September 8, 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

From deep in the Valley: Perea and the ‘New Dems’ – It should come as no surprise that a representative from the Central Valley’s largest city heads California’s New Democratic lawmakers. “Our official name is the New Democrats, but everyone refers to us as the ‘mods’ and that’s fine too,” says Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, a Fresno native. “When I took over chairing the mods, our reputation for a long time — since our founding — had really been a group of Democrats that kills bills. I wanted to change that reputation.”  Capitol Weekly article

Legislature passes three of top four bills backed by organized labor – Organized labor is having a good year at the Capitol. The Democrat-dominated Legislature passed and sent to the governor three of four union-priority bills. And Gov. Jerry Brown has already indicated he’ll sign at least one of them.  LA Times article

Gov. Brown

California’s Brown turns foes to friends in No. 1 economy – Again at the helm of the nation-sized state and up for re-election, Brown has shown bipartisanship can work in Sacramento, even as it fails in Washington, as he steers California to projected surpluses from record deficits. He won almost unanimous votes on $7.5 billion of bonds for projects to battle an historic drought and on a rainy-day reserve fund to cushion against economic downturns.  Bloomberg article

Valley politics

AD21: Jack Mobley: More storage key to California water needs – The candidate for state Assembly District 21 writes, “If one fact has become clear to us during the drought, it is that we need more water storage in California.” Mobley op-ed in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Money starts flowing in for Valley casino measure Prop 48 – Money is beginning to pour into the statewide battle over Indian gaming compacts as voters will consider in November whether to allow what critics call “off-reservation” gaming in California.  Fresno Bee article

Republicans gaining traction in push to turn Silicon Valley red – Creativity and hard work also describe conservatives’ efforts to make inroads with the Bay Area’s innovation economy. Republicans, after musing about the possibility for more than a decade, have finally found a footing in Silicon Valley, ingratiating themselves with tech entrepreneurs who had long eschewed politics in general, conservative politics in particular.  LA Times article


Democrats criticize Obama on immigration-order delay – With President Obama deciding not to take executive action on immigration until after the November election, some Democrats took to the Sunday talk shows to voice their frustration with him and with Congress’ continued inaction. LA Times article

Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure – Hispanic lawmakers and immigration advocates harshly criticized President Barack Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration and vowed to keep pressuring him to make bold changes. Reuters article

Other areas

Dan Walters: As home care program shifts, adversarial relationship evolves – IHSS workers are paid, in most cases, only slightly more than minimum wages, so union dues can be a major bite and many might opt out of paying them under the Supreme Court’s decree. The 30-minute meeting provided in the new legislation, now on Brown’s desk, would seem to be aimed at counteracting the decision’s effects on the unions’ revenue streams.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Dan Walters Daily: Scandals trump accomplishments for California Legislature – Despite a productive legislative session, public opinion of California lawmakers took a dive this year, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee: Five primary picks we still support in November – There are a handful of races in which a candidate who received our endorsement in the June primary advanced to the general election. We don’t switch endorsements unless something untoward or unusual happens between a primary election. Below are the recaps of our original endorsement in those five races.  Sacramento Bee editorial

With shutdown deadline looming, 5 things to watch for as Congress returns – Most lawmakers appear poised to handle only the most basic business of government before returning to the midterm election campaign trail. At the top of the agenda is a measure to fund federal agencies to avoid another government shutdown. With just two short weeks of work expected on Capitol Hill before lawmakers break again until after the November election, here are five things to watch for.  LA Times article

Schwarzenegger makes rare return to state capital – The Governator is back. Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to the state capital on Monday for two high-profile public events to discuss California’s fight against climate change and unveil his official portrait at the Capitol. Both events are expected to highlight more positive aspects of his two terms as California governor.  Sacramento Bee article

Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada gay marriage laws in court – For the first time since it declared California’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the federal appeals court in San Francisco is readying to hear arguments over same-sex weddings in a political and legal climate that’s vastly different than when it overturned Proposition 8 in 2012.  AP article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Health costs for counties rise with influx of inmates – Since the state gave counties responsibility for incarcerating lower-level offenders three years ago, health care costs at county jails have gone up dramatically – and legal actions threaten to push them even higher. The state’s 10 biggest counties spent $560 million on medical and psychological care for inmates last fiscal year, a 16 percent jump over the fiscal year that ended in 2011, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of data provided by the counties.  Sacramento Bee article

