September 2, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Speculation flares on Kristin Olsen’s political ambition – Kristin Olsen wasn’t ready to reveal her next political move, even as California Assembly Republicans on Tuesday selected someone to replace her as their leader next year. Modesto Bee article

Defying party leaders, Henry Perea could be climate legislation’s biggest hurdle – The depth of Perea’s conversion may determine the fate of the sweeping climate-change package being championed by Gov. Jerry Brown and De León, policies designed to change the cars Californians drive and the sources of power that keep their lights on and air conditioners humming. Their steepest hurdle is not the climate-change deniers that Brown dismisses as “troglodytes,” or even skeptical Republicans whose minority-party status has relegated them to the political sidelines. It is a pack of moderate Democrats in the Legislature. And the most public face of that opposition is Perea, their leader. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Job claims clashing with facts – The term “voodoo economics” was lodged in the political lexicon 35 years ago by George H.W. Bush, referring to presidential rival Ronald Reagan. The two later reconciled enough for Bush to became Reagan’s vice presidential running mate, but the term survived. It’s time to dust it off again because the Capitol seems to be infested with voodoo economics these days – logic- and fact-deficient assertions about the seemingly magical economic effects of politicians’ pet causes. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

State budget

 Protestors call for funding for developmental disability programs — In what they called a last desperate plea, more than 100 protesters gathered in front of state Sen. Kevin de Leon’s district office Tuesday to press him and other lawmakers to boost funding for programs for those with developmental disabilities. LA Daily News article 

Valley politics 

Modesto Bee: Olsen effective leader for state, Valley, party – Kristin Olsen has done a good as the Republican’s leader in the Assembly – for the state, for her district and for her party. Job titles are not as important as results, and she has achieved them. Modesto Bee editorial

Tubbs to run for Stockton mayor in 2016 – City Councilman Michael Tubbs will run for mayor of Stockton in 2016, scrapping his candidacy for the county Board of Supervisors in favor of mounting an electoral challenge to incumbent Mayor Anthony Silva. Stockton Record article

Three Golden Valley Unified trustees recalled — Three Golden Valley Unified School District board members were ousted Tuesday in a recall election sparked by their decision earlier this year to fire the district superintendent. Fresno Bee article

Committee on Merced districts makes recommendation — The committee tasked with recommending maps for districts in Merced’s local elections decided on Tuesday to keep a piece of each of the three remaining maps to recommend to City Council. Merced Sun-Star article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

State ballot initiative fee raised to $2,000 to prevent mischief — It won’t be as easy on the pocketbook for mischief makers to propose outrageous ballot initiatives in California, like a recent one that called for executions of gays and lesbians. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that raises the fee for filing ballot initiatives from $200 to $2,000 in an effort to discourage what has become a plethora of over-the-top measures in recent years. San Francisco Chronicle articleSacramento Bee article


Other areas

Chad Mayes tapped to lead California Assembly Republicans – California Assembly Republicans chose first-term Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, to be their next leader in a closed-door vote Tuesday. Current Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, took over the leadership post last fall after an election that saw Republicans erase a Democratic supermajority. Her effort to build on that momentum came with an expiration date: Term limits prevent Olsen from serving in the Assembly after November 2016. Capitol AlertLA Times article 

Senate approves ‘Right-to-Try Act’ for seriously ill – The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow makers of experimental drugs to make them available to Californians with life-threatening diseases. LA Times articleAP article

Fact check: Senate leader misleads on climate bill oversight — Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León was promoting his new climate bill in a TV interview Monday when he was asked why lawmakers should grant authority to the California Air Resources Board – an unelected body – to decide how to implement provisions of the legislation, including reducing petroleum use in California. Sacramento Bee article 

Joe Mathews: The easy fix for Prop 39 — Let’s chill out at Prop 39. It’s easy to fix. Yes, the AP and other media have reported on how little of the money collected in corporate taxation for green-energy investments has been spent, and how there is little accountability for what has been spent. That’s good to know. But it shouldn’t occasion much outrage, or much concern. The fix is within the measure itself. Mathews in Fox & Hounds 

California kangaroo bill shines light on Australian government — Late-surfacing legislation allowing California to continue importing kangaroo products has illuminated the Australian government’s role in trying to influence California policy. Capitol AlertLA Times articleJohn Myers in KQEDSacramento Bee editorial 

