September 23, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Jerry Brown signs post-redevelopment bill – Four years after approving legislation that ended the anti-blight redevelopment program in California, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill giving local agencies a way to pay for similar projects. Assembly Bill 2, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, authorizes local governments in economically depressed areas to use certain tax revenue for public works and affordable housing improvements and to help businesses. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

What’s left of California’s climate change policy? A lot — The Legislature may have scuttled the centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change plans, but it still approved ambitious new environmental policies that will impact the economy and life of Californians. In coming years, the new legislation means California’s homes and buildings are expected to use dramatically less electricity and the power grid will increase its share of renewable energy. Brown also hopes to achieve much of what the Legislature rejected through executive orders and regulations. That will mean more electric cars on the road and increased use of biofuels, as part of a far-reaching effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions. CALmatters article

Gov. Brown 

Joe Mathews: Has Brown done lasting damage to initiative process? — If you have a good idea in California, Jerry Brown has made life harder for you to get attention for it. Before Jerry Brown became governor of California again in 2011, voters could consider ballot initiatives at any statewide election; this spread out measures and gave each initiative more of a chance to make its case. And, before Jerry Brown became governor again, Californians could file any idea they had for an initiative with the state for $200. Now, Californians no longer have either of these powers. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Valley politics 

Valley Edition On Politics: John Ellis on political hopefuls — It’s a little over one year from election day and that means potential candidates for offices from city council to Congress are sizing up their opponents, donors and political prospects. Which Democrats will seek to challenge Republican Congressman David Valadao? Will Henry Perea leave the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to run for mayor against H. Spees and Lee Brand? And what about Henry T. Perea’s campaign warchest? John Ellis of the Fresno Bee joined us on Valley Edition to talk politics as the 2016 election season begins to heat up. KVPR report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Loren Kaye: Deceptive initiative would harm local projects – The president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education writes, “Do Stockton voters want to empower Los Angeles voters to prevent local infrastructure projects in San Joaquin County? If not, get ready to carefully scrutinize a potential 2016 statewide ballot measure that would do just that.” Kaye op-ed in Stockton Record


Asian influx drives surge in U.S. immigrant population – After almost a decade of languishing growth, the nation’s immigrant population increased by more than 1 million last year amid stronger job creation in the U.S. and slowing economic activity in other parts of the world. LA Times article

LA County sheriff will only transfer inmates to feds if they qualify under state law — Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Tuesday he will only transfer county inmates to federal immigration agents for potential deportation who qualify under state law, according to a memo sent to the Board of Supervisors. LA Daily News article 

Contra Costa restores health care for undocumented adults — The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to restore primary health care services to undocumented adults living in the county. The services had been cut in 2009 during the economic downturn. The county had never ceased covering undocumented children. KQED report

Other areas

MacGlashan announces she won’t return to Sacramento County board –Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan will not run for re-election next year after serving more than a decade, she announced Tuesday morning. Sacramento Bee article

Susan Disney Lord: Bill would boost early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s – The granddaughter of Roy O. Disney and member of the board of directors of the California Southland chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association writes, “Sen. Ben Allen introduced Senate Bill 613 to adopt physician guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease management – and to help the 590,000 Californians living with the disease today. There is no cure or even treatment available for Alzheimer’s, so the only intervention we have to offer patients and their families is effective chronic disease management.” Disney Lord op-ed in Sacramento Bee

White House starts shutdown ball rolling – The Obama administration has started formal preparations for a partial government shutdown next week, holding a conference call with senior agency officials and releasing a statement saying that “prudent management” requires that agencies get ready for a possible funding lapse. Washington Post article


News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: California has skirmishes all around in school war – The epic war between California’s education establishment and a loose coalition of school reform and civil rights groups rages on many fronts. Combatants clash in the Legislature, in the state Board of Education, in local school board meetings, in school district, legislative and statewide elections, and, ultimately, in the courts. One of their many specific issues is whether charter schools, despised by school unions and their political allies, should play a larger role in attacking the state’s persistent “achievement gap.” Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown signs bill that ends ‘negative bailout’ nightmare for Stanislaus County – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that eliminates a tax revenue inequity that has plagued Stanislaus County for about 35 years. The senate bill contains an item that ends the so-called “negative bailout”, which has required Stanislaus to give up $72 million in revenue since about 1980. Modesto Bee article 

