September 28, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Central Valley sees hope in Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s potential rise – Every so often, Rep. Kevin McCarthy tosses out a catch phrase that’s popular in this southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley: “Once a Driller, always a Driller.” With McCarthy the odds-on favorite to succeed John A. Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives, an ascension that would make him one of the most powerful politicians in the nation, friends and foes alike in the Central Valley want and expect him to remember those roots. LA Times article 

Dan Walters: Democrats seek cure for apathy — California’s Democratic politicians were jolted when voters – especially their voters – largely ignored last year’s elections. Just 25 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots in the June primary and just 42.2 percent voted in November, by far the lowest percentages ever recorded. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

The juiciest job in Sacramento — Around the Capitol they’re known as “juice committees” – those that oversee lucrative industries, allowing politicians to foster relationships they can squeeze for campaign cash. These panels preside over business interests that fight obscure industry battles before the Legislature; think of lawyers vs. insurance companies, doctors vs. physical therapists, or card rooms vs. Indian casinos.  CALmatters article

Valley politics

McCarthy faces tricky path to speakership — Rep. Kevin McCarthy has glided to victory in each of his leadership races — one for majority whip, and two for majority leader — by simply winning the support of more than half the members of the Republican Conference. To become the 54th speaker of the House, though, he’ll need to do something he’s never done before: find 218 supporters on the floor. Politico article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California vaccine bill opponents reach their deadline — Opponents of the law have been hitting the streets to try and drum up signatures for a referendum, and Monday is the deadline to turn in their signatures. Referendum backers project supreme confidence about their chances to get to 365,880 signatures, pointing to a statewide grassroots movement that has been bolstered by assists from chiropractors – who you may recall playing a role in the legislative fight – and churches. Capitol Alert

Joel Fox: Tax hike proponents hide behind children to boost measures – The president of the Small Business Action Committee writes, “All the emphasis on raising taxes ignores another avenue to lift families out of poverty and fund state programs – make California more business friendly, encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. Fewer people will live in poverty and more taxpayers will pour revenue into government. In truth, the real gamble at this initiative poker game is not whether the voters will say yes to tax increases, but if under this tax increase onslaught, taxpayers and businesses will start thinking about giving up on California.” Fox op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Asians to surpass Latinos as largest immigrant group in U.S., study finds — Asians are likely to surpass Latinos as the nation’s largest immigrant group shortly after the middle of the century as the wave of new arrivals from Latin America slows but trans-Pacific migration continues apace, according to a new study of census data. LA Times article


Other areas 

George Skelton: Aid-in-dying bill aligns with religious liberty — Pope Francis spoke last week about “religious liberty” being “one of America’s most precious possessions.” No argument there. Religious liberty, in fact, is one reason why Gov. Jerry Brown should sign a bill that has generated Roman Catholic opposition and intense argument for years in Sacramento. The bill is the one that supporters call “aid in dying” and opponents label “assisted suicide.” Skelton column in LA Times

Boehner’s resignation may avert shutdown but emboldens renegades in GOP — John A. Boehner’s surprise decision to quit as speaker of the House all but ensures that Congress will avert an immediate crisis — another government shutdown — but strengthens the renegade Republicans who helped topple him and brought turmoil to the establishment GOP. LA Times article

Carly Fiorina both repels and enthralls liberal feminists – As Mrs. Fiorina’s presidential campaign gains traction — and as the focus on her statements about Planned Parenthood intensifies — liberal women across the web are expressing conflicted feelings about her candidacy. At times, there is gratification at watching a woman forcefully take on Mr. Trump; at other times, horror at Mrs. Fiorina’s conservative policy positions, which these women see as anathema to the feminist cause. New York Times article 

Bill would allow party bike peddlers to sip suds while pedaling — Drinking and driving is, of course, illegal. But partaking while pedaling might soon be OK. Sacramento state Sen. Richard Pan has a bill on the governor’s desk that would allow customers on pub-crawl bikes to sip some beer while pedaling between stops. City officials would have to give their OK first, Pan said. Sacramento Bee article


News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno, Valley cities continue to chase high-speed rail maintenance hopes — Of the eight sites remaining on the books, four have garnered the most attention: one at the southern edge of Fresno; one in Merced County, at the Castle Commerce Center that is the former home of Castle Air Force Base near Atwater; and two in Kern County – one near the city of Shafter and the other in Wasco. Fresno Bee article

Two halves of California have wide gap in health costs – When it comes to health care costs, it’s clear: Where you live matters. And in California, the gap is especially sharp between the north and south. AP article

In East Porterville, drought escalates mental health issues — In a town whose problems already include air pollution, water contamination and poverty, the drought has spurred a growing health crisis, worsening respiratory conditions and burdening those with other illnesses. It gets worse. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Bill would exempt some from paying pensions – A bill sent to Gov. Brown this month would exempt new hires from his reform requiring them to pay half the normal cost of their pensions, if they work for any of the 22 cities and one county that have special property taxes to pay pensions. Calpensions article