Contractors urge Congress to pass multi-year transportation bill – A national construction trade group urged Bakersfield residents Tuesday to join its social media campaign prodding Congress to pass a multi-year transportation bill it says will bring good-paying jobs to Kern County and improve local roads. Bakersfield Californian article

Indian mascot names stir outrage, pride – The change in Winters is part of a national movement by schools to shed American Indian names, mascots and symbols that are increasingly regarded as racist and anachronistic, such as Indians, Braves, Chiefs and the inflammatory Redskins. Sacramento Bee article

Jeanie Ward-Waller and Chanell Fletcher: Transit is key to both climate change and transportation – Ward-Waller, policy director of the California Bicycle Coalition, and Fletcher, senior California policy manager for the Safe Routes to School Partnership, write, “We are in the midst of a record drought and wildfire season that scientists tell us is one of the effects of climate change. We clearly cannot continue business as usual, yet two deeply intertwined debates are underway in their usual separate silos in the Legislature.” Ward-Waller/Fletcher op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Coalition pushes to soften HIV laws in California – A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality California have joined together in an effort to change certain state laws they say criminalize people living with HIV. KVPR report 

California Democrats seek fundraising pacts with presidential, Senate candidates – Citing a wave of donations to Republicans by corporate special interests and the “super-rich,” California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton is inviting Democratic candidates for president and the state’s U.S. Senate contest to enter into joint fundraising agreements with the party. Sacramento Bee article 

How Carly Fiorino earned a spot on the big stage at the GOP debate – The organizers of the next Republican presidential debate have announced changes to debate criteria that mean former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will join the rest of the top-tier candidates on the main stage at the Reagan Library on Sept. 16. Washington Post articleLA Times article

Clinton, under pressure, returning to Bay Area for fundraising — Hillary Rodham Clinton, under the dual pressures of scrutiny about using her private e-mail served while secretary of state and the potential entry of Vice President Joe Biden into the 2016 presidential race, will return to the Bay Area later this month to shore up support and raise campaign money. San Francisco Chronicle article

Six good reasons why Donald Trump should hit CAGOP convention – Dear Donald Trump: Just two days after the Sept. 16 CNN presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California Republicans will hold their statewide convention in Anaheim — next to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” We think it’s a perfect opportunity for you to meet the California media and make some new friends — especially since most of these Republican presidential candidates only come to this great state when they want to pick up cash. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Farmers: Trump ‘terrible for agriculture’ — Even before real-estate mogul Donald Trump called undocumented immigrants “rapists and murderers” who “have to go,” California contractor Carlos Castañeda was having difficulty hiring enough workers to pick celery and squash. Now Castañeda and others fear Trump’s talk about erecting a “big beautiful wall” at the border and deporting millions could make it nearly impossible to find the guest workers they need — workers who would obtain legal status under most comprehensive reform bills. Politico article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

Deal requires state workers to pay ahead for retiree health care — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has reached a tentative deal with a key employee union that would require state engineers to contribute toward their retirement health care benefits, likely establishing a template that will be applied to other state employee unions to help reduce a growing financial liability. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Merced ranks high in ‘unofficially poor’ elderly, report finds – The report estimates that in Merced County, 35 percent of single elders who are the head of a household and about 25 percent of older couples live in an “economic no-man’s land.” Merced County placed No. 11 on a list of counties with the highest percentage of “unofficially poor” individuals, 65 years and older. Merced Sun-Star article

California to end unlimited isolation for most gang leaders — California agreed Tuesday to end its unlimited isolation of imprisoned gang leaders, restricting a practice that once kept hundreds of inmates in notorious segregation units for a decade or longer. AP articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorialJules Lobel op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Jobs and the Economy

Kern leaders continue to feud over audit – When county supervisors flat-out refuse to receive an audit performed on one of their own departments, you know you’ve got a spat on your hands that’s going to take time to resolve. And that’s exactly what happened Tuesday as Kern County officials continued to wrangle over how to address some financial mistakes made by the Department of Human Services. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno leaders imagine a revitalized Blackstone starting with a bus – It’s one of the most maligned stretches of road in Fresno, Blackstone Avenue. With a reputation for being dangerous, unwelcoming, and rundown. But city leaders say they have a plan to fix it, and it starts with a bus. However, not everyone is convinced the avenue can be improved. KVPR report

