September 7, 2014


Receive the Maddy Daily in your inbox every morning! To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to Ana Melendez at ajovelmelendez@csufresno.

Political Briefs

Top stories

Groundwater, sick leave, plastic bags among Gov. Brown’s decisions – Will he sign, or won’t he? Lawmakers spent the hectic final weeks of August whipping votes, accepting amendments and negotiating with interest groups in an effort to get their bills passed. The 768 bills that survived now face their final test: Gov. Jerry Brown. Here are some of the key bills on his desk.  Sacramento Bee article

John Myers: Freshman legislators bring hope, maybe change, to Sacramento – It may be the best sign of not only change coming to the center of California government, but also the clearest sign of just how bad things have been. It happened, says Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), during a heated debate over one of his pieces of legislation. Levine, a member of the freshman class that just finished its first two-year term in the Assembly, was approached by fellow freshmen from the Republican side of the aisle.  Myers in KQED

Valley politics

CD21: Advantage: Valadao in face-off – Amanda Renteria may have been a great pick for the Democrats to try to knock off incumbent Rep. David Valadao in November. But – unfortunately for her – the political climate is working against Democratic challengers.  Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Barbara Boxer re-election run looking unlikely – Sen. Barbara Boxer says she has yet to make up her mind about seeking a fifth term in 2016, but there’s no shortage of signs that the Democrat may be opting out.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Secretary of State’s disclosure of depression draws support, concern – Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s disclosure that she suffers from severe depression drew an outpouring of support and concern Saturday from other state officials and mental health experts, but also sparked a debate about whether she should serve out the remaining four months of her term.  LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleAP article

Fresno Bee: Vote ‘no’ on Prop 48 – stop Highway 99 casino – As we have consistently said since 2008 in opposing the project at this site, the casino is a classic example of “reservation shopping” and isn’t what voters intended when they approved Indian gaming. And if the casino becomes reality it will bring urban congestion to a rural area. On Nov. 4, mark your ballot “no” on Proposition 48.  Fresno Bee editorial

Michael Hiltzik:  What’s behind health regulators’ bickering over Prop 45? – Tolstoy’s line about all unhappy families being unhappy in their own way hardly needs validation from us in the 21st century. But still it would be interesting to see what he’d make of the increasingly bitter division between two state agencies that should be working hand in hand to improve health insurance coverage for Californians: the state’s individual health insurance exchange, Covered California; and the Department of Insurance. Hiltzik column in LA Times

Jack Ohman: Two candidates, 60 seconds: Is this the best way to debate? – My problem with it is that it was so fast-paced and superficial that I suspect the few voters who were watching might have correctly felt they were watching a program called “California’s Got Gubernatorial Talent,” and they had tuned into the segment where the contestants had to solve each of this state’s convoluted issues in 30 to 60 seconds.  Ohman in Sacramento Bee


Under pressure from Dems, Obama delays action on immigration – Facing pressure from Senate Democrats worried about losing seats in November, President Barack Obama will postpone until after the election his plans to act on his own to change immigration laws, White House officials said Saturday.  McClatchy Newspapers article

To some, Obama’s immigration delays proves ‘it’s never convenient to help out Latinos’ – There was nothing mixed or muddled about the reaction. Among undocumented immigrants and activists working on their behalf, President Obama’s decision to wait until after November’s elections to make promised changes to immigration policy provoked raw anger.  Washington Post articleLA Times article

Mexican crackdown keeps migrants off trains known as ‘La Bestia’ – Under U.S. pressure, Mexico for the first time in many years has launched a wide crackdown on the migrants. More than 60,000 have been deported this year, as many as half in recent months, the government says. Immigration agents backed by federal police and the military are plucking the travelers from trains and buses in southern Mexico, raiding cheap hotels and flophouses, capturing as many as they can.  LA Times article

Susan Sward: San Francisco’s immigration court a window to children’s crisis – Rosa’s case embodies the harsh quandary posed for the United States by the recent surge of more than 50,000 children who have flooded into this country illegally. Congress, which returns from a five-week recess Monday, adjourned for its break without agreeing on legislation to address the problem. So the coming weeks will tell whether Congress is able to arrive at a compromise on the issue.  Sward in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Dan Walters: Unelected bureaucrats and boards continue to acquire more power – The just-concluded session offered new examples of how powers of unelected bureaucrats and appointees continue to expand.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

News Briefs

Top Stories

Valley’s summer without water: ‘How can they let this happen?’ – For residents and farmers alike, this is the cruelest summer in memory for the nation’s most productive farm belt. And for many, it provokes serious questions about public neglect of California groundwater.  Fresno Bee article

Researchers edging closer to potential valley fever cure – Now a Tucson company is close to taking its antifungal drug Nikkomycin Z into the next phase of clinical trials. NikZ, as it’s known in scientific circles, has shown promise in experimental animals and was found generally safe when tried on healthy people, but developer Valley Fever Solutions needs at least $2 million before it can move on to testing in sick people. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Local businesses challenge McCarthy on Ex-Im Bank – The U.S. Export Import Bank, created by the federal government 80 years ago to help American businesses export their products and services all over the world, could lose its operating authority if Congress does not act by Sept. 30. The institution, often called “Ex-Im” for short, has become a favorite target of Tea Party conservatives — and a few liberals, too — who label it “corporate welfare” and complain that it lets Washington pick winners and losers. But Alan Robinson and other local business people say that if the Ex-Im Bank disappears, their export business could disappear with it.  Bakersfield Californian article

