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California Republicans softening platform on immigration — In its latest attempt to heal political divisions with Latinos, the California Republican Party is moving to alter its platform on immigration and social issues, a rebranding maneuver some activists believe better reflects new norms and rapidly changing demographics. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article
State’s June primary could be critical to GOP presidential race – California Republicans, marginalized at home by the dominant Democrats and for years overlooked and ignored by their own presidential candidates in favor of early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, are holding out hope that the raucous, crowded 2016 race will finally give them what they’ve long lacked — clout. San Francisco Chronicle article
Jeff Jardine: Political candidates: Be careful what you wish for, and bring a towel — Last weekend, county Supervisor Vito Chiesa convinced lawmakers in Sacramento to quit sticking it to Stanislaus County by ending the so-called negative bailout that cost the county about $72 million in tax revenues over the past 35 years. His moment of glory, indeed. This weekend, that same mover and shaker subjected himself to the public humiliation that also comes with the life of an elected official. Jardine column in Modesto Bee
Statewide politics/Ballot Measures
California Republican candidates for U.S. Senate tout unity at party convention — The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate walked the halls at the state party’s semi-annual convention in Anaheim on Friday, floating essentially the same message to supporters and reporters: It is time to unite the party, and I’m the guy to do it. LA Times article
Message at the California tea party: Find attractive college students to spread word — Public relations can be difficult for the tea party in this heavily Democratic state, so at the California Republican Party’s fall convention Saturday, activists gathered for a tutorial. Problem: A man working a GOP booth at the state fair can’t get anyone to come over. Solution: “You bring in some 25- and 30-year-old good looking college students, men and women, and watch how fast you get young people to stop by the booth,” producer Michael Emerson told the crowd. Sacramento Bee article
Paul Mitchell: ‘Mod Dems’ becoming a powerful force – The vice president of Political Data Inc. writes, “For the business community, organized labor, environmentalists, education groups and any major interest with business before the Legislature, 2016 is the last election cycle in which they could create any significant change in the composition of the lower house. If the Mod Dems can hold or grow their bloc of votes, then the dynamic we saw this year would solidify into a permanent structure for several years to come.” Mitchell op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Immigration detainers often issued by California center — Sitting in a narrow strip of gray cubicles in a suburban California office, immigration agents and analysts quickly scroll through computer databases to try to determine which inmates sitting in jails across the country should be deported. It looks more like a corporate office than a criminal crackdown, but the 85-person center is a key part of the federal government’s efforts to identify and deport immigrants convicted of serious crimes. AP article
Sacramento Bee: Some marijuana regulation, finally – In the coming days, Gov. Jerry Brown almost certainly will sign a package of three bills that seeks to bring some semblance of order to the wild medical marijuana industry. Brown, whose aides helped craft the bills, should sign the bills into law. Some regulation will be better than none. Sacramento Bee editorial
California Republican voters’ support for Bush and Trump wavers after debate — The second Republican presidential debate Wednesday offered Bush a chance to start gaining voter support to match his overwhelming lead in raising money. But detailed interviews with a dozen California Republicans who watched the CNN debate suggest that Bush made no progress. Those voters, who participated in a recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, confirmed a widely expected spike in support for Carly Fiorina after a forceful performance by the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive. LA Times article
Marcos Breton: Dying isn’t the right to fight for – care is – Sometimes you find yourself supporting a lost cause and fighting against friends from the wrong side of public opinion. That’s me on the issue of assisted suicide in California, which is a pen stroke away from being signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown after being approved by both houses of the state Legislature. Breton column in Sacramento Bee
Dr. Ashok Daftary: Assisted suicide: Too much curing, not enough caring? – The teacher in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at University of the Pacific writes, “The End of Life Option Act now awaits our governor’s signature. Though I may be personally opposed to it, I am not surprised by its easy passage. It represents my failure and the failure of my profession to adequately address end of life issues with our patients.” Daftary op-ed in Stockton Record
Lou Matz: Assisted suicide: An open letter to a Catholic bishop – The professor of philosophy at University of the Pacific writes, “Society’s obligation to protect life is not diminished when it allows competent individuals the means to end life under certain circumstances. In fact, if religion is the realm of the spiritual, of what makes life meaningful, the Church should honor an individual’s sense of their dignity and autonomy and support ABX2-15.” Matz op-ed in Stockton Record