Fresno County supervisors eliminate controversial fees for development – Fresno County supervisors, who have wrestled over the past three years with charging fees for new development to partially pay for new county facilities, decided Tuesday to eliminate the controversial fees – the second such vote in as many years. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

California governments collected $412 billion in 2012 – California’s state and local governments collected nearly $412 billion in taxes, fees, interest, federal grants and other payments in 2012 and spent nearly $449 billion, according to a new Census Bureau report. Sacramento Bee article 

Audit finds problems with Turlock Chamber’s accounting of city money spent to attract tourists — Turlock City Council members will hold a special meeting Thursday to go over an outside audit of spending of city funds to promote tourism by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce. The city-hired accountants added up $340,820 in charges since 2009 without proper documentation or for expenses they felt did not comply with the Turlock Convention & Visitors Bureau contract. Modesto Bee article

John Niemi: ‘Blown away’ by downtown Stockton development and potential – The Stockton resident writes, “Being a 40-plus-year teacher for Stockton Unified School District, I have chosen to teach at various schools and in various locations in Stockton. But I was blown away this past July when I was invited to come downtown by Megan Cort, the wife of Zac Cort, one of our newly relocated-to-Stockton visionaries.” Niemi op-ed in Stockton Record 

Healthcare costs rise again, and the burden continues to shift to workers – American workers saw their out-of-pocket medical costs jump again this year, as the average deductible for an employer-provided health plan surged nearly 9% in 2015 to more than $1,000, a major new survey of employers shows. LA Times article

Tulare County Fair closes with record numbers – Attendance at the 2015 Tulare County Fair jumped from a year earlier, and the junior livestock and dairy replacement auctions hit a new record of over $1 million, the fair said Tuesday. Attendance was 117,679, up 12.2%, and the carnival was up 5.3% to an all-time high in revenue. Food and beverage sales were up 22%. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Sacramento Bee: What VW should pay here for its emissions fraud – Volkswagen’s admission that it cheated on U.S. emissions tests for nearly 500,000 diesel VWs and Audis should infuriate every American who draws breath. But in California, it’s a special blow.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Livingston food company accused of illegally firing disabled workers – Global food products company Sensient Natural Ingredients allegedly terminated employees at its Livingston plant in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. Merced Sun-Star article

Fresno restaurant-bar Swiggs to close Saturday – Fresno bar and restaurant Swiggs is closing Saturday. The business at 1440 E. Shaw Ave. informed customers on its Facebook account and sent out a news release to media with the headline: “Family owned business celebrates 5 year anniversary by shutting its doors.” Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

LA city workers throw their support behind proposed contract – Members of a coalition of unions that represent more than 20,000 Los Angeles city employees announced Tuesday that they had overwhelmingly voted to back a proposed contract with the city. LA Times article

How LA’s homeless crisis got so bad – So how did L.A.’s homeless problem get so bad? That’s a question many are asking as Los Angeles elected leaders on Tuesday said they would declare a “state of emergency” on the growing homelessness problem and commit $100 million toward housing and other services for homeless people. Here are some answers from The Times’ archives. LA Times article 

Jon Ortiz: Joy Behar flap a lesson in state workers’ frustration — Two talk show hosts mocking a Miss America contestant became the snark heard round the world last week. Nurses got mad. Advertisers yanked ads. Eventually “The View” co-hosts Joy Behar and Michelle Collins apologized. The backlash revealed what happens when you pick a professional scab borne by thousands of people who believe their work is absolutely vital – and absolutely unappreciated. In that way, the nurses have a lot in common with California state employees. Ortiz in Sacramento Bee

Tulare supervisors approve ‘Cigna Building’ purchase – Next week, the five members of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors will get their first look at the county’s newest building. At least the “Cigna Building” in west Visalia will become the county’s building once escrow is completed in late November. On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved the purchase for $16.97 million. Visalia Times-Delta article

Merced chamber names new head – A 27-year-old Merced native has been tapped to lead the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, a once-thriving organization that fell into decline as the local economy slumped during the recession and housing bust. Merced Sun-Star article

