September 27, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Moderate Assembly Democrats emerges as pro-business force — Known around the Capitol as “the mods,” they forced Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders to abandon a key provision of a bill that sought to combat global warming by dramatically reducing the state’s reliance on oil. The group also blocked efforts to regulate electronic cigarettes and increase the legal smoking age to 21. Contra Costa Times article 

Lucky Kevin McCarthy is odds-on favorite to be the next speaker.  He’ll need it. — If McCarthy does claim the speaker’s gavel, his climb to the top spot in the House will be the fastest since the 19th century. But his rapid ascent is grounded in a simple fact: In many ways, this is Kevin McCarthy’s GOP majority. Washington Post articleCapitol Weekly article 

Valley politics

Modesto candidate meet at Mancini Bowl — Twelve of the 13 Modesto candidates for mayor and three City Council seats in the Nov. 3 election answered questions Saturday at a candidates forum at a sun-baked Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park before a sparse crowd of about 70 people. Modesto Bee article

Modesto Bee: Oakdale Irrigation District could use a few new faces — We think the board would be well-served by at least two new directors. Then, perhaps, the board would be less likely to turn deaf ears to pleas to halt pumping groundwater as dozens of nearby residential wells are going dry. Modesto Bee editorial


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Dan Morain: Not just another rich guy with an idea — You’ve heard the story before, or so you might think: Some rich guy comes up with an idea to reshape the state in his image, spends some of his pocket change to get it on the ballot, and the rest of us are left to sort it out. Dean Cortopassi, Dino to his friends, is a wealthy guy with an idea. True to form, he and his wife, Joan, spent $4 million to place an initiative on the ballot next year; they can afford it. And there will be a mighty campaign to defeat it. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Rusty Areias and Terence McHale: Laws for medical pot need more public input – The representatives of Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, write, “The way we handle medical marijuana is going to have an extraordinary impact on the manner with which we enforce the recreational use that will be on the ballot in 2016, prior to the enforcement of these bills. The resolution on weed, medical or otherwise, needs to be tightly rolled or we will have more smoke than clarity.” Areias/McHale op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Darrell Steinberg: Time to adjust California’s Mental Health Services Act – The former president pro tem of the California Senate and founder of the Steinberg Institute writes, “No one act, even one as ambitious as the Mental Health Services Act can solve every societal problem impacted by mental illness. The mental health needs in California outweigh this resource. Therefore, we must use it creatively and purposefully to tackle big problems.” Steinberg op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Political fight over cutting gasoline use could be moot – For all the bruising rhetoric and analogies to war, it remains unclear what, if anything, was resolved in the political fight that ended Sept. 10 with state Democratic leaders pulling a key oil-related measure from the landmark climate change legislation known as Senate Bill 350. Bakersfield Californian article

Fiorina’s record at HP defines her candidacy – which could be a problem — Now a rising star in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Fiorina, 61, has pointed to her leadership of the printer and computer giant to showcase her corporate savvy and courage under fire. She has blamed the dot-com bust, sexism and an ineffective board of directors for helping sink what was then a global juggernaut. But in interviews with more than two dozen former HP senior directors and employees, many remember Fiorina’s legacy as troubling and divisive. Washington Post article

Fresno State alum fights for political life in Guinea-Bissau — In one of the world’s smallest and poorest countries, thousands of miles from the Central Valley, a Fresno State alum is fighting for his political life. Guinea-Bissau is a little-known sliver of West Africa where most people survive on less than $2 a day. For Domingos Simões Pereira, a 1994 Fresno State graduate, it is home. And it’s in serious trouble. Fresno Bee article


News Stories

Top Stories

Westlands Water District’s drainage cleanup time may have come — Fifteen years ago, a court ordered federal officials to get rid of potentially poisonous irrigation drainage trapped below vast Westlands Water District farms – “without delay.” The drainage timeline actually started decades before the court order, but it might yet prove to be an advantage. Cleanup technology is advancing, and it might help clean up this mess in the nation’s largest irrigation district, based in west Fresno and Kings counties. Fresno Bee article

