Governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan Point Man Resigns

By Dan Bacher

Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Jerry Brown's point man for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, announced his retirement from "state service," effective December 31.

The resignation was announced the day after over 400 people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, farmers, Southern California water ratepayers, environmentalists and elected officials, rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento against the proposed water export tunnels.

The Best and Worst of 2013

By Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron

Post- presidential re-election years are rarely memorable, but 2013 was an exception. Nationally, fast food, Walmart and other low-wage workers engaged in their most powerful strikes and protests in decades. President Obama was spurred to call growing inequality the defining issue of our times, reaffirming the Occupy movement's chief message. Immigrant rights activists battled all year for immigration reform, winning Senate passage and putting House Republicans on the defensive.

Trucking Companies to California: Your Laws Don't Apply to Us

By Jon Zerolnick

LAANE

Several leading port trucking companies have taken a bold new position in the ongoing battle over whether or not they are misclassifying drivers as independent contractors. In recent filings with the U.S. District Court, they have attempted to position themselves as beyond the reach of California’s employee protection laws. In effect, they are saying that whether or not they are misclassifying drivers there is nothing the State of California can do about it.

Fight Over Google Buses Shows Need For Statewide Rail Funding Plan

By Robert Cruickshank

A battle that has been simmering for years finally exploded into the open Monday in San Francisco, where protestors blocked one of Google’s private buses that carries workers from their homes in the Mission to Google HQ in Mountain View. Protestors charged that Google was contributing to a two-tier transportation system in the Bay Area, where tech workers get free express bus service whereas everyone else has to make do with transit systems like Muni, BART and Caltrain that are increasingly struggling to meet soaring demand.

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.