State investigating Richmond’s financial practices, reporting – The state Controller’s Office, saying some of Richmond’s financial reports just don’t add up, is investigating that city’s financial practices and reporting. But city officials say it’s the Controller’s Office that’s making mistakes. San Francisco Chronicle article

Controversial DWP nonprofits to keep controversial $11-million rainy day fund — Two controversial Department of Water and Power nonprofit trusts have decided to keep more than $11 million as a “rainy day” fund, despite a city auditor’s recommendation that they spend the cash before receiving any more ratepayer money. LA Times article 

Tomato garden tax break? Backers say it would pay off in better health — Los Angeles County officials want to give tax breaks to property owners who turn vacant lots into community gardens, a bid to reduce urban blight and give more people access to fresh produce. LA Times article 

Roger Goodell, six owners taking more prominent role in NFL’s potential return to LA — The Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, comprising six owners, along with Commissioner Roger Goodell, will take a more prominent role in the proceedings in the next few weeks. This has not happened since the Raiders and Rams left the L.A. market 20 years ago. LA Times article



Lois Henry: A 1,000-year drought? Study brings scary past into focus — If you think the drought is scary now, you would not have wanted to be around these parts 7,200 years ago. That’s when a 1,000-year drought so severe it dried up Tulare Lake got started, according to a new study by Cal State Bakersfield masters student Ashleigh Blunt and geology professor Rob Negrini. Bakersfield Californian article

Dairy co-ops seek more milk money at Clovis hearing – Dairy farmers, milk processors and agriculture officials gathered in Clovis Tuesday for an administrative hearing that could give California dairy operators a boost in milk prices and revenue. Fresno Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: Uncle Sam sells out the Delta – It is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s misfortune to be locked in perpetual conflict with the nation’s largest and most powerful water district: The Westlands. The Westlands is to the Delta what King Leopold II was to the Congo, a ruthlessly self-enriching exporter of others’ resources. The Westlands doesn’t have enough water to irrigate its farms so it perennially uses political and legal muscle to take it from the Delta. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Kern supervisors vote to formally oppose Cal Water’s controversial rate increase proposal grill – Kern County supervisors voted Tuesday to formally oppose California Water Service Co.’s controversial rate increase proposal, saying it’s unfair to customers and hasn’t been justified. Bakersfield Californian article 

California seeks to build one of world’s largest recycled water programs — The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is in talks with Los Angeles County sanitation districts about developing what could be one of the largest recycled water programs in the world. LA Times article

Residents seeing results of Merced County water distribution program – More than 20 households whose private wells have dried up are receiving water deliveries through Merced County’s Emergency Water Distribution Program, officials reported. Merced Sun-Star article

South San Joaquin Irrigation District raises water rates for higher-volume farmers — A board vote Tuesday raised water rates for higher-volume users in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. The change, which will affect about a third of the district’s farmers, still leaves them with one of the cheapest sources in the San Joaquin Valley. Modesto Bee article 

Stockton settles south Valley lawsuit — The settlement is the final chapter of a lawsuit filed six years ago by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, a group of Kern County landowners whose mission is to secure a more reliable supply of water pumped from the Delta to hundreds of thousands of acres of sprawling farmland. Stockton Record article

Roseville faces once-a-week water restriction — Roseville residents’ one-month reprieve from once-a-month outdoor watering restrictions is about to end. The city announced this week that residents will be limited to once-a-week watering effective Oct. 5. Sacramento Bee article

The grape strike at 50: Colleges honor anniversary – It’s been 50 years since Filipino and Mexican-American farm workers in Delano came together to fight for change. Paid below minimum wage for their work for grape farmers, the workers set down their grapes and walked away. The United Farm Workers’ five-year strike and international grape boycotts eventually resulted in a living wage, the entire episode inextricably tied to Kern County. For the milestone anniversary, several groups will hold observances this weekend at Cal State Bakersfield and Bakersfield College, as well as in Delano. Bakersfield Californian article

In a fight to remain relevant, fig growers help fresh figs revive the industry — Just a few decades ago Fresno used to be the center of the American Fig Industry, with orchards stretching for thousands of acres. Now most of the trees planted by J.C. Forkner almost 100 years ago are gone and are replaced by homes and shopping centers. Likewise California’s fig industry has undergone some big changes, but after years of struggles some growers hope that new food trends might provide a turnaround.  KVPR report

