Can We Have Bank and Regulator Hearings in California Too?

By Kevin Stein

California Reinvestment Coalition

This morning, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs will hold a hearing: "Improving Financial Institution Supervision: Examining and Addressing Regulatory Capture" to focus on recent, embarrassing revelations (stories here , here, here and here) about the New York Federal Reserve. Senators are concerned that this important bank regulator is not actually fulfilling its supervisory role, and instead has become deferential to the mega-banks it supervises, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and others.

Big Real Estate Loses Key Anti-Tenant Democrats

By Dean Preston

Tenants Together

Many ambitious legislators in Sacramento believe that their path to victory is by selling out tenants and aligning with realtors and landlords. No doubt they get campaign money for playing this game. But several Democrats around the state have learned the hard way that supporting Big Real Estate to the detriment of working people is not a good strategy for re-election.

Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton) sold out tenants by casting the deciding vote to kill Ellis Act reform. She thought this would keep Big Real Estate at bay in her effort to win reelection. She had a rude awakening and lost her seat 55-45%.

Wage Theft Confidential: Do Laws Work?

By Seth Sandronsky

California has roughly a dozen labor codes governing wage-theft on the books, with more proposed each year in the state legislature. Are these laws proving effective? Fausto Hernandez is one worker who doesn't think they are. The 55-year-old native of Oaxaca, Mexico, has labored in the carwash business for a decade.

Missing The Big Picture About California's Low Electric Bills

By Sierra Martinez

Natural Resources Defense Council

Despite all the facts, the myth that Californians pay a lot of money for their electricity every month continues to be perpetuated, with its proponents using their misguided interpretation of the data to justify their claim that California shouldn’t be the model for developing a clean energy future.

This time around, it was a Forbes blog contributor who fell for the same misconception, mistakenly claiming that California’s clean energy progress is too expensive and shouldn’t be a model for ways to cut America’s emissions from existing power plants.

Where Black Teens And White Middle-Agers Get Equally Busted For Drugs

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

In 1986, more than 8,000 black teenagers were arrested across Los Angeles County for drug offenses. After a steady, steep decline, that number fell to just 400 in 2013. Meanwhile, drug arrests of L.A.’s white middle-agers more than doubled. From the peak arrest year (1986) to the present, a huge shift in racial patterns has emerged:

Why Americans Don't Vote

By Randy Shaw

Yesterday was Election Day, but millions of eligible voters did not cast ballots. I used to wonder why Democrats could not prevent such a significant drop off between midterm and presidential election turnouts, until I accepted that many voters quite rationally see their lives unaffected casting ballots.

Many find non-voting to be repellent. Progressives can't believe people think it makes no difference whether a pro-choice, green Democratic Senator like Colorado's Mark Udall defeats the anti-choice, right wing zealot Cory Gardner. There is so much evidence that who we elect makes a real difference that we cannot fathom why the working and lower-income voters who government could most help don't go to the polls.

10 Things You Should Know About GMOs and GMO Labeling

By Carole Bartolotto

Even though they have been in our food supply for years, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about GMOs. There are legitimate environmental and societal concerns including the corporate control of the food supply, loss of crop diversity, and the escalating use of herbicides. The safety of GMOs is a whole other matter and something that is very important to me as a health professional.

Proponents claim they offer a plethora of benefits including higher yields, more nutritious food to feed the hungry, fewer weeds and bugs, and a decrease in herbicide use. But reality tells an entirely different story. While they make millions for multinational corporations, they don't offer consumers a thing.

Goliath Gets Bigger: Prop. 1 War Chest Grows to $16.4 Million

By Dan Bacher

The debate over the pros and cons of Prop. 1, Jerry Brown's $7.5 billion water bond, is very important, but an even bigger issue in any environmental battle or process is the money behind the campaign.

The big corporate money behind the water bond largely determines who the bond will benefit - billionaires, corporate agribusiness, oil companies and the 1 percent, not the people, fish or wildlife of California.

Contributions to Governor Jerry Brown's Yes on Props 1 and 2 Committee have jumped to $13,880,528.43, according to the latest data posted on the California Secretary of State's website.

Burden of the Boom: Who Will Pay the Price for Fracking in California?

By Miriam Rotkin-Ellman

Natural Resources Defense Council

From polluted skies to contaminated drinking water and hazardous waste, communities of color in California get way more than their fair share. If the oil and gas industry gets their way, drilling – and the environmental and health threats from fracking, acidizing, and other technologies – will be piled onto communities already staggering under smoggy skies and unsafe water.

Most Favor Water Bond, Rainy Day Fund Gains Ground

By Public Policy Institute of California

Jerry Brown maintains his strong lead among likely voters in the governor's race against Neel Kashkari. Among two statewide ballot measures that Brown is campaigning for, Proposition 1—the $7.5 billion water bond—continues to have majority support and Proposition 2—the "rainy day fund"—has gained ground since September, with about half of likely voters in favor today.

A majority continue to favor Proposition 47, the measure to reduce sentences for some drug and property offenses. Support for Proposition 45—which would give the state insurance commissioner authority over health insurance rates—has declined since last month and continues to fall short of a majority.