Fiorina won debate, but Trump still leads GOP race, polls find – Carly Fiorina won the Republican debate Wednesday, but remains significantly behind Donald Trump in the race for the party’s presidential nomination, according to two new surveys released Sunday. LA Times article
Carly Fiorina gets rock-star treatment at GOP events on Mackinac Island — These days, it’s hard for Fiorina to just stop by anywhere. Fresh off awidely praised performance in the second Republican presidential debate, Fiorina received a rock-star welcome to this upscale island teeming with Republican activists attending a weekend conference. On the campaign trail, Fiorina has captured the attention that candidates crave but that can come back to bite them. Washington Post article
Fiorina aims to foil attacks on her record as CEO — The moves are part of an extensive effort by Mrs. Fiorina and her supporters to redefine her rocky business reputation and fend off attacks on her as an unfit and heartless executive. Such accusations helped doom her 2010 Senate campaign in California. Democrats called her “Carly Fail-orina” and the incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer depicted her as the face of corporate greed. New York Times article
Next drought nightmare: The fire that wouldn’t die – Firefighting commander Rocky Opliger can dial directly into the Rough fire on his iPhone 6s to track his location via satellite as he walks the perimeter for a detailed look. He can stream live video feeds from helicopters and aircraft – in 3-D. From any angle, this monster wildfire east of Fresno is a zombie. Opliger, a highly experienced incident commander, and other leaders who preceded him here, say the Rough fire has repeatedly come back from the dead. Fresno Bee article
Michael Fitzgerald: Parsing the ‘9-against-1’ video arrest – The city of Stockton, which could give a TED talk on maximizing bad publicity, made international news last week when a video of a police arrest went viral. The video, taken by a bystander, shows nine Stockton Police officers playing various roles in the arrest of a 16-year-old black kid for allegedly blocking a bus lane. They added a charge of trespassing. Right or wrong, the incident is the epitome of bad optics. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record
Jobs and the Economy
George Hostetter: Fresno mayor takes new approach to boosting Blackstone Avenue – Mayor Ashley Swearengin is taking a new path to revive Blackstone Avenue, once seen as Fresno’s “Boulevard of Dreams.” The result may go a long way toward defining the final 15 months of an administration with great faith in the power of planning. Hostetter in Fresno Bee
Modesto meeting on homelessness, city parks – Modesto officials are inviting the public to a Wednesday meeting to talk about the homeless and city parks as the city receives more complaints about the homeless who camp in parks as well as use drugs and engage in other bad behavior. Modesto Bee article
Oakland dumping coliseum development: What’s next for Raiders — Oakland officials are expected to pull the plug next week on the ambitious Coliseum City development plan that was intended to lay the groundwork for new stadiums for both the Raiders and A’s. San Francisco Chronicle article
After 28 years, Snead’s for Men will close in mid-October – Snead’s for Men, a Bakersfield haberdasher of long renown, is closing its doors. National chains, changing fashion trends and the cost of specialty orders — long a Snead’s specialty — have made it difficult for the store to survive, owner Mark Price said. So, after 28 years in business, he is shuttering the family-owned institution sometime in mid-October. Bakersfield Californian article
Another new job brings new hope for the Miller family – She’s 77 days sober and he started his 10th day of work today at 6:30 a.m. Having narrowly skirted disaster, Duane Miller, his fiancee, Heather Stowell, and their five — soon-to-be six — children are starting over. Again. The Californian has written about the east Bakersfield clan several times because their ongoing battles to keep a roof over their seven heads — eight with mother-in-law Virginia Stowell, nine with the dog, Mocha — are emblematic of so many people’s battles today. Bakersfield Californian article
Jay Leno shows continue Gallo Center’s winning streak – The Gallo Center keeps putting its best foot forward – or, more accurately, given its season opener, its best chin. After a record-breaking season that saw the downtown Modesto performing arts center do its best ticket sales yet, the venue is poised for an ever more impressive turnout with its new slate. And, if the two sold-out shows by the gala season opener Jay Leno this weekend are any indication, it is well on its way. Modesto Bee article
Steve Lopez: After driving for Uber, he’s keeping his day job — Money-wise, I didn’t strike gold. My 12 fares ranged from $4 to $44, and the take for nine hours of work was $153.30. Not bad, but Uber’s cut was $30.66, which left me with $122.64. That works out to $13.63 an hour, but let’s not forget the cost of gas, which comes out of my pocket. Lopez column in LA Times
Q&A: Cal Water addresses criticism of its water bill surcharge – People are boiling mad about a surcharge California Water Service Co. imposes on customers who exceed their monthly water allotment, or “budget.” Bakersfield Californian article
New raisin grape holds promise for central San Joaquin Valley growers — A new raisin grape variety that has taken more than a decade to develop has the potential to change the industry in the central San Joaquin Valley. Created by David Ramming, a famed U.S. Department of Agriculture plant breeder, the Sunpreme is like no other raisin grape available. Fresno Bee article
Even if prison time is over, it’s a life sentence for many – Sixty-seven percent of formerly incarcerated people were unemployed or underemployed five years after their release, according to a report by Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together and Research Action Design. The report, titled “Who pays? The True Costs of Incarceration on Families,” was released this week after the completion of a 14-state research project in which Fathers and Families of San Joaquin collaborated. Stockton Record article