The lessons of Tesla – The green-powered booster rocket that was to have jet-fueled Stockton’s economic rebirth instead sped right through town last week, never stopping until it was safely over the state line and into its new, gold-plated parking space in Nevada.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

CalSTRS debt report drops from $167 billion to $59.5 billion – CalSTRS was bracing to report the nation’s biggest pension debt under new government accounting rules that take effect this fiscal year — $167 billion, an amount so huge some thought it might increase the cost of issuing local school bonds. But a long-sought rate increase approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brown in the nick of time, a week before the current fiscal year began July 1, will allow CalSTRS to report a debt that is shrinking not ballooning.  Calpensions article

Fresno Bee: Parks, FPOA do their best for Fresno – We cite the leadership of Fresno Police Officers Association President Jacky Parks in bringing about a tentative agreement with City Hall that should result in three years of labor peace, better working conditions for officers and a safer Fresno.  Fresno Bee editorial

Regulators blew chance to bring labor scofflaws into line – Cheaters across the United States used a scheme that was staggering in its simplicity: wrongly treating employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes. Five years later, Devaney acknowledges that his group, working at the top levels of the Obama administration, wasn’t paying attention to misclassification.  McClatchy Newspapers article

FHA to ban lenders from charging extra interest payments on mortgages – Hundreds of thousands of home sellers have had their pockets picked at closings during the last decade: They’ve been charged interest on their mortgages after their principal debts had been fully paid off. But thanks to a policy switch that was recently made final, charging extra interest payments on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will soon be banned.  LA Times article


Temperance Flat dam project moves ahead – A plan put in motion more than 10 years ago that some officials say will help offset the effects of future droughts took a step forward Friday when officials from the Bureau of Reclamation released the draft environmental impact report for a proposed reservoir near Fresno.  Visalia Times-Delta article

GMO experiments receive questionable oversight – At a secret location among the vineyards of California’s Central Coast, a plot of genetically engineered corn is producing proteins for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, including an experimental vaccine for hepatitis B.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Tulare County changing course for jail money – Tulare County supervisors could decide on Tuesday to revise the county’s application seeking more than $6.5 million in additional state funding to help pay for a new jail north of Visalia.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Rally for David Sal Silva seeks only justice – Their placards garnered stares and occasional honks from passing traffic. But the two dozen people gathered Sunday at the Liberty Bell to remember David Sal Silva and his May 8, 2013 death in a struggle with Kern County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers said they wanted more: justice.  Bakersfield Californian article


UC helps build resources, revenue at private Armenian university – Wedged like a peach pit surrounded by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran sits a nation half the size of Lake Michigan with great weather, ancient history, and a dazzling private university run largely by – that’s right – the University of California.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Modesto City Schools yard duties to have hearing on union representation – Modesto City Schools will hold a reception for new administrators before tonight’s board meeting, which will include a public hearing on yard duty supervisors joining the union for school support staff.  Modesto Bee article

Taft coach Prosser ‘given option to resign’ – Taft coach Jarudd Prosser said the Taft High School District has given him ‘the option of resigning’ as the Wildcats’ varsity football coach. Prosser, whose team had players involved in an apparent hazing incident earlier this week and canceled its game against Highland, said he would not resign.  Bakersfield Californian article


Yosemite hikers evacuated as backcountry wildfire takes off – A small, lingering brush fire in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park exploded into a large wildfire Sunday, prompting park officials to evacuate hikers by helicopter from Half Dome and the wilderness above Yosemite Valley, park officials said.  Fresno Bee articleAP articleLA Times article