Modesto eyes closing golf course – Modesto officials will discuss Monday whether to close one of the city’s three golf courses and other options to reduce the general fund subsidy to the golf fund, which is expected to be nearly $783,000 in the current budget year. Modesto Bee article

New tax at Sacramento midtown restaurants tough to handle – Few people who dine at Zocalo in midtown identify their surroundings as the Handle District. Fewer still probably realize a small slice of their dinner bill goes to support the district, even if the evidence is right in front of their face. Sacramento Bee article

U.S. Supreme Court weighs San Jose fight against MLB — San Jose may be down to its last swing in its legal fight to revive the city’s flagging hopes to lure the Oakland A’s to Silicon Valley. In a closed-door conference on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term with a long list of cases the justices are being asked to review — and San Jose’s antitrust challenge to Major League Baseball is on the agenda. San Jose Mercury News article



Ask TBC: Are the city’s top water users doing their part to conserve? — Of the top 10 water users of 2014, about half showed substantial water savings in June and July 2015 compared to the same months in 2013. The top user in 2014 — the city of Bakersfield — saved a whopping 63 percent in June and 55 percent in July. No. 2 Cal State Bakersfield did even better: saving 66 percent in both of those months. Bakersfield Californian article 

Tulare County applying for $100,000 water grant — Last month, the county began purchasing water after getting assurances from state officials that the county would be reimbursed through a $100,000 grant from the California Water Resources Control Board, said Eric Coyne, Tulare County’s tourism manager, who has been working with other county officials on Seville’s water problems. Visalia Times-Delta article

Drought-weakened trees could pose danger this winter – After four years of drought, California has a huge number of dead and dying trees. After a U.S. Forest Service aerial survey last spring, researchers estimated there were 12.5 million dead trees on national forest lands alone. KQED report 

Stanislaus board will get 2014 crop report — Stanislaus County will release its 2014 crop report Tuesday morning, a detailed gauge of the farm products at the foundation of its economy. The report from Agricultural Commissioner Milton O’Haire to the Board of Supervisors could very well top the record $3.66 billion in gross income in 2013. Modesto Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Prop 47 could purse DNA database – The fate of as many as 500,000 DNA samples collected from felony arrestees and stored in a state database is at the center of the latest court battle over Proposition 47. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Homicide investigations strain Merced sheriff’s staff — Sheriff Vern Warnke, coming off one of the bloodiest weeks of his short time in office in Merced County, said the sudden uptick in street violence last week highlights the department’s need for more deputies. Merced Sun-Star article 

Back to scene of crime — Residents living south of Dameron Hospital remain on edge following the discovery of a young Stockton real estate developer who was found dead on their street early morning Sept. 13. But since that day, Little has been released about the death of downtown visionary Tim Egkan, chief brand officer with Ten Space Development. Stockton Record article



Teachers learn how technology transforming education – More than 400 educators throughout the state filled Ridgeview High School classrooms this weekend for a summit to teach teachers how to use Google apps and tools to transform the way they educate students locally. Bakersfield Californian article

White House honors Fresno State Mini-Corps program — The White House has honored Fresno State’s Mini-Corps Program for narrowing the Latino achievement gap. The Mini-Corps Program, which recruits Latino teachers and helps migrant students, was recognized in the White House report, “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.” Fresno Bee article

Community college enrollment falls in Sacramento region – During the recession, as students flooded Sacramento-area community colleges in a bid to learn new trades and pursue new careers, many were thwarted by state spending cuts, deep wait lists and crowded classrooms. Now that state funding is flowing anew, however, enrollment has fallen. Sacramento Bee article

Tuolumne Elementary in Modesto aims to strengthen community — Tuolumne Elementary School rolled out the welcome wagons for parents, providing information on services, a donated dinner and free T-shirts for the kids at a small family fair. Modesto Bee article 

Hey, kids, text your way to cheaper college bills – The day in February, a Los Angeles high school student texted a hotline number, worried about paying for college. “What happens if I don’t have a Social Security number?” the student asked. It was an exchange that could have been difficult in real life, but over text, the expert on the other end simply asked if the student had an alien registration number. The student, whose name is not provided for privacy reasons, asked where to find the number. LA Times article

New Modesto Junior College athletic director brings non-traditional approach — It can be argued that Nick Stavrianoudakis has brought the most unusual résumé to the athletic directorship of Modesto Junior College. No previous AD collected such wide-ranging job descriptions: pro football player agent, baseball card collector and card business owner, economic adviser to three counties and one city, and – for 13 years – the director of public affairs for the Yosemite Community College District. Modesto Bee article