Justice delayed: Stanislaus County courts slowest in state for murder trials – Stanislaus County’s backlog of murder trials apparently is the worst in California, according to a new Modesto Bee analysis based on data from 45 of the state’s 58 counties. Stanislaus’ 108 pending murder cases, amounting to 20 for every 100,000 people, is about three times the per-capita average rate in counties of any size, The Bee’s analysis shows. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Dan Walters: California economic portrait not pretty – Federal officials released three major economic reports this month and together, they paint a dark picture of California. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Bay Area government leaders reap sweetheart housing deals at taxpayers expense — Amid a Bay Area real estate market famous for its mind-boggling home prices, taxpayers are funding a little-known special perk for a very select group of house hunters: low- and sometimes no-interest loans for top local government employees. San Jose Mercury News article

Public turns out for homeless conversation – More than 200 people packed the Modesto Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday night for what city officials called a community conversation about homelessness and its impact on the city. Modesto Bee article

Is LA’s budget crisis over? The homeless spending plan signals it is – Question: How do you know when the budget crisis is officially over at Los Angeles City Hall? Answer: When eight politicians announce a new $100-million spending initiative, one with few details and almost no hand-wringing over where the money will come from. LA Times article

Fake Modesto festival date passes with no turnout — No beer, no bites and no people were to be seen at the site of the fake Modesto Beer and Bites Festival on Saturday. Modesto Bee article

Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Festival draws 50,000 – Sacramento turned out in strength for Saturday’s free taste of farm-to-fork fun. An estimated 50,000 patrons – 15,000 more than last year – strolled Capitol Mall during the third annual Farm-to-Fork Festival, the largest event during the city’s three-week food-centric celebration. Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento-area Volkswagen owners seek class-action status over ‘defeat device’ — A lawsuit filed late Friday in Sacramento federal court has joined the growing number of legal actions over the emissions scandal that has engulfed German carmaker Volkswagen. Sacramento Bee article 

LA DWP wants a rate hike, but what about Mayor Garcetti’s ‘mandate to reform’? — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took office claiming a “clear mandate to reform” the city’s Department of Water and Power, a little-loved bureaucracy that Garcetti bashed time after time on the 2013 campaign trail. Today, as the DWP — the nation’s largest government-run utility — prepares to ask Angelenos to pay more for water and electricity halfway through the mayor’s first term, that mandate looks a long way from being fulfilled. LA Times article



Why El Nino won’t save us from the drought – We’ve all seen the forecasts: there’s a 95 percent chance El Niño will hit the Northern Hemisphere this winter. For Californians, for whom the sound of rain has become an exciting novelty, the idea of a rainy season sounds like the promise of salvation. The drought will end, and we will be saved. Rain will certainly help, but it’s not what we really need to beat the drought. We need snow, and we might not get enough. For starters, El Niño may stay in the south. San Francisco Chronicle article

Clovis residents, council members frustrated by state water mandate – Residents who know that Clovis has more than enough water to serve all its customers wonder why they are being fined. The city balanced its water sources by building a $40 million water treatment plant to take water off canals and filter it for city use, put $10 million into a water bank near Kerman and spent millions more to pipe recycled water from its sewage treatment plant near McCall and Ashlan avenues for use in city parks, Clovis Community Medical Center and Highway 168. Fresno Bee article

What’s up with Clovis water rules? Find out in this Q&A with the city’s public utilities director – Clovis residents are asking questions about why the fines are being levied. They are concerned that the city’s fines are punitive and that money from the fines is not being used for water-related programs. The Bee asked Luke Serpa, Clovis’ public utilities director, to address those concerns. Fresno Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Southern California schools Sacramento region on water conservation – Southern California’s behemoth Metropolitan Water District is confronting the current drought and aggressively preparing for the next one, while the Sacramento region plays catch-up on water conservation. It’s a bit embarrassing. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Peach fruit fly discovered in east Fresno; bug is a pest to many crops – A single male peach fruit fly has been caught in an insect trap in east Fresno, the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s office said Friday. Fresno Bee article 

Farmworkers celebrate anniversary of labor movement in Delano – Chants of “si, se puede” and red flags blazoned with a square-tipped Aztec eagle flew Saturday across the United Farm Workers Forty Acres complex in Delano, where the nation’s first farmworkers’ union celebrated the 50th anniversary of a labor protest that eventually led to better pay and working conditions. Fresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian article‘Emotional reunion for UFW organizer’ in Bakersfield CalifornianLA Times article