Stockton to work on rules governing donation bins – The city agreed Tuesday night with a civil grand jury report that determined private companies collecting donations in unattended bins should be regulated more closely. But Stockton officials say in their official response to the report that they will develop regulations that are appropriate to the city and not necessarily identical to the recommendations of the 2014-15 San Joaquin County civil grand jury. Stockton Record article 

State scientists rally for salary – State scientists wearing gas masks, hard hats and hazmat suits gathered in Sacramento last weekend, looking like they had been assigned to a toxic cleanup. But instead of a chemical spill or a noxious gas release, the scientists were geared up for what they say is another disaster: Their pay. Sacramento Bee article 

USOC names Los Angeles official U.S. bidder for 2024 Summer Olympics — Los Angeles has been chosen as the U.S. candidate to bid for the 2024 Summer Games, capping a tumultuous month in which the city went from Olympic also-ran to serious contender. LA Times articleAP articleNew York Times article 

LA’s revived ’24 Olympic dream now heads to tough international contest – The selection of Los Angeles as the U.S. candidate to bid for the 2024 Summer Games caps a tumultuous month in which the city went from Olympic also-ran to serious contender. Now comes the hard part. LA Times article

San Jose has nation’s strongest job market – by far — Santa Clara County boasts the nation’s strongest job market, and the South Bay region is No. 1 by a wide margin over its closest contenders, a new report out Tuesday from the federal government shows. San Jose Mercury News article

Port of Oakland operating at full speed after labor strife – The Port of Oakland appears to be back up and running at full throttle after a summer of traffic jams and backlogs caused by a labor dispute earlier this year, officials said. San Francisco Chronicle article

Uber loses round in legal battle with drivers – A federal judge Tuesday dealt a blow to Uber’s efforts to neutralize a major legal challenge to its business model, finding that a lawsuit against the growing ride-booking company can proceed as a class action on behalf of most California drivers who have worked for the Bay Area outfit since 2009. San Jose Mercury News articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

U.S. productivity up 3.3 percent in spring, labor costs fall – U.S. productivity in the spring rose at the fastest pace since late 2013, while labor costs declined. AP article

Recast tax break for TV and film lures ‘VEEP,’ other shows to California – In its first months, California’s expanded film and TV production tax credit has prompted producers of four out-of-state TV shows to decamp for the Golden State, according to the state’s film office. Sacramento Bee article 

Haagen accuses Albertsons of sabotaging store takeover, sues for $1 billion – According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Delaware, Haggen said Albertsons started engaging in these competitive efforts after it sold 146 grocery stores to Haggen. Albertsons and Safeway were forced by the Federal Trade Commission to sell the stores as part of a merger. Among the stores are 83 in California, mostly in the south. LA Times article

Bills would ban California employers from asking certain questions – Employers in California would lose the ability to ask job applicants their salary history and job status under separate bills passed by the California Senate Tuesday. Capital Public Radio report

Sacramento gets a ‘D-plus’ in small-business survey, and it’s an improvement – Sacramento earned a “D-plus” grade in an annual survey measuring small-business friendliness among cities nationwide, an improvement from the three previous years, when the city received an “F.” Sacramento Bee article 

Modesto, Modesto Irrigation District put costly legal fight on hold – Modesto and the Modesto Irrigation District have agreed to put on hold their costly legal dispute over which one has to pay $9 million in extra costs for the botched expansion of the Modesto Regional Water Treatment Plant, which is operated by the MID and provides the city with drinking water. Modesto Bee article

Duane Campbell and Seth Sandronsky: Public workers are being scapegoated – Campbell, a CSU professor, and Sandronsky, a Sacramento journalist, write, “Consider the sanctity of debt when large banks and insurers ran short of cash. They got taxpayers to rescue them. Public budgets that run short of funds get no such slack. The solution is to cut, cut and cut away pay and pensions from firefighters, nurses, police and teachers. Campbell/Sandronsky op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) is folding — The Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance is folding. SARTA announced Tuesday that its board of directors voted a day earlier to go out of business after 14 years. Howard Bubb, the group’s chief executive, said SARTA will wind down operations over the next few weeks. Sacramento Bee article


Lois Henry: More oil field water to irrigate Kern crops – Another local agricultural water district will begin taking oilfield produced water to irrigate crops perhaps starting as early as this week (if all goes as planned). Henry in Bakersfield California 