At 50, UC Irvine has built its college culture from the ground up — Oct. 4, 1965, was the first day of school for Mike Grayston — and for UC Irvine. He came to campus when there were only 958 freshmen, 215 sophomores, 254 juniors, two seniors and 140 graduate students. The university owned 1,000 acres but was home to just eight buildings. LA Times article



Hurricane may have hastened Valley fire — Hurricane Linda could have played a key role in the destructive spread of the Valley Fire. That’s right. San Jose State University researchers say remnants of the hurricane — storm systems known more for their rain and flooding than their ability to fuel fires — brought unusual tropical moisture to coastal California, resulting in strong wind gusts that contributed to the quick-spreading flames that whipped and walloped the more than 40,000 acres that burned across Lake County within the fire’s first 12 hours. San Francisco Chronicle article

Researchers: Public needs to pressure Forest Service to embrace fire – For decades, wildfires have been treated as the enemy of the U.S. Forest Service. Firefighters “battle” them, and “only you” can prevent them. But a group of researchers – including a Forest Service ecologist – say the public needs to pressure the agency and other land managers to accept and embrace smaller-scale wildfires to prevent the worst of them. Sacramento Bee article

Wildfires expose state’s difficulties in getting elderly and disabled to safety – Of 4.8 million Californians who identify as disabled, about 30% are 65 or older. In Calaveras County, where the Butte fire began to rage Sept. 9, 20% of residents are seniors, the highest proportion in the state, according to census data. Lake County is not far behind with 18%, compared with 11% for the state as a whole. And as ashes smolder, those fires, which collectively burned more than 2,300 homes, are providing lessons on what worked and what didn’t. LA Times article 

Program to deliver green power to San Francisco delayed – CleanPowerSF, which seeks to offer services that are greener than PG&E’s, including a 100 percent renewable energy alternative, was scheduled to start next spring. But the contract approval process and an added business plan will push the start date back by six weeks or more. San Francisco Chronicle article

State to pitch in $25 million for ‘crown jewel’ of LA River restoration — The state of California plans to contribute $25 million toward efforts to buy a property on the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park, the majority of the purchase price for a parcel that has been called a “crown jewel” of the river’s restoration, state Senate leader Kevin de León announced Sunday. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Many children with autism can learn to interact safely with schoolmates, neighbors — With the right therapy and supervision — and a good dose of compassion and patience from friends and neighbors — many children with autism can learn to interact safely with schoolmates and neighbors, say experts and parents of children with autism. San Jose Mercury News article

Pacific students to assess Part D plans – Trained student pharmacists from the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, under the supervision of licensed pharmacists, will hold eight free clinics in San Joaquin County this fall to help Medicare beneficiaries enroll in a drug plan for 2016. Stockton Record article


Land Use/Housing 

San Diego planners envision skyways and light-rail stops in beach towns — e newest route to the beach might come with a bird’s-eye view and no risk of tracking sand into your car. A new long-term blueprint from San Diego planners puts skyways and light-rail stations in some of the county’s beach communities, making it possible for people who want to get to the ocean to make the trip from most of the county without getting behind the wheel. LA Times article


Traffic deaths climbing in California – is there a fix? – It’s an unfortunate downside to the recession’s end: As more people return to work and more cars hit the road, fatal accidents are on the climb. Sacramento Bee article

BART probes possible pilfering of high-end tickets — BART is buzzing over a criminal investigation into whether a large number of tickets were stolen from the customer service center at the Lake Merritt Station and ended up on the underground market. San Francisco Chronicle article


Other areas

Carmel mission vandalized after Junipero Serra’s canonization — Four days after Pope Francis proclaimed Junipero Serra a saint, vandals defaced the grounds of Mission San Carlos in Carmel where the newly canonized Franciscan friar, and founding father of modern California, is buried. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleAP article 

Chris Schneider, Fresno civil-rights lawyer, receives state Bar honor — Fresno civil rights lawyer Chris Schneider has done pretty well for someone who never finished college and didn’t attend law school. He is executive director of the nonprofit Central California Legal Services, overseeing a $5 million budget and a staff of 50 who provide free legal services to immigrants and the poor throughout the central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno Bee article 


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – Preschool must be a priority for all California kids.


Sacramento Bee – Insurance mega-mergers must work for us.


Maddy Events


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.

Sunday, Oct. 4, at 5 p.m. on Fresno ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Public Safety Realignment: Emerging Trends in Year 2” – Guests: Public Policy Institute of California analysts Steven Raphael and Magnus Lofstrom. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

Sunday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m. on KMJ (580AM and 105.9FM Radio/podcast) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Realignment and Valley Crime: Has the Second Year Been the Charm?” — Guests: Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and Fresno State criminology professor Emma Hughes. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.

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.

Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!

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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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