September 21, 2015


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Political Stories

Top stories

California GOP softens on immigration, but will message get drowned out? — The California Republican Party’s adoption of a more moderate plank on immigration Sunday marked a step forward in the party’s long, mostly fruitless effort to draw more Latino voters into its fold. But as Republican activists decamped from their fall convention over the weekend, it was unclear how deeply their new immigration platform would resonate. The presidential race – not a party position statement – plays most prominently for voters, and this year’s contest has dwelled on a frontrunner, Donald Trump, who has called undocumented immigrants rapists and criminals. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

Cathleen Decker: GOP victories in California may be small, but they still count – In hard-fought elections, Republicans have blocked Democrats from holding a supermajority of the Legislature, which would have allowed Democrats to rule at will because the party also controls the governor’s office. The GOP success mattered when Gov. Jerry Brown recently tried to raise taxes, including some that would have helped finance $3.6 billion in repairs to the state’s roads. The plan was quashed when Republicans announced their opposition and remained united — a result not always accomplished in past years. Decker in LA Times

Gov. Brown  

California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign expanded fair pay legislation — Female employees in California are poised to get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps and receive protection from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn. AP article

Statewide tax credits for seismic retrofitting face hurdle on Gov. Brown’s desk — After decades of false starts and stumbling progress, California cities’ efforts to strengthen buildings that could collapse in a massive earthquake may take a leap forward in coming weeks, as Gov. Jerry Brown considers legislation offering generous subsidies to property owners for seismic retrofitting. LA Times article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California Republicans confront long odds in race to fill Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat —  For the three top California Republicans running for U.S. Senate, the poll numbers look bleak. The wallets of political donors are expected to be tough to pry open. And Republican voter registration in the state continues to trend toward inhospitable. LA Times article

State GOP to meet less often – Fulfilling the dream of many a party chairman grown weary of getting beat up twice each year, the California Republican party elected Sunday not to meet so often anymore. Party activists approved reducing the number of state party conventions to two annually in odd-numbered years and one annually in even-numbered years, eliminating its convention closest to the general election. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

George Skelton: State GOP lost an asset when Fiorina left – Too bad for the California Republican Party. A good one got away. But who knows? Fiorina could play out her White House bid and see where it leads. If it’s to a dead end, the California filing deadline for a Senate candidacy is not until March 16. More than half the states will have voted in caucus or primaries by then. And she could reclaim her California residency. Skelton column in LA Times

Swaying California’s skeptical GOP to be Fiorina’s biggest hurdle – Carly Fiorina, the much-praised Iron Lady of the recent GOP presidential debate, is riding a wave of acclamation — but she has some convincing to do among Republicans in her home state who are still smarting from the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive’s crushing defeat in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. San Francisco Chronicle article

Surging to 2nd place, Fiorina tries to seize ‘important moment’ for campaign — Carly Fiorina tried to extend her surge in the polls Sunday, portraying herself in a television interview as a tough negotiator and hard-nosed manager willing to winnow down government inefficiency and bureaucracy. LA Times articleWashington Post article

News Stories

Top Stories

How San Jose, San Diego pension measures have fared – On the same June 2012 Election Day, California’s second- and third-largest cities — chic beachfront San Diego and high-tech hub San Jose — made national headlines when voters overwhelmingly approved sweeping measures to trim municipal retirement benefits whose mounting costs were devouring their budgets. The two cities took very different approaches, and the debate continues over which city has had more success — and whether either could serve as a model for statewide reform. San Jose Mercury News article 

South Valley irrigation districts fixing leaks in drought — It costs millions of dollars to replace old pipes with new plastic ones, so most irrigation districts simply fix leaks as they’re found. But every gallon counts in a drought, so some irrigation districts are contemplating partial system replacement to help reduce leaks. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

Tulare County could approve ‘Cigna Building’ purchase — The Tulare County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve on Tuesday the purchase a two-story office building in west Visalia. Visalia Times-Delta article

New CalPERS dispute over private equity fees — After the CalPERS staff gave the board a correction last week for providing misinformation about private equity fees, the board member who has been grilling staff on the issue walked out of a private staff meeting because he was not allowed to record it. Calpensions article

T-Mobile rolls out new 4G LTE spectrum in Fresno, 9 other communities — T-Mobile is stepping up its game in the Fresno-Visalia area, introducing what the company calls “extended range LTE” 4G broadband service in its effort to gain market share on industry giants AT&T and Verizon. Fresno Bee article 

DoCo? SoBro? Kings new branding of Downtown Commons met with praise, mockery — DoCo – short for Downtown Commons – is the label the Kings’ marketing folks placed on the entertainment district the team is building around their $507 million downtown arena. DoCo will replace the area’s former label, Downtown Plaza, a name synonymous with the image of an empty, dilapidated urban core.Like many things, DoCo was the subject of both praise and mockery on social media after the name was revealed Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article



How low did they go? What California’s reservoirs look like at summer’s end – Tuesday (September 22) is officially last day of summer, and California’s reservoirs at cumulatively just under half capacity. And although most of the state is likely to remain bone dry for some time, prospects are strong  for a wet El Niño season this winter. KQED report 

In Glendale, drought is cast in stone – A spiraling labyrinth has emerged outside Glendale City Hall, creating a contemplative scene for visitors and government employees, but one that also serves as a stark reminder of the drought. LA Times article


Criminal Justice/Prisons 

On Duty with the CHP: Walk Like MADD to combat drunken driving – DUI is avoidable, and is one of the most selfish acts of humankind. You make a choice to drive when under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drugs. What can we do to help the victims and survivors of DUI? On Sept. 26 is the Walk Like MADD event. Let’s get involved in our community and support those who have been affected by DUI. To show your support, all you have to do is walk. On Duty with the CHP column in Fresno Bee