Exports suffer as Sacramento Valley rice crop takes hit in drought — Anxiety about the shift runs high in the Sacramento Valley. The rice crop is likely to run at least 30 percent smaller than normal because of water shortages. As a result, Northern California growers have lost customers in traditionally strong markets in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Sacramento Bee article

Morada water rate change to be discussed again — Residents in Morada’s Community Service Area 46 are hoping a disagreement over water service charges finally will come to an end Tuesday. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will hold a public hearing to once again consider a water usage-based rate structure instead of the annual flat fee structure. Stockton Record article


Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Officials: Crackdown hinders prison gang – The day after the Sept. 16 mission, Stockton police said they had disrupted two violent, warring Norteño street gangs, and they held a news conference where they set up a display of 68 firearms and 30 pounds of methamphetamine confiscated by law-enforcement officers. They also seized cocaine, heroin, marijuana, body armor, massive amounts of ammunition and approximately $89,000 in cash. Stockton Record article

‘Black Lives Matter,’ police and supporters say at Hollywood rally — Waving American flags and holding up signs that read “Blue Lives Matter,” about 100 Los Angeles police officers joined members of the community at a rally in Hollywood on Saturday intended to show support for the department at a time when crime is spiking and the ambush killings of police officers in cities elsewhere have left authorities across the nation feeling under siege. LA Times article


UC Davis cuts PR post that drew criticism for its $260,000 salary — Two years after hiring a communications chief for $260,000 a year, UC Davis has quietly eliminated her position. By paying Luanne Lawrence a higher salary than any other communications official in the University of California system, UC Davis revived longstanding complaints about executive pay, in particular because of student unrest about tuition hikes and other budget issues. Sacramento Bee article 

Larry White: Hit the Lotto? – Since the dream of me winning the state lottery is darn near impossible, let’s frame the choices another way. If we all, individuals, businesses corporations and nonprofit organizations, invest in education through a contribution of resources, it would be like purchasing a ticket to the education lottery and we can all share in the winnings. I like those odds much better. White column in Stockton Record



Utilities seek to charge solar system owners more for connection to grid – Existing rooftop solar customers would receive some exemptions from the net-metering changes for 20 years after they installed their systems. But their costs still could rise because of separate regulatory changes, already enacted, that allow higher rates for users who buy small amounts of electricity from the grid. LA Times article

Bob Elliott: Federal Clean Air Act needs amendments – The San Joaquin County supervisor writes, “Failure to correct the structural deficiencies in the act will lead to economic devastation for San Joaquin Valley residents and businesses without commensurate benefit in improving the region’s air quality. Elliott op-ed in Stockton Record

Wind-energy company eyes waters off Morro Bay for floating turbines – In a generation or two, offshore wind farms could be as common along the California coast as offshore oil rigs are today. And Morro Bay could be the community where the offshore wind industry gets its start in the Golden State. San Luis Obispo Tribune article

In vicious fire season, an endurance test for California crews – Thousands of firefighters have worked around the clock in California, battling exhaustion, to try to contain flames that have swept through vast acreage. New York Times article

Nature replants its own forests, environmentalists say – A growing body of fire research indicates that the federal salvage strategy creates more problems than it solves by stunting tree regrowth, denying habitat to a variety of species and increasing the risk of erosion. LA Times article 

Monica Bond: End destructive practice of logging forests after wildfires – The wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Nature Institute writes, “These charcoal forests are magical places, thriving with life. It is time to end the destructive practice of logging our precious forests after fire, and celebrate wildfire as natural and renewing.” Bond op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Jeff Jardine: Couple’s artwork, collectibles lost in Butte fire flames – Donna Graver remembers Christmas of 1939 well, even though she was just 5 years old at the time. “I got a Shirley Temple doll,” she said. It became the first in her collection of valuable dolls that grew to 3,000 over the next 76 years – a lifetime of collecting, of creating, of cherishing. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Butte fire aftermath a challenge, a comfort – In times of crisis and loss, a sense of humor is more vital than ever. That’s true for Austin Watters, a Calaveras High sophomore, who still can find ways to laugh after his mother’s San Andreas home succumbed to the Butte Fire. Stockton Record article

Nearly burned off map, Mountain Ranch fights back — This unincorporated hamlet faces its greatest test – recovering from the ravenous Butte fire, which has scorched nearly 71,000 acres and destroyed 475 houses and 385 other structures. Sacramento Bee article 

