record editorial

Sacramento Bee: Recording devices prove to be a cop’s good friend – Recording devices may have their issues, but they can be a step toward civility.  Sacramento Bee editorial


Regents OK raises up to 20 percent for UC chancellors – The UC regents Thursday awarded pay increases of as much as 20% to the leaders of the Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Merced and Riverside campuses and set the annual salary of the new UC Irvine chancellor, Howard Gillman, at $485,000.  LA Times articleCapitol AlertSan Francisco Chronicle article

Turlock Unified upgrading elementary report cards, adult school grant – Schoolkids here will be bringing home updated report cards as part of the switch to Common Core standards. Elementary report cards will keep the 1-5 grading system Turlock already uses, but parents will get more detailed information on reading and writing progress.  Modesto Bee article

Report critical of charter school oversight – A lack of oversight of the nation’s charter schools has led to too many cases of fraud and abuse and too little attention to equity, according to a new report that offers recommendations to remedy the situation.  EdSource article

Merced-area school district raising pay to attract substitute teachers – Sometimes it’s difficult to attract substitute teachers for Merced County schools, prompting hikes in pay rates by area districts. Merced Union High School District trustees earlier this month bumped the daily pay rate for substitutes from $90 to $120, according to Stacy McAfee, assistant superintendent for human resources. The district has six campuses in Merced, Atwater and Livingston.  Merced Sun-Star article

Karen Williams: Great strides in adult education in Stanislaus County – The executive director of LearningQuest writes, “September is Adult Literacy Awareness Month, an appropriate time for an annual checkup to assess how well our community is meeting its ongoing need for adult education. At LearningQuest – formerly Stanislaus Literacy Center – there is much to celebrate: new programs, an improved funding picture, and ever-strong public and private partnerships.” Williams op-ed in Modesto Bee

Obama, others launch effort to reduce college sexual violence – President Obama and other federal officials are scheduled to launch a campaign Friday aimed at encouraging more college students, especially men, to prevent sexual violence.  LA Times article

LA school district will double staff helping with iPad rollout –  In response to problems with providing iPads to all students, teachers and campus administrators, the Los Angeles school system will double the number of people who will help with technical and instructional issues.  LA Times article

San Diego school district to return armored military vehicle – The San Diego school district will return its armored military vehicle to the Department of Defense, school officials announced Thursday night. The district joins a list of agencies returning excess military equipment amid a national controversy over local law enforcement agencies using such equipment.  LA Times articleU-T San Diego article

Richard Beene: Bakersfield Observed – Think you are smarter than an eighth-grader? Then consider this ridiculously hard question that ­appeared on a Common Core exam at Fruitvale Junior High School, along with the witty response from the student.  Bakersfield Observed in Bakersfield Californian

Disgruntled parent threatens Columbine-like shooting – There will be an increased police presence at Bear Creek High School today after a man threatened to carry out a Columbine-style shooting on campus, police and school officials said.  Stockton Record article


Officials identify suspect in Courtney fire at Bass Lake – Cal Fire officials have identified a suspect they say was responsible for starting the Courtney fire, which continues to burn in and around Bass Lake, as well as a youth suspected of intentionally starting 13 arson fires in the Oakhurst area over the past several months.  Fresno Bee article

King Fire: Alleged arsonist arrested in El Dorado County fire – A 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with intentionally igniting the massive King Fire, which has burned 71,000 acres of Sierra foothills east of Placerville while sending up a cloud of smoke visible as far as the Bay Area, officials said Thursday.  San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleKQED report

Pols want AG to probe CPUC’s ties with PG&E – Peninsula politicians want state Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate possible crimes involving the California Public Utilities Commission’s shockingly cozy relationship with PG&E during the agency’s probe of the utility after the deadly 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno.  Political Blotter

Lisa Margonelli: Why California’s green-vehicle incentives are upside down – The editor at large for Zocalo Public Square writes, “Since 2010, Californians have put more than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road. But those green vehicle policies contain a flaw that undermines their intent and magnifies the unfairness of California’s economy. These rebates — of as much as $5,000, funded by an extra charge on vehicle registrations — go mostly to affluent communities on California’s coast.” Margonelli op-ed in Fresno Bee

Livingston receives violation notice over wastewater plant – A notice of violation was issued to Livingston by a state water agency for failing to meet certain testing and reporting requirements related to the city’s domestic wastewater treatment plant.  Merced Sun-Star article

Health/Human Services

Visalia man dies while waiting for Medi-Cal insurance – A Visalia mother who says her son died while waiting to be qualified for Medi-Cal is suing the state to end a backlog of 350,000 unprocessed Medi-Cal applications.  Fresno Bee articleKQED report

Officials confirm first 2014 California cases of enterovirus D68 – Four cases of a virus that can cause severe respiratory illness in infants and young children — especially those with asthma — have been found in California, state health officials announced Thursday. Officials confirmed three cases of enterovirus D68 in San Diego County and one in Ventura County. LA Times article

Antidepressants rapidly alter brain architecture, study finds – A single dose of a popular class of psychiatric drug used to treat depression can alter the brain’s architecture within hours, even though most patients usually don’t report improvement for weeks, a new study suggests.  LA Times article


Frontier Airlines prepares to halt flights from Bakersfield to Denver – Frontier Airlines plans to discontinue its nonstop, three times-a-week service from Meadows Field to Denver starting Nov. 30, though the company said Thursday “the possibility exists” for flights to resume next summer.  Bakersfield Californian article

RT security force improved, but still not adequate, review panel finds – Sacramento Regional Transit’s security force coverage on buses and light-rail trains is “inadequate,” putting the agency at risk of not being able to respond quickly enough to emergency calls, especially during evening hours, a review team has concluded. Sacramento Bee article

Other Areas

Modesto mayor to talk about water, budgeting, graffiti, panhandling – Mayor Garrad Marsh says that during his Saturday town hall meeting, he plans to talk about Modesto’s water, how the city is developing better budgeting tools, and new efforts to deal with graffiti and panhandling.  Modesto Bee article

Homeless veterans get help at Stand Down in Fresno – Homeless veterans are getting some special attention this week at the 25th annual Stand Down at VFW Post 8900 west of Freeway 99. The Stand Down, at 3585 N. Bryan Ave., offers everything from clothing to hair cuts to legal help for the down-and-out who served in the armed forces.  Fresno Bee article

Merced’s zoo gets two new additions just in time for fundraiser – A couple of newbies are showing off their furry muzzles in Merced – just in time for a fundraiser that benefits Merced’s Applegate Park Zoo.  Merced Sun-Star article

Paul Hurley: An angel among us – Sandy Beals retired from FoodLink for Tulare County as executive director at the end of August. She had been the face of her organization and the voice of hunger in our Valley for 29 years. Imagine doing that for 29 years.  Hurley in Visalia Times-Delta

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Grizzlies fans down in the dumps should remember this: Fresno was a baseball town long before it became a Giants town; When it comes to wealth and clout, we are “Six Californias.”

Merced Sun-Star – The NFL’s version of zero tolerance: Lost revenue.

Modesto Bee – The NFL’s version of zero tolerance: Lost revenue.

Sacramento Bee – Like a kid who buys a packet of trading cards and gets a rookie Buster Posey, the Sacramento region scored big by luring the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A franchise; Recording devices (worn by police) may have their issues, but they can be a step toward civility.

Stockton Record – Most residents probably weren’t aware that a GDP — Gross Domestic Product — is measured each year for San Joaquin County. If it’s going to be calculated, then you certainly hope the news is positive. For the first time since the so-called Great Recession, that is the case; The Stockton Police Department must push on after reaching Measure A hiring milestone.