Drought is forcing many beekeepers and their colonies out of California – The lack of rain and snow over the past four years has affected the agriculture industry statewide. That impact includes one of the smallest farmed creatures: the honeybee. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that with a lack of flowers to pollinate because of weather conditions bees are struggling and some beekeepers are even leaving the state. KVPR report

Drought and beetle infestation killing California forests – California’s drought is having a devastating effect on its forests. Aerial surveys around the state show more than 20 million dead trees so far. And the drought has a partner in crime – the pine beetle. Capital Public Radio report

Tulare County raises well-drilling permit fees – With permit requests just about quadrupling in a few years, the county Health and Human Services Agency needed extra help to process them. So in July, the department hired three additional staff members to work in the well permitting division, and the agency plans to hire one more. As for how the county is paying for this extra help, the supervisors took care of that Tuesday by approving unanimously HHSA’s request to raise well permit fees by $95. Visalia Times-Delta article

EPA orders 3 Visalia plants to cut salt in wastewater — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered three manufacturing companies with plants in Visalia to clean up polluted wastewater discharges. The wastewater goes into the city’s sanitary sewer system and eventually flows into Mill Creek, contributing to salt buildup in San Joaquin Valley agricultural lands, the EPA said. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Drought effects in drought reports — Crops reports don’t calculate profit margins for the industry and if you look closely you can already see drought effects in the 2014 reports. AgNetWest report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Peek inside ‘the SHU’: What it’s like for California inmates in solitary confinement – The way thousands of California inmates tell it, there’s prison, and then there’s prison. Locked in windowless cells for as much as 23 hours each day, inmates held in solitary confinement have little to no interaction with their fellow prisoners or guards. Access to mail and medical care is limited, and access to phone calls can be nonexistent. LA Times article

California Department of Justice to unveil website with law enforcement data — The California Department of Justice is unveiling a state-run website to provide data on law enforcement’s interactions with the public. Set to be announced Wednesday by Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office, the database is the culmination of months of work aimed at improving transparency and government accountability after law enforcement interactions with the public sparked a national dialogue on police practices over the last year. AP article 

Merced deputies cracking down on marijuana during harvest – As marijuana harvest season moves into full gear, Merced County deputies are cracking down on illegal outdoor grows and the sheriff is reminding area residents of the dangers often associated with trafficking the crop on the black market. Merced Sun-Star article

New Stockton police officer sworn in – The Stockton Police Department swore in its newest officer on Tuesday, increasing its ranks to 395. With the addition of Gee, Jones said after the ceremony that the department is on track to meet its hiring target of 445 officers by July. Stockton Record article 

Boy, 15, arrested for Instagram threat that closed San Joaquin Memorial High, Fresno police say – San Joaquin Memorial High School was closed Tuesday because of threats made against the school by a student there, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said. In a news conference, Dyer said officers arrested a 15-year-old Fresno boy Monday on charges of making terrorist threats and disrupting school activities. Fresno Bee article 

Former NFL player Lawrence Phillips charged with murder – Former NFL player and college football star Lawrence Phillips has been charged with first-degree murder in the April death of his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison. Bakersfield Californian article

Charges dismissed against Fresno CEO accused of swindling seniors — Felony charges have been dismissed against a chief executive officer of a Fresno estate planning firm and three other defendants accused of swindling senior citizens out of tens of thousands of dollars. Fresno Bee article

LA County settles jail suicide case for $1.6 million — The family of a 23-year-old man who committed suicide in Men’s Central Jail will receive $1.6 million from Los Angeles County to settle a lawsuit alleging that jail officials did not properly diagnose his mental illness. LA Times article


Brown extends California colleges’ reach in sexual assaults – Gov. Jerry Brown has approved legislation allowing California community colleges to suspend or expel students for off-campus sexual assaults. SB186 by Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara extends the disciplinary powers of community colleges to apply to sexual assaults that don’t involve other students and those that happen off campus grounds. AP article

Fresno Bee: Fresno schools chief just doesn’t get it – It is now clear that Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson doesn’t understand the magnitude of recent court rulings about the school district’s use of leaseback construction contracts. Fresno Bee editorial