Musical chairs gives Modesto Irrigation District a new leader — Modesto Irrigation District General Manager Roger VanHoy, a below-the-radar type compared with predecessor Allen Short, will switch places with one of VanHoy’s assistants after nearly three years at the helm as he winds down toward retirement. Modesto Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

Viral police video draws new round of criticism – A core group of angry residents is likely to turn out at virtually any City Council meeting to air its grievances about the Stockton Police Department. But in the aftermath of last week’s viral video of a physical confrontation between multiple police officers and a 16-year-old black teen allegedly jaywalking at the downtown transit center, a new set of voices joined the discussion Tuesday night. Stockton Record article

Man charged with obstructing officer after drone started near police copter — The Los Angeles city attorney’s office charged a man Tuesday with obstructing a peace officer for allegedly flying a drone too close to a police helicopter. LA Times article

LAPD chief faults second officer in ‘horrific’ arrest caught on tape – A report made public Tuesday shows LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has also faulted the actions of other officers involved in Clinton Alford’s arrest, including a second officer who the chief said used unreasonable force when he kicked Alford and stood on his feet. LA Times article


UC Davis chancellor lays out growth vision under ‘21st Century’ plan — UC Davis is poised to launch a major construction initiative as part of the school’s new “University of the 21st Century” plan, including a proposed campus in downtown Sacramento and a new veterinary hospital on its main campus. Sacramento Bee article 

Valley Edition: Lauren Foreman discusses Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian — Leading a major educational institution isn’t an easy job. You’ve got to balance the needs of students and faculty with often competing interests of alumni, donors, trustees and the community at large. That’s certainly the case in Bakersfield where current Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian is at the center a controversy, regarding the future of her employment. Lauren Foreman of the Bakersfield Californian has been following the story and joined us on Valley Edition to talk about what’s next for the college and Christian. KVPR report


Fresno State signs exchange agreement with Mexican university — Fresno State recently signed an agreement establishing a pipeline for the exchange of students, professors and research with the Chapingo Autonomous University of Mexico.  The partnership is meant to foster new international opportunities for students while exchanging agriculture and English resources between the two institutions. The Business Journal article

Merced council gets look at UC Merced Venture Lab – It’s been said that all achievements, all riches have their beginning in an idea. This week, members of the City Council had the chance to peek at a laboratory where ideas forming at UC Merced can grow into enterprises that may, one day, contribute back to the community. Merced Sun-Star article

Construction mistake cuts Internet connection for schools in Stanislaus, San Joaquin counties – A construction misstep cut a critical link for school Internet connections, severing service to schools throughout San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County for nearly 24 hours. A workaround was expected to get Web links up and running again by Tuesday night. Modesto Bee article

New nanodegree program helps farmworkers move to tech field – The AdelanTech Leadership Program is designed to help people in rural areas gain technology skills and leadership training even while they work or attend school full time. San Francisco Chronicle article

Poor students lose ground with Common Core testing – Despite longtime efforts to reduce the achievement gap between rich and poor students in California, the divide grew much wider under the state’s new testing system, according to a Sacramento Bee review of state data released this month. About 21 percent of economically disadvantaged students in California met state math standards under the new Smarter Balanced Assessment System, compared with 53 percent of all other students. Sacramento Bee article

Achievement gap points to ineffectiveness of decades of reforms – The vast achievement gaps in the Smarter Balanced test scores released this month point to the ineffectiveness of reforms over the past 15 years or more that were intended to close those gaps, raising the question of whether a new set of reforms being implemented in California are more likely to succeed. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Gerald Cantu: Funds for low-income and English language learners misused – The adjunct professor of philosophy at Bakersfield College and Education Program Associate at the Dolores Huerta Foundation writes, “KHSD shouldn’t gamble with money intended to meet the additional needs of low-income and English learners, who, by law, are supposed to be the beneficiaries of LCAP expenditures. Should they want to take that fiscal risk, it ought to be done with base grant funds or KHSD’s reserves.” Cantu op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

West Hills College Lemoore names new president — West Hills College Lemoore named a new president on Tuesday: Kristin Clark, an administrator from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Fresno Bee article 