In California, Dan Morain: Luring Tesla with $1.25 billion in tax breaks – Not that these grapes are too terribly sour, but the “gigafactory” episode in which Musk played five states against each other raises questions about how far lawmakers should go to hang on to businesses and attract new ones, and what pledges should they expect in return.  Morain column in Sacramento Bee

A drop-off in start-ups: Where are all the entrepreneuers? – The image of the U.S. as bursting with entrepreneurial zeal, it turns out, is more myth than reality. In truth, the rate at which new companies are being formed has fallen steadily for more than three decades. The decline has occurred nationwide — even in Silicon Valley. Business creation there is still high compared with most of the country, but it’s down markedly from the past, according to the Brookings Institution.  LA Times article

More Angelenos are becoming street vendors amid weak economy – Once the domain of recent immigrants trying to scratch out a living, the ranks of sidewalk merchants have swelled since the economy soured in 2007. The group — an estimated 10,000 countywide — is now larger and more diverse, pulling in out-of-work professionals, war veterans and single mothers, according to a recent report by the Los Angeles chief legislative analyst’s office.  LA Times article

Manufacturer Hilti increases its footprint in Visalia – Hilti Corp., a Liechtenstein-based manufacturer of tools and fastening equipment for the construction industry, recently moved its Visalia service center into a new facility with triple the space of its old site.  Fresno Bee article

Event emphasizes special needs agencies, kicks off fundraising campaign – Why is this week’s 2014-15 United Way Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon so important? To no one’s surprise, President and CEO Andy Prokop has a ready answer.  Stockton Record article

Granville Homes donates $77,000 to Community Food Bank – Fresno’s Community Food Bank will receive a $77,408 donation from Granville Home of Hope on Tuesday. This is the eighth year Granville Homes has partnered with the food charity. The donation will equate to more than 690,000 meals for residents in need throughout the community.  Fresno Bee article

Repairs on Sacramento’s historic train depot prove costlier than expected – When the city of Sacramento bought the historic but dilapidated downtown train depot nearly a decade ago, officials knew they were taking on the biggest fixer-upper in town. A recent $10 million seismic retrofit project to bring the 88-year-old brick building to modern standards took nearly a year longer than anticipated and cost the city $1.3 million more than planned –mainly because of repeated discoveries of hidden problems behind the building’s walls.  Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento Bee: Brown needs to answer to EPA on water tunnels – In his debate on Thursday with Republican challenger Neel Kashkari, Brown said the tunnel project wasn’t fully cooked. That clearly is true. When Kashkari cited the EPA criticism, and noted it came from President Barack Obama’s administration, Brown shot back: “That doesn’t make it right, by the way.” To satisfy skeptics, Brown will need to provide a far more detailed analysis about the affect on the ecological health of the Delta.  Sacramento Bee editorial

California homes lack water meters during drought – Although California is locked in a third year of historic drought, many homeowners and businesses still don’t have meters telling them just how much water they are using.  AP article

For golf courses, it’s not easy being green – Faced with rising water and utility prices, many golf courses throughout the region are either reducing their water usage — or doing a lot of thinking about it. Bakersfield Californian article

Lois Henry: Donations helping to buoy waterless community – For the past few months, residents of east Porterville have been relying on the kindness of neighbors and strangers for all of that. Tulare County and the City of Porterville have provided some drinkable and non-potable water. And pallets of bottled water have been coming in from all over the country as the story has spread (even Al Roker was in Porterville). Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Surprise bonanza since Napa quake:  dry creeks now flowing – It turns out that the earth’s mighty shifting – which caused about $400 million in damage to Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties – also mysteriously forced groundwater to the surface and into several dry or nearly dry creeks and streams in the region.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Modesto Irrigation District refuses to intervene in water dispute – Pat Rogers sowed her 11/2-acre goat pasture in January, and March rains helped it bloom, healthy and green. Despite a three-year drought and expecting to receive less canal water than normal, she figured the pasture would get by on whatever the Modesto Irrigation District could manage to deliver. After all, Rogers has been a loyal customer for 45 years and was up to date on her account, having written a $219 check on New Year’s Eve. But the canal water never came, and now the parcel is dusty, dry and dead.  Modesto Bee article

Lore might not be the best way to predict the future – The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been collecting these kinds of stories for generations, though the 213-year-old publication makes it clear that its predictions are based on sunspots, ocean currents and computer models, not old wives’ tales. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

New DNA analysis helps gain convictions – When Victor Vega was accused of stabbing a man multiple times, prosecutors had help putting him behind bars. Using an innovative DNA testing computer program called TrueAllele, investigators were able to differentiate between the victim’s blood and Vega’s skin cells, both of which were on a knife and sheath found at Vega’s residence.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno agencies getting $500,000 federal grant to combat gang crime – A $500,000 federal grant will be given to the Fresno Police Department and other partnering agencies to fund Project Safe Neighborhoods, a gang and crime reduction program, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced.  Fresno Bee article