Bill offers state tax help to former Corinthian students – Californians who had their student loans forgiven after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges this year could get a state income tax break. Senators on Tuesday unanimously approved excluding the forgiven debt from the students’ gross income, allowing them to avoid paying income tax on the debt. AP article

School groups pursue compromise on budget reserves – A year-long battle between a coalition of school organizations and the California Teachers Association over district reserves has taken a new turn. EdSource article

Kerman High invites Tom Hanks to Homecoming; actor replies, ‘Gear up!’ — A social media push to bring Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks to Kerman High School’s homecoming Oct. 4 may have succeeded, as Hanks tweeted a message to the local high school on Monday. At 5:01 p.m., Hanks’ verified Twitter account sent out this message: “Gear up, Kerman High School for Homecoming! I’m working on something for the Festivities! Hanx.” Fresno Bee article

UC Merced Connect: MESA Lab students gaining recognition — Professor YangQuan Chen has many reasons to be proud of his Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation Lab. Besides being extremely popular – so popular the lab has to turn away applicants – the lab now has nine Federal Aviation Administration certificates to fly unmanned aerial vehicles around the Central Valley. But perhaps the best reason is the success of the students, who are being recognized and honored for the work they do in the MESA Lab. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star 

Nan Austin: Modesto retiree Enochs skewers society’s ills in a stab at promoting libraries, literacy – While focusing on all the mind-boggling innovation happening in school technology for the Eye on Education section coming out in September, a decidedly old-school view of being well-educated caught my attention. Consider this an ode to ink and dead trees. Austin in Modesto Bee 

Chowchilla Elementary District beefs up campus security — Before school started last month, parents at Merle L. Fuller Elementary School were sent notification that the kindergarten through second-grade facility has instituted a closed campus. Gates were erected restricting access to certain area as parents drop off and pick up children. Parents also must sign in at the front office and receive a visitor’s pass before entering the school. Los Banos Enterprise article 

Teacher to award-winning educators dies — Jon McDowell was the teacher students expected to be in class one hour before school, one hour after and during lunch. “When he didn’t show up to work yesterday, I heard about it,” said Ken Dyar, a former student of McDowell’s turned 2006 California Teacher of the Year, Tuesday. McDowell, 57, died unexpectedly Monday after planning to cap a 34-year teaching career at Delano High School the end of this school year. Bakersfield Californian article

Island School theft suspect caught — A man suspected of stealing computers and money from a Lemoore school was caught and arrested Tuesday in Fresno. Hanford Sentinel article



PG&E wants to boost revenue by $2.7 billion, pushing up bills — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Tuesday asked state regulators for permission to collect an extra $2.7 billion from its customers over the course of three years, using the money for technology upgrades and improved disaster response. San Francisco Chronicle articleOakland Tribune article

Rough fire team hopes to increase containment, lower staff costs by Friday — Fire managers coordinating the battle against the Rough fire, now the largest active wildfire in California at 77,287 acres, believe they will have a tighter handle on the blaze by Friday, a spokesman said Tuesday. Fresno Bee articleKQED report

Kettleman solar project fires up electricity for Bay Area — From fallow fields of southwestern Kings County, the electricity generated by a new solar project is flowing northward to power the Silicon Valley city of Palo Alto. Fresno Bee article

Final report available for Merced Irrigation District power lines project — The final environmental impact report for Merced Irrigation District’s Merced South Transmission Line is complete and was posted to MID’s website Tuesday. The project will include 13.1 miles of power lines on the outskirts of south Merced, including a substation near Mission Avenue. Merced Sun-Star article

Health/Human Services 

Stanislaus County leaders say mental health spending proposals need more work – Stanislaus County supervisors rejected several proposals Tuesday for spending mental health funding from the state, telling staff to keep working on the programs. Supervisor Jim DeMartini said he was concerned the programs would benefit a small number of people at considerable expense. Modesto Bee article

Amgen and Novartis partnering on a drug that could prevent Alzheimer’s – Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen Inc. is partnering with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis to develop a drug that could slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. LA Times article

Obesity at age 50 may raise risk for earlier Alzheimer’s — One more reason to watch the waistline: New research says people’s weight in middle age may influence not just whether they go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but when. AP article

Berkeley: Health care officials hope more vaccinations stop spread of measles —  Officials in this university city were urging people to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles on Tuesday, a day after a UC Berkeley student was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease. Contra Costa Times article