Earthquake: 3.2 quake strikes near Cambria – A shallow magnitude 3.2 earthquake was reported Sunday evening four miles from Cambria, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 11:10 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 2.5 miles.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Two women on a mission to reform assisted living in California – Many of us dream of starting a revolution. Few of us make it happen. One of the most dramatic stories of the last year belongs to a loose collection of activists, working to reform assisted living oversight in California. Together with lawmakers, these activists launched 17 bills in Sacramento, 12 of which passed, 2 of which have become law, so far. It’s a big story, but let’s break off one piece, involving a couple women in San Diego with a passion for raw data, strong coffee and home-baked muffins.  KQED report

San Francisco Fire Department hires private ambulances amid major shortage – A critical shortage of city ambulances forced the San Francisco Fire Department to make a 911 call to private ambulances to help cover the city one recent Saturday night.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Land Use/Housing

Huge Lathrop housing project has its big day – River Islands is a miracle itself, almost 30 years in the making — a sprawling site (900 acres in the first phase) that has evolved three times since it was first announced in the late 1980s as Gold Rush City, a combined theme park and megadevelopment. At build-out in 25 years, River Islands will have 11,000 new homes, 35,000 residents and will double the size of Lathrop.  Stockton Record article

Sacramento pursuing plan to allow urban farms – They wouldn’t allow livestock – except for those three hens we can already keep in our backyards – but would permit empty lots to be turned into commercial farms. You could see a 1-acre lot in a residential neighborhood – or an even bigger lot out by the warehouses along Power Inn Road – filled with lines of vegetables and fruit trees. The farmers who work those fields would be permitted to sell their goods.  Sacramento Bee article


Kathleen Ashland: Anti-GET demeanor undermines bus system and penalizes riders – The GET board member writes, “I am concerned that people are working to decimate GET, defame honorable board members, vilify our excellent CEO and run her out of town. Why would they want to penalize our riders and undermine our community’s bus system? Howard Silver and Norris Ledbetter have served our community selflessly, and Karen King is a transit professional of the highest caliber. If my town treats her and GET Board members like this, who do they think they can get next?”  Ashland op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Metrolink’s annual ridership continues to drop – Once hailed as the fastest-growing commuter line in the nation, the railroad has seen its annual ridership drop by almost 595,000 passengers since 2008, with resulting losses in revenue. That and other factors have left the agency squeezed between trimming service or boosting fares, either of which could prompt more defections.  LA Times article

Other Areas

Legal use of marijuana clashes with job rules – Brandon Coats knew he was going to fail his drug test. Paralyzed in a car crash when he was 16, he had been using medical marijuana since 2009 to relieve the painful spasms that jolted his body. But he smoked mostly at night, and said marijuana had never hurt his performance answering customer calls for a Colorado satellite-television provider.  New York Times article

Merced supervisors consider 5-year ambulance contract – The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider approving a five-year contract with Sierra Medical Services Alliance, the Nevada nonprofit that is buying out Riggs Ambulance Service, the longtime Merced County provider.  Merced Sun-Star article

Arson arrests help curb Fresno fires – Fire investigators have made significant progress curbing a rash of arson fires that rocked Fresno this summer, thanks to the arrest of more than a dozen suspects.  Fresno Bee article

Bee Investigator: On those early-morning garbage collections – Early garbage pickups may be a nuisance, but they’re not violating the law.  Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We cite the leadership of Fresno Police Officers Association President Jacky Parks in bringing about a tentative agreement with City Hall that should result in three years of labor peace, better working conditions for officers and a safer Fresno.

Merced Sun-Star – If North Fork is approved, it will set a precedent for more casinos in a state that is flying by the seat of its pants on gambling policy. Until that changes, that’s reason enough to vote “no.”

Modesto Bee – If North Fork is approved, it will set a precedent for more casinos in a state that is flying by the seat of its pants on gambling policy. Until that changes, that’s reason enough to vote “no.”

Sacramento Bee – There are a handful of races in which a candidate who received our endorsement in the June primary advanced to the general election. We don’t switch endorsements unless something untoward or unusual happens between a primary election. Below are the recaps of our original endorsement in those five races.

Visalia Times-Delta – The residents of the tiny community of Seville in the north part of Tulare County got good news about water for a change: It’s finally safe to drink. Thumbs Up to the county for making it happen despite a very long wait for these residents.