Kit Miyamoto: What the Nepal earthquakes mean to California – The president of Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief writes, “What happened in Nepal represents a major wake-up call for the countless California cities sitting on known and unknown faults across the Golden State. That there is any comparison between the $5 billion in earthquake damage in Nepal and California cities remains unknown to most building owners and residents.” Miyamoto op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Modesto Bee: Keeping Michael Frantz at Turlock Immigration District is critical to protecting Tuolumne — We agree with Frantz that setting realistic goals for fish populations, stream improvements and verifiable environmental indicators is the best way to improve the health of the rivers. That’s why we need Frantz at the table and on the TID board. Modesto Bee editorial 

Officials: Klamath River fish healthy after flow increase — The monthlong Trinity River dam water releases that ended on Sept. 20 have helped prevent disease and parasite outbreaks on Chinook salmon and other fish harboring on the drought-stricken lower Klamath River, officials said. AP article

Deadly skin disease threatens endangered kit foxes in Bakersfield — The endangered San Joaquin kit fox has an unlikely home in California’s country music capital. No, these bushy-tailed creatures don’t hang out in the honky-tonks in Bakersfield, but they do find plenty of other places to make their dens. Every golf course in town has a family of kit foxes. Industrial parks and school campuses are also popular spots. KQED report

Health/Human Services 

Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue controversy could slow research — The acrimonious political debate over accusations that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from the sale of aborted fetus organs for medical research could put a chill on some medical research and threaten the development of new treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, researchers say. San Francisco Chronicle article

Stomp gives back to fight kids cancer — Pediatric cancer research is a cause that Lodi winemakers Sheri and Craig Watts hold dear to their hearts. They’ve seen for themselves how cancer impacts children and families, and they have vowed to help. Stockton Record article


Land Use/Housing

Pork packing plant raises concerns on Turlock’s western edge — The proposal to build a pork packing plant a half-mile down the road from the town movie theater dismays its neighbors, but the use fits in with city plans for the area and will only require Turlock Planning Commission approval to move forward. Modesto Bee article


How two LA start-ups are racing to develop transportation more amazing than self-driving cars — Two Los Angeles start-ups are racing to develop tubes to zip people hundreds of miles an hour between cities — the so-called Hyperloop. LA Times article

Ridge Route, pioneering LA-to-Bakersfield highway, hits 100 — If the Grapevine is California’s hardworking mother road, the Ridge Route is the state’s demanding, surprising grandmother. And when grandma marks 100 — as the Ridge Route does next Saturday — you bring the party to her. Bakersfield Californian article


Other areas

Lois Henry: Dog foster wonders who’s really saving whom? — Donna Warden’s prognosis isn’t good, frankly. After several rounds of intense chemo, radiation and having both breasts removed — to the bone — Warden is still on cancer medication and likely will be the rest of her life. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Michael Fitzgerald: The relics of old Fat City — “Fat City,” the great novel set in skid row Stockton, has been reissued to renewed acclaim. Funny thing, the book’s 1950s Stockton settings still are there. Some, anyway. Thank City Hall’s allergy to reviving downtown. So places that author Leonard Gardner used as 1950s settings, places that were grim then, survive, looking worse. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Mike Klocke: Stephenson was the very essence of judicial fairness — He always looked resplendent in his black robe and white wig, with gavel in hand. There was no question Franklin Stephenson was in charge, much the same way it was in his courtroom. Klocke column in Stockton Record


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – The GOP loses its strongest voice of reason with John Boehner’s resignation.


Modesto Bee – Keeping Michael Frantz at Turlock Immigration District is critical to protecting the Tuolumne; Fires put heat on American Red Cross’ transparency; Oakdale Irrigation District could use a few new faces.

Sacramento Bee – Valley fire puts heat on American Red Cross; Southern California’s behemoth Metropolitan Water District is confronting the current drought and aggressively preparing for the next one, while the Sacramento region plays catch-up on water conservation. It’s a bit embarrassing.


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, Oct. 4, at 7 a.m. on Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTFF) – El Informe Maddy: “Recividism and Realignment” – Guests: Tulare County District Attorney Investigator Jose Benavides and Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Erica Gonzalez. 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.
  • Zocalo Public Square will hold an event, “Can Fresno Win the War on Poverty?,” at Frank’s Place at Warnors Center for the Performing Arts in Fresno on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.  More information:
  • 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


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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