Land Use/Housing

Sacramento council approves new affordable housing fees — The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday enacted new fees on developers aimed at subsidizing affordable housing projects. Developers will pay $2.58 per square foot of new construction under a new ordinance that revamps the city’s mixed-income housing regulations. Those fees will go into a housing trust fund that city officials said would accumulate $110 million for affordable housing projects over the next 20 years. Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento International Airport signs agreement to allow Uber to serve travelers — Airport officials have reached an agreement with Uber to serve Sacramento International Airport users. The agreement goes into effect at 1 p.m. Tuesday and applies only to Uber drivers. Other ride-sharing companies, such as Lyft and Sidecar, have not signed agreements with airport officials. Sacramento Bee article

Google’s driverless cars run into problem: Cars with drivers — Google, a leader in efforts to create driverless cars, has run into an odd safety conundrum: humans. New York Times article

Other areas

Fresno County supervisors approve new animal control contract — Fresno County supervisors approved a new, three-year animal control contract with an organization that has its roots in pet rescue. Fresno Humane Animal Services will replace California Animal Control, which took over services in June for the previous contractor that filed for bankruptcy at the end of May. The three-year contract, valued at $3.76 million, was unique in that it met the county’s requirements and cost less than the other qualified vendor, California Animal Control. Fresno Bee article 

Kern County appoints new Animal Services director — The Kern County Board of Supervisors has named Nick Cullen as the county’s Animal Services director. Cullen was serving as the department’s interim director and his appointment to the permanent job takes effect immediately. Bakersfield Californian article

Police see rise in bicycle accidents — The death of 16-year-old Nolan Eggert last week is only the latest in a spate of bicycle-related accidents in Kings County. So far this year, the Hanford Police Department has responded to 15 bike-related accidents. This is already higher than the 13 cases they had in 2014. This month alone, there have been four bike-related accidents in the area. Hanford Sentinel article 

Darcy Massey: Suicide prevention a community goal – Massey, with the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, writes, “Suicide is a tragic fact of life in Tulare and Kings counties, as in the entire nation.” Massey op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Outage: Stanislaus County leaders approve emergency repairs for health services complex on Scenic — Emergency repairs have been under way at the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency facilities on Scenic Drive in Modesto after a power outage damaged electrical systems. Modesto Bee article

Former San Joaquin County administrator mistaken for online poster — Former San Joaquin County Administrator Manuel Lopez is concerned residents are confusing him with someone else. Lopez said over the past week, he’s received several calls and emails from friends and colleagues who were disappointed with comments a Manuel Lopez posted online in response to an Aug. 26 Record article regarding Steve Bestolarides’ appointment to the county assessor-recorder-county clerk job. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – It is now clear that Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson doesn’t understand the magnitude of recent court rulings about the school district’s use of leaseback construction contracts.

Modesto Bee – Kristin Olsen has done a good job as the Republican’s leader in the Assembly – for the state, for her district and for her party. Job titles are not as important as results, and she has achieved them. 

Sacramento Bee – California is right to end limitless solitary confinement; If Assemblyman Mike Gipson believes in the economic significance of the kangaroo trade, he should make that case in the regular course of legislative business, and not gut the process like some hapless marsupial with a marketable hide.

Stockton Record – Super Bowl raffle aids local nonprofits.

Upcoming Events

  • Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual State of Our Children event at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 7:30-9:15 a.m.  More information is available here.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will hold its Fresno seminar at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton in Fresno on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  More information:
  • 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.

Maddy Policy Briefs

Looking for unbiased, fact-based information regarding California’s top public policy issues?  Check out our 6-minute Maddy Policy Briefs videos with the State’s top experts at

Major topic categories include:

  • Crime
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Environment
  • Government Finance/Budget/Performance
  • Health Care
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous

Maddy Events

Sunday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “The California Water Equation Made Simple: Demand > Supply” — — Guest: Ellen Hanak (Director– PPIC Water Policy Center & Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California). Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Keeping It Green: Valley Water Issues — Guests: Joe Del Bosque, president of Del Bosque Farms); Sarge Green, program manager at the California Water Institute; and Gary Serrato, general manager of the Fresno Irrigation District. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler. 

Sunday, Sept. 6, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “California Water Equation” – Guest: Josue Medellin Azuara, Senior Researcher at Center for Watershed Studies, UC Davis. 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


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. 

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!

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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