Modesto Bee: Justice delayed is justice denied; our courts must be fixed – California’s constitution guarantees victims a speedy trial, not just defendants. We’re not suggesting railroading defendants or ignoring their rights; we are suggesting that our courts find a speedier path to justice. Modesto Bee editorial
Mental health treatment for Bay Area incarcerated lacking, officials say – Michael Tyree didn’t have to be in the Santa Clara County Main Jail. The 37-year-old, who battled bipolar disorder much of his life, was supposed to be on the jail’s sixth floor only long enough for a bed to open up at a psychiatric facility. Contra Costa Times article
Police shooting from helicopters – rare but not unheard of — Police are justified in shooting suspects from helicopters — as happened Friday during the pursuit of a wrong-way vehicle on the 215 Freeway in San Bernardino County — only in the most desperate situations and when other tactics might be more dangerous, experts said. LA Times article
Man injured in officer-involved shooting in Fresno – A 47-year-old man is in stable condition after a confrontation led a Fresno police officer to shoot at him three times, striking him in the shoulder, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said Saturday evening. Fresno Bee article
Video captures Sacramento County deputy beating prone suspect with flashlight — He also has been accused in court of using excessive force at least three times since 2009, each time over his use of a flashlight as a weapon, and captured on video in two separate incidents beating a suspect with a long, metal flashlight. Sacramento Bee article
Defense attorney seeks dismissal in Korey Kauffman murder case — An attorney claiming “outrageous government misconduct” is asking a judge to dismiss the charges against her client, who is among nine people charged in the murder of Korey Kauffman. Modesto Bee article
Car thefts surging in San Francisco — The Bay Area had the nation’s highest rate of car theft last year — and the problem is getting worse in San Francisco, statistics show. San Francisco Chronicle article
Fresno State receives award for diversity — Fresno State received the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED Award, from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Fresno Bee article
New Golden Valley school board reappoints superintendent ousted by recalled trustees — Golden Valley Unified School District’s new board of trustees voted to return Andy Alvarado to the superintendent’s seat at its meeting Tuesday, ending a chaotic and costly chapter in the district’s short history. Fresno Bee article
New bond considered for project San Joaquin Delta College wish list — Seven years ago, when San Joaquin Delta College came under intense scrutiny for mishandling a $250 million voter-approved bond, critics warned that Delta would never again be able to pass a bond measure in this community. That statement may be tested. Stockton Record article
Destruction from California wildfires now tops 1,000 homes – It has been several days since two huge wildfires in Northern California peaked in their ferocity, yet the damage they did is still being revealed daily. The tally of homes destroyed topped 1,000 on Saturday after authorities assessing damage in the Sierra Nevada foothills counted another 250 houses destroyed by flames still threatening thousands of more structures. AP article
How the Valley fire exploded into one of the worst in California history – Here in the Mayacamas Mountains that hover above Clear Lake, 100 miles north of San Francisco, California’s drought has been going on for seven years. Pine beetles have attacked the stressed gray pines, leaving dead timber standing. A century of fire suppression has built up thick undergrowth. Meanwhile, city dwellers’ desire for a rustic cottage in the woods — often tucked away on a twisting road with only one way out — has added to the danger. LA Times article
Valley Fire 50 percent contained; some evacuations lifted – Firefighters increased containment on the Valley Fire to 50 percent Saturday as they battled the blaze that has charred more than 74,000 acres in Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties, killed three people and destroyed hundreds of homes, officials said. San Francisco Chronicle article
Home amid devastation: Residents displaced by Valley fire return to Middletown – By noon Saturday, hundreds of people from the 1,300-person community of Middletown, on the southwestern edge of the Valley Fire, were gathered in line at the Napa County Fairgrounds. They were waiting for passes being distributed by a cadre of sheriff’s deputies. One week after one of the most devastating fires in California’s history swept through their little town, they were waiting to go home. KQED report
Siskiyou County town offers lessons, hope a year after major fire — Life may seem bleak for thousands of Lake County residents driven from their homes by the deadly inferno known as the Valley Fire, but there’s a place in the far northern part of California where people have turned similar heartache into hope. San Francisco Chronicle article
Public Eye: Does water district’s dam blocking salmon violate state law? – Gary Flanagan is a retired sheriff’s deputy, so he knows all too well what’s supposed to happen when someone breaks the law. This spring, state fisheries officials sent a letter to the Nevada Irrigation District alleging it was in violation of two sections of the state’s Fish and Game Code over a small dam near Lincoln that blocks fall-run Chinook salmon as they migrate up Auburn Ravine Creek. Sacramento Bee article
