DOA: Behind the Chamber of Commerce's "Job Killers" List

By Gary Cohn

Capital & Main

The California Chamber of Commerce represents more than 13,000 businesses, from companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney, to local companies with small numbers of employees. From its K Street headquarters in Sacramento, the “Cal Chamber,” as it’s colloquially known, analyzes some 3,000 pieces of legislation every year. In the past 10 years, 341 of 353 — nearly 97 percent — of the bills identified by the California Chamber of Commerce failed to become law. The vast majority of these were never passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. Instead, they were killed in committee or voted down by the Legislature or amended to take out provisions opposed by the chamber.

Want to Cut Food Stamp Spending? Raise the Minimum Wage

By Dave Johnson

Today, President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. On Thursday, fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here’s something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.

The Minimum Wage

Restoring Fairness to the World of California Water

By Kate Poole

The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules. It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so, points the way to several needed reforms:

Myth 1 – urban southern California is the biggest water hog in the state.

California’s Decision on Plan Extensions

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Last Thursday, Covered California voted to provide more direct outreach and assistance to Californians who need to switch health plans at the end of the year. A special hotline number will be extended for consumers impacted, to walk them through their options:

Help with New Options

The "Real JFK" - Not Conservative, and Not Forgotten

By Richard Eskow

Listen to the breath, the unbroken message that creates itself from the silence,
it rushes towards you now, from those youthfully dead.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Duino Elegies"

Fifty years. That's how long it's been since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Half a century can seem so brief - just a flash in time - or so terribly long, an endless walk through dusty corridors.

Presidents are the products of the times at least as much they are the shapers of them. They ride into office on great waves of half-understood historical forces, waves that can make them transformative leaders or capsize them without warning.

Inequality Diminishes America's Freedom

By Warren Reed

One thing has become disturbingly clear during the country’s anemic economic recovery. Middle-income jobs are disappearing, and they’re not coming back.

The corresponding decline of America’s middle class is something that should concern the entire nation, but as a military veteran, this development directly impinges on essential American freedoms, freedoms that I helped to safeguard during my eight years with the U.S. Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion.

Most of the growth in the recent economic recovery has been due to the growth in low-wage jobs.

But how free are you when you’re paid poverty wages? Not very free at all.

Oil Company Fined for Illegally Discharging Fracking Fluid in CA

By Dan Bacher

The oil industry in California has constantly claimed that fracking (hydraulic fracturing) for oil and natural gas is "safe" and doesn't harm the environment.

"An honest appraisal of the science and common sense around hydraulic fracturing leads to a conclusion the technology we’ve used without harm in California for 60 plus years is safe and its benefits a blessing," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), earlier this year.

Brown Vetoed 'Wiser Choice' in Drug Possession Prosecution with SB 649

By Dan Aiello

California's drug laws will remain steeped with inconsistent consequences for those convicted of simple possession after Governor Jerry Brown's October veto of a bill to make unlawful possession of certain controlled substances, including opiates, punishable as either a felony or as a misdemeanor.

Current law mandates a felony charge for possession of any opiate-based narcotic, while allowing for other drugs like L.S.D. and Methamphetamine to be "wobblers," allowing local District Attorneys to prosecute as either felony or misdemeanor.

"Ban the Box" Helps Forge Strong Labor-Community Alliances

By Maurice Emsellem

National Employment Law Project

At the National Employment Law Project (NELP), where we advocate for low-wage and unemployed workers, some of our most inspiring moments have come from being involved in campaigns where labor and the community work together for greater economic justice.

Water Everywhere, Water Nowhere

By Rev. Jimm COnn

As every resident of the Southland must know by now, this month marks the centennial of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. When, in 1913, the valves were first turned and water rushed down the last hillside between the Eastern Sierra and the San Fernando Valley, William Mulholland, the brilliant self-taught engineer who guided the project, and whose career would end when the St. Francis Dam collapsed, famously said, “There it is. Take it.”