Stockton Record: The all-too-thin Blue Line – Stockton police hiring creeps along, as tax dollars are collected.  Stockton Record editorial

Use of deadly force by police disappears on Richmond streets – A spate of high-profile police shootings nationwide, most notably the killing of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, has stoked intense scrutiny of deadly force by officers and driven a series of demonstrations across the nation and the Bay Area. But in Richmond, historically one of the most violent cities in the Bay Area, the Police Department has averaged fewer than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008, and no one has been killed by a cop since 2007.  Contra Costa Times article

‘John-shaming’ potent tactic for Bay Area police – While john-shaming isn’t a new strategy, it has gained momentum in the Bay Area as police seek to fight prostitution and human trafficking. Oakland started a website in June titled “Enough” to shame both johns and pimps after they have been arrested and charged. But the move has caught the attention of defense attorneys and some legal experts, who worry that defendants – who may ultimately be deemed innocent – could see their reputations disparaged along the way.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Michael Fitzgerald:  ‘The Mad Genius of Rock and Roll’ confined in Stockton – Who is the most famous Stockton resident? The answer may surprise you: Phil Spector, the legendary record producer. Spector, 74, is an inmate in the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, the prison hospital east of town.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record


Donald Blount: Recycling to grow young, creative minds – The saying is true. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in this case, one man’s recycling is a museum’s ingredients for creative young minds.  Blount column in Stockton Record


Conservation groups snapped up large swaths of Sierra Nevada during recession – The catastrophic collapse in real estate prices that started in 2007 left more than a legacy of mass foreclosures in the Sacramento region; it also left vast expanses of newly preserved open space in the Sierra Nevada that the public can use for recreation.  Sacramento Bee article

Mariposa County’s 300-acre Bridge fire 60 percent contained – The Bridge fire in Mariposa County was 60% contained on Saturday evening. The fire has burned 300 acres and has threatened 700 homes and five businesses, authorities said.  Fresno Bee article

Health/Human Services

Covered California plans offer benefits that often get overlooked – Carolina Coleman, the project’s research director, and John Connolly, the nonprofit’s deputy director, say that many consumers who focus only on their high deductibles may be missing some gems hidden in their existing policies.  LA Times article

Age-old drug continues to dominate – According to Kings County Narcotics Task Force Sgt. Jeff Torres, prescription medication such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Codeine and various others are often times the gateway drug into heroin use and the proof is only escalating in Kings County.  Hanford Sentinel article

Opiate overdoses: Painkillers’ toll steadily rising in Bay Area – Over the past 10 years, the number of Bay Area residents who had opiates — including commonly used prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin — in their bodies when they died has grown steadily, doubling and in some areas tripling, according to a Bay Area News Group investigation.  Contra Costa Times article

Watsonville nursing home lawsuit may drive effort to reduce overmedication – A federal lawsuit against two Watsonville nursing homes may offer a new approach to dealing with the persistent problem of such facilities overmedicating their residents.  KQED report

Vaccination controversy swirls around Orange County’s ‘Dr. Bob’ – While the vast majority of physicians are troubled by the anti-vaccination movement, Sears, 45, lends a sympathetic ear. About half his patients forgo vaccines altogether. To others, he offers “Dr. Bob’s” alternative and selective vaccination schedules, which delay or eliminate certain immunizations.  LA Times article

Other Areas

Would-be firefighters train, departments practice joint attack with Turlock house burn – An older home facing demolition got a nobler end, giving its last to train firefighters before construction begins on a fast-food outlet at Golden State Boulevard and Roberts Road, near Pitman High School.  Modesto Bee article

Mike Klocke:  Tesla’s choice, PG&E’s wrist-slap, and #dronefail – The Stockton Record editor offers random thoughts for a Sunday morning.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Jeff Jardine: Ripon man bids farewell to custom boat building – Paul Lagier built a 19-foot-long wood-plank sailboat for himself in 1954, when he was only 13 years old. Sixty years later, he’s putting the finishing touches on another boat, this one a 44-footer that represents his 44th – and final – creation.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – As we have consistently said since 2008 in opposing the project at this site, the Highway 99 casino is a classic example of “reservation shopping” and isn’t what voters intended when they approved Indian gaming. And if the casino becomes reality it will bring urban congestion to a rural area. On Nov. 4, mark your ballot “no” on Proposition 48.

Modesto Bee – If unscrupulous lawyers and phony victims are taking advantage of a 24-year-old law to harm so many – business owners, customers and the very people the ADA was designed to protect – then the law has clearly failed. It’s time to fix it. It’s time the law included some justice.

Sacramento Bee – California lacks a clear policy on gambling expansion, so voters should reject Proposition 48; To satisfy skeptics, Gov. Brown will need to provide a far more detailed analysis about the affect on the ecological health of the Delta.

Stockton Record – Stockton police hiring creeps along, as tax dollars are collected.