Who's to Blame for Oil Waste in Californians' Drinking Water?

By Briana Mordick

Natural Resources Defense Council

New information from the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) reveals that decades of poor record-keeping, lax oversight, and - in some cases - outright defiance of the law has allowed oil and gas operators to inject potentially toxic oil and gas wastewater into federally protected drinking water aquifers.

Activists Must Do More Than Disrupt

By Randy Shaw

As young people across the nation continue to block highways and transit systems, their commitment to the cause of racial justice has stirred millions. In the St. Louis region whose Ferguson shooting galvanized nationwide protests, longtime activists Laura Barrett of the Gamaliel Network reports that groups are coming together behind very specific agendas to address core racial issues. Barrett notes that "the courage of young protesters has been inspirational and has helped older civil rights activists recommit to the cause."

Killing by California Law Enforcement: It Is What You Think (Part II)

By Mike Males

Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice

The previous blog reported CJCJ’s surprising finding that the communities where people are most likely to be shot to death by law enforcement are not stereotypically mean-street cities such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Compton, or Salinas, but remote towns like Eureka, Desert Hot Springs, Vista, and Moreno Valley.

However, when it comes to who officers kill, California’s pattern looks like the rest of the country’s. Table 1’s summary of 13 years of officer-involved killings in California shows familiar risks.

Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Economic Justice

By Martin J. Bennett

Commemorations on the Martin Luther King holiday tend to portray a moderate civil rights leader who aimed to end segregation and racial discrimination by nonviolent direct action.

Often forgotten is his lifelong belief that a "radical restructuring of the architecture of American society" was needed, and that the fight for racial equality and the struggle for economic justice are intertwined.

As University of Washington historian Michael Honey demonstrates in his book All Labor Has Dignity, for King, race and class were inseparable and only a mass interracial movement of poor and working people could achieve inclusion and full citizenship for all.

California High-Speed Rail: Worth Every Penny and Then Some

By Alan Kandel

On Jan. 6, 2015, in downtown Fresno in front of a mostly celebratory and welcoming crowd and in the presence of an armada of journalists and dignitaries, the virtues of California’s 800-mile high-speed rail system were extolled. The first 520 miles of which will link San Francisco and Los Angeles by way of the San Joaquin Valley. California Governor Brown gave the keynote address. A symbolic groundbreaking followed – in this case consisting of the on-hand dignitaries putting their signatures to rails and fasteners (tie-plates, mainly) and made possible with special markers that enabled such ink to adhere once dry.

Tenant Legislation to Watch in 2015

By Dean Preston

Tenants Together

Landlords and tenants in Sacramento are in a bit of a standoff these days, with each side having far more success killing the other’s bills than advancing their own agenda. This means that most logical solutions to today’s problems for tenants will not be introduced or adopted in Sacramento this year. Don’t hold your breath waiting to see a bill introducing statewide rent control this session. That said, there will be important bills tackling major tenant issues in 2015. Potential state bills include legislation to fund the renters’ rebate, ban Section 8 discrimination, reform the Ellis Act, and extend protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence.

Killing by Law Enforcement in California: It's Not What You Think (Part I)

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Who do cops shoot in California? The most powerful, tragic images are of young African Americans like Oscar Grant in 2009 and Ezell Ford last August, victims of harsh policing in racially segregated and underserved areas like east Oakland and south central Los Angeles. Yet in remote towns like Eureka and a cluster in the southern deserts (Desert Hot Springs, Vista, Perris, Hemet, and Indio), people are much more likely to be killed by officers — not just in per capita rates, but often in raw numbers.

The Unintended Side Effects of Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse

Twinkle VanFleetBy Twinkle VanFleet

A workplace accident in 2001 changed my life forever. While working as a part-time grocery checker and cashier, I suffered an incident that led to the tendons being torn from the bones of my right foot. After an initial misdiagnosis, I ultimately discovered that I had a rare central nervous system disorder that subsequently altered my skin, blood vessels, muscles, bones, and caused atrophy and other issues to my body. Since my accident, pain has become an unbearable, unmanageable, and near-constant presence in my life.

Tunnel Critics Urge Brown To Inaugurate a New Water Solution

By Dan Bacher

In his inaugural address Monday at the State Capitol in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown made two references to California water as he discussed an array of issues. These included repaying the state's debt, funding education, promoting renewable energy and efficiency, addressing climate change, expanding health care, and dealing with changes in the criminal justice system.

He didn't specifically mention the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) during his talk, but he did tout the water bond and California Water Action Plan as "solutions" to California's water problems.

New Health Laws and Fresh Opportunities for the New Year

By Judi Hilman

Health Access

The New Year 2015 brings fresh opportunity to deliver on the promise of health reform and affordable coverage and care, and several new laws went into effect on January 1st.

SB 964 Provider Network Adequacy (Hernandez) addresses the issue of narrow networks and whether enrollees in health plans (including but not limited to those in Covered CA and Medi-Cal) have adequate access to care. With more and more Californians signing up for coverage in this second open enrollment season, this law, which requires the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to provide stronger oversight of network adequacy, was long overdue.