Districts urged to close diversity gap between teachers and students — A new report on teacher diversity is urging urban school districts to put more energy into ensuring that educators reflect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of their students. EdSource article

Joshua Pechthalt: New community college accreditor needed – The president of the California Federation of Teachers writes, “State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris has released his long-awaited Accreditation Task Force report, and the news is not good for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.” Pechthalt op-ed in Sacramento Bee

San Joaquin County YouthBuild program to get $1.1 million grant – Roosevelt Webb lost his way after his father died. He had dropped out of school as a senior at Edison High in Stockton to help take care of his dad and, at age 21 and with no diploma, he said, “I didn’t know what to do.” Another Stocktonian, James Vong, said as a teenager he had no guidance, no father figure, and growing up on the city’s gritty streets, found himself falling into drugs and the gang life. But both have found a new direction through San Joaquin County’s YouthBuild program, an alternative educational program that emphasizes building-trades skills as well as academic school standards. Stockton Record article

Monday Q&A: New dean talks about Modesto Junior College ag program – Don Borges is the new ag dean at Modesto Junior College, which has turned out many of the people working in farming and related fields in the region. Borges reflected on the MJC program a few weeks into his first semester as dean. Modesto Bee article

Modesto professor part of team picked to probe Rising Star find in South Africa — Untold millenia ago, primates that walked upright and had larger brains than chimps lived in a community and buried their dead. Cave explorers in South Africa found the hidden burial chamber in 2013, opening the door for a worldwide effort to piece together the extinct primates’ place in human evolution. As experts gathered from around the globe, they called in a specialist in juvenile primates, a professor at Modesto Junior College. Modesto Bee article



Push to change Clean Air Act – The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is proposing to tweak the Nixon-era law, which hasn’t been updated since 1990. The district says the Clean Air Act has contributed to “significant improvements” in air quality but is now proving burdensome for regions that are struggling to comply, including the Valley, which could ultimately face costly sanctions. Stockton Record article 

Northern California wildfires destroy nearly 1,600 homes – California fire officials said a wildfire north of San Francisco destroyed another 162 homes, raising the number of homes destroyed to 1,050 and making it the fourth worst wildfire in the state’s history. AP article 

Two wildfires climb rank of state’s worst – The Valley fire that has been scorching Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties now ranks as the third worst in California history based on total structures burned. Sacramento Bee article

Disaster camp Napa style: Hell’s angels and dog groomers — The Red Cross knows how to run a disaster shelter. Napa Valley knows how to do it with panache. The evacuation center that evolved over a week at the Calistoga Fairgrounds for those sheltering from the Valley fire was like nothing that seasoned disaster workers had ever seen.  LA Times article


New RTD transportation center to open in Stockton — The regional transportation center consists of a 91,000-square-foot maintenance building; an 18,620-square-foot fuel, brake and tire building; a 36,000-square-foot operations building; and an 8,373-square-foot wash building. Stockton Record article

Uber drivers having a ‘field’ day at Sacramento airport — Earlier this month, Sacramento International Airport officials signed an agreement with Uber, the smartphone app-based transportation company, to allow its drivers to pick up passengers at the airport. But there is a catch: To avoid congestion and jostling at the terminals, Uber drivers are not allowed to wait on the airport grounds to pick up a ride. They can only enter airport property when they get a ping on their cellphone telling them a flier is requesting a ride. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

NEA Chair Jane Chu celebrates Fresno’s art community – Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, wants people in every corner of the country to know that art isn’t meant to be elitist. “That’s what we want to dispel,” she said. “What we really are here to do is celebrate art and how it belongs to all of us.” Fresno Bee article

Romain Playground structure burns in southeast Fresno – Romain Playground in southeast Fresno burned Sunday, sending a giant plume of black smoke into the air and leaving children wondering where they’ll hang out now. Fresno Bee article 

Ceiling collapse briefly traps Bakersfield firefighter – A Bakersfield city firefighter was trapped for a short time beneath a ceiling collapse as he fought a difficult residential fire in east Bakersfield early Sunday morning. The firefighter, whose name was not released, escaped with minor injuries after fellow firefighters were able to quickly extricate him from the debris, said Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Danny Brown. Bakersfield Californian article

Hundreds come out for Day for Kids in Merced – A community frequently criticized for lacking youth activities came together over the weekend for a free event packed with carnival-style games, art projects, food and even some free haircuts. Merced Sun-Star article 

Sacramento’s ‘hometown heroes’ learn to navigate global fame — Before they became global celebrities, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler were three young men intensely focused in the moment. Today the world knows how the three buddies from Sacramento reacted after a man with an AK-47, a pistol, a box cutter and multiple ammunition clips set upon that Amsterdam-to-Paris train Aug 21. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Follow the tobacco money on the 2016 campaign trail.

Maddy Events

Sunday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Medi-Cal Providers: Is the Doctor In?” – Guest: California State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Medi-Cal Programs in the Valley: Too Many Patients, Too Few Doctors?” — Guests: David Pomaville, director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health; Oralia Gomez, Fresno County program manager for Medi-Cal; Pam Holiwell, assistant director of the Kern County Department of Human Services; Robyn Gonzales, associate administrator for Community Medical Centers; and Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista. 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 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

Please visit if you want to view the Maddy Daily with our comprehensive list of links to all federal, state and local government, public affairs institutes/regional entities, Valley media and public policy blogs. (Please note new website address.)

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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