Three California universities celebrate 50 years — The simultaneous 50th anniversaries of three major public universities in California are setting off a flurry of celebrations, reflections on how the three diverse campuses have grown in half a century — but also some worries that today’s and future students may not be as well served. The anniversaries are being marked this month and next at UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine and Cal State San Bernardino, all of which began classes in 1965 — in some cases when their campuses were mainly open fields or patches of woodlands. LA Times article


Pollution controls cut toxic chemical concentrations in California – The concentration of seven toxic chemicals responsible for most of the known cancer risk from airborne contaminants in California dropped between 1990 and 2012, a study by the California Air Resources Board has found. Sacramento Bee article

From ashes of Rough fire, what’s the real problem here? — The fire is not a big threat now, though it will likely burn until snow flies in the Sierra. Now people are beginning to ask tougher questions. Will this dangerous scenario get worse for foothill residents and the San Joaquin Valley? Fresno Bee article

Fires threaten Valley air quality — The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has announced a health caution due to smoke-related air pollution from several large fires burning in California. The advisory extends through Wednesday for the entire Valley. Hanford Sentinel article

Damage estimate from Valley fire grows – The estimated number of houses destroyed by the Valley fire in Lake County grew by nearly 200 on Tuesday as firefighters increased containment and assessors performed more detailed counts. Sacramento Bee article

Valley fire’s unfolding nightmare revealed in emergency logs – Emergency dispatch logs – released Tuesday to The Times by Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin – give a glimpse of the unfolding nightmare and a mad door-to-door scramble to evacuate surprised communities as the fire swept across the mountainous Northern California county. LA Times article

How El Nino might have fed the Valley fire’s strange ferocity – Researchers at San Jose State have a theory that could explain the wind-driven explosive growth of the Valley Fire, and as strange as it sounds it’s … a hurricane. KQED report

Grant Grove reopens to visitors in wake of Rough fire — Grant Grove visitors center, closed for nearly two weeks because of to the Rough fire, reopened Tuesday morning. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Energy rates generate questions, concerns at Fresno forum – No one is necessarily eager to pay more for electricity, and about 200 residents from Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley showed up Tuesday evening at Fresno City Hall to make that point clear to representatives of the California Public Utilities Commission. Fresno Bee article

Steve Murov: The real threat of climate change – The professor emeritus of chemistry at Modesto Junior College writes, “The burning of fossil fuels first powered the Industrial Revolution, then helped create our modern societies. Along with all the positive impacts for our quality of life, carbon power has also created consequences now posing threats to all life on Earth.” Murov op-ed in Modesto Bee

City: Trees being removed along Highway 99 will be replaced — Members of Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, alarmed to learn this past summer that hundreds of trees planted along Highway 99 over the past decade would be uprooted, got some welcome news Tuesday. All of those trees along Highway 99 in south Bakersfield, paid for with $26,000 in donations, are not exactly gone forever. They’ll be replaced, somewhere. Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services 

Stanislaus supervisors approve agreement for veterans center in Modesto — With dozens of military veterans looking on, Stanislaus County supervisors approved an agreement Tuesday for developing a one-stop veterans center in Modesto. The Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to seek proposals for leasing a building for a 20,000-square-foot veterans hall, with additional space for meeting rooms and veterans services offices. Modesto Bee article 

Housing authority in Merced County adopts smoke-free policy – Tobacco smoking in Merced County public housing will be snuffed out next year. The Merced County Housing Authority recently adopted a smoke-free policy banning smoking indoors and in outdoor common areas on its properties. Merced Sun-Star article 

Turing says it will repeal part of 5,000 percent price hike on toxoplasmosis drug — The company that sparked an angry backlash after it raised the price of a drug for treating a deadly parasitic infection by more than 5,000 percent says it will roll back some of the increase. LA Times articleNew York Times articleSacramento Bee editorial

Black patients fare better than whites when both get the same healthcare, study finds – A new analysis of nearly 3.1 million patients in the VA system has found a different kind of racial divide: Blacks do significantly better than whites. LA Times article

Health insurance CEOs vow mergers won’t make marketplace less competitive — Proposed mega-mergers between health insurance giants prompted by the Affordable Care Act won’t harm the level of competition in the market, two chief executives pledged Tuesday to skeptical lawmakers. LA Times article


Land Use/Housing

Kern County falls short in affordable housing — Kern and Stanislaus counties each have multiple hurdles to overcome if the needs of low-income renters are to be met, according to a recent report from the California Housing Partnership. Bakersfield Californian article