Walmart test truck aims to slash fuel consumption of big rigs – If Bruce Wayne ever had to vacate the Batcave, he might insist on moving his Batgear with an arrow sleek microturbine big rig with a carbon-fiber cargo trailer, an electronic dashboard of three computer tablets and tires wider than any race car. This is WAVE, the Wal-Mart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck, a collaboration of 22 international companies. It’s also a rolling stock test case for technologies that could revolutionize the way freight is hauled on roads. LA Times article
PUC to gather in Fresno for forum on new electric rate system – Representatives of the California Public Utilities Commission will visit Fresno next week for a public forum to discuss a pair of new electric rate systems intended to simplify power bills across the state. Fresno Bee article
Dan Morain: Imagine electric utilities as disrupters — The oil industry won its battle against de León and his legislation. Who would think of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E as upstarts and disrupters. But if SB 350 works as envisioned, the oil industry will face a new challenge, maybe even an existential one. Let the competition begin. Morain in Sacramento Bee
Lewis Griswold: Visalia school district reaps savings from solar panels — Visalia Unified installed solar panels at 12 campuses to produce electricity and save money – and it’s paying off so well that more schools are getting them. In 2014-15, the district saved $506,188 in energy costs – $6,188 more than forecast – and the solar arrays generated a rebate of $446,119, the district said. Total savings: $952,307. Griswold in Fresno Bee
Dawn Golik: Wishing it had been 48th summer at Hume Lake this year – The Fresno resident writes, “I worried as flakes of ash fell from the sky like a hot summer blizzard. I worried as plumes of smoke appeared in the east, spread across the horizon and blocked out the sun. I worried as red-bellied air tankers landed at the airport, refilled, then flew east again. Like so many others in the Valley and beyond, I watched and worried as the Rough fire threatened Hume Lake, retreated and roared back again.” Golik op-ed in Fresno Bee
Death of a patient: State blames nursing home — Today, 24 years after the devastating blaze, California’s attorney general is holding others criminally responsible for what ultimately happened to James Populus, who died last year at age 58 after allegedly receiving “grossly negligent” care at a controversial skilled nursing facility operated by the state’s largest nursing home owner: Shlomo Rechnitz of Los Angeles. Sacramento Bee article
Davis Mas Masumoto: The arts, the inner vision, the Valley and our precious heritage – In many ways, 50 years ago at the founding of the NEA, a door was opened into the creative economy and innovative cultural communities to come. Art stimulates, engages and makes us whole. Masumoto column in Sacramento Bee
Friends, family remember Charlie Waters as fierce fighter for justice — About 200 people packed Peoples Church in northeast Fresno on Saturday to remember Charlie Waters, who dedicated his life first to serving his country through military service, then to improving the quality of life for his fellow veterans. Fresno Bee article
Tim Crews: Public records show how government really works – The editor and publisher of The Sacramento Valley Mirror in Willows writes, “The California Public Records Act is a marvelous tool. It should be employed more and with more gusto. Keep in mind that how public money gets spent is a matter of public record. We are the public, and we have the right to know.” Crews op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Embryo battles are likely to get a precedent in San Francisco couple’s case – Dr. Mimi C. Lee and Stephen E. Findley had not been married long when he began to have doubts about the relationship. Now divorced, he is fighting to prevent her from having a child with their frozen embryos, made after Lee was diagnosed with cancer. The case, to be decided in the next several weeks, is likely to lead to the first legal rules in California for resolving embryo disputes. LA Times article
Mike Klocke: Random thoughts – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning, including a look at courthouses old and new and continuing downtown Stockton efforts. Klocke column in Stockton Record
Valley Editorial Roundup
Modesto Bee – California’s constitution guarantees victims a speedy trial, not just defendants. We’re not suggesting railroading defendants or ignoring their rights; we are suggesting that our courts find a speedier path to justice.
Sacramento Bee – In the coming days, Gov. Jerry Brown almost certainly will sign a package of three bills that seeks to bring some semblance of order to the wild medical marijuana industry. Brown, whose aides helped craft the bills, should sign the bills into law. Some regulation will be better than none.
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. 27, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Medi-Cal Providers” – Guest: Margarita Fernandez, chief of public affairs in the Office of the California State Auditor. Host: Maddy Institute Deputy Director Ana Melendez.
The Maddy Report airs throughout California on The Cal Channel. Check http://www.calchannel.com to find the Cal Channel and schedule in your area. You also can view previous Maddy Report programs in their entirety at http://www.maddyinstitute.org/policy-analysis/the-maddy-report-tv.
- 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: www.CAFWD.org.
- 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 www.federalbudgetchallenge.org.
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. http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/
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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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