Having spoken with a number of people in SPD who are "in the know" about LTC, I do not believe that the change in policy indicates an intent to issue more LTC. If anything, the new policy is a way to cover their cost up-front of processing the application... regardless of if it is approved or denied. That being said, it never hurts to apply and you will never know until you try.
I would recommend talking to/applying with Escalon PD first. While I have not heard of them actively issuing, it may be as simple as no one has asked. Like I said before, you never know until you try.