New houses coming to Tulare — Construction on Tulare’s newest housing development has started. Earth moving machines and excavators have dug up ground to install underground infrastructure for Palo Verde, a 110-acre community at Mooney Boulevard and Seminole Avenue. Plans call for Palo Verde to offer 350 lots. Visalia Times-Delta article

San Francisco supervisors make it harder to evict renters for ‘nuisances’ — Facing a sharp increase in the number of renters threatened with eviction for such transgressions as improperly painting their walls, smoking in their rooms and annoying other residents, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation Tuesday that would make it harder for landlords to remove people they view as problem tenants. San Francisco Chronicle article


More condemnations ahead in Fresno, Valley for high-speed rail route – Almost 1,000 acres. That’s the acreage in the central San Joaquin Valley for which the State Public Works Board has authorized the use of eminent domain to acquire the property for California’s high-speed train project. Fresno Bee article

Hanford to review speed limits — More than 20 Hanford streets are slated for speed limit decreases of up to 10 miles per hour. The city recently completed a speed limit study that looked at various segments of about 50 streets. Five streets are slated for 10 mph decreases. The report recommends 5 mph decreases on 17 streets. Hanford Sentinel article

Majority of San Francisco supervisors back ‘Idaho Stop’ proposal for cyclists — At least six of the 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors back a proposed ordinance that would, in effect, allow bicyclists in the city to roll through stop signs as long as they take care to “safely yield” to pedestrians and other traffic. San Francisco Chronicle article


Other areas

Monday jet crash remains under investigation — The Navy is not releasing any new details regarding an F/A-18E Super Hornet jet that crashed Monday near Naval Air Station Lemoore. NASL spokesman Marcelo Calero said the crash is still under investigation and no new details are available. He said the Navy is also not releasing the name of the pilot. Hanford Sentinel article

Optimism, adaptation ring out during Central California Women’s Conference – Thousands of women flooded the Fresno Convention Center area on Tuesday for the 28th annual Central California Women’s Conference, an all-day event in multiple downtown Fresno venues geared toward creating positive change in all aspects of a woman’s daily life. Fresno Bee article

Women’s Business Conference aims to ‘inspire, encourage and empower’ – In the words of organizer Denise Winston, the hosts of the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference have been trying to “inspire, encourage and empower individuals” with workshops, seminars and guest speakers for a quarter-century now. Bakersfield Californian article 

Home Garden answers grand jury criticisms — When the 2014-15 Kings County Grand Jury issued a critical report on the Home Garden Community Services District earlier this year, it tallied up a detailed list of ways the district was allegedly failing to comply with the law. By law, district officials were required to issue a written response. Earlier this month, district officials released that document. Hanford Sentinel article



Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – VW betrays us with its big dirty lie.

Merced Sun-Star – VW cheated and should pay dearly for fraud.

Modesto Bee – VW cheated and should pay dearly for fraud.

Sacramento Bee – Volkswagen’s admission that it cheated on U.S. emissions tests for nearly 500,000 diesel VWs and Audis should infuriate every American who draws breath. But in California, it’s a special blow; We don’t criticize sharp business people for trying to make a buck, but these are vulture capitalists, not venture capitalists.

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:
  • IAP2NorCal and the Institute for Local Government will hold an event, “Public Participation for 21stCentury Democracy,” in San Jose on Thursday, Oct. 1, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.  More information is available here.
  • 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 34thannual Agribusiness Management Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Fresno on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The event will feature presentation on the economic outlook for agriculture, trade, water, and immigration.  More information:  559.278.4405 or
  • The 2015 California Economic Summit will be held in Ontario on Nov. 12-13.  Since its inception in 2012, the Summit has brought together hundreds of private, public and civic leaders from the state’s diverse regions in an effort to advance the triple bottom line: promoting a prosperous economy that respects environment and equity concerns.  More information and registration is available here.


Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge – For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge

Next 10: Federal budget challenge — The Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.  Next 10 Federal Budget challenge at

Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone?  Next 10 California Water Challenge 

LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link.

More Information

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Maddy Institute Updates List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials – The Maddy Institute has updated its list of San Joaquin Valley elected officials.  The list is available here.

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The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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