By Peter Schrag
It’s been just a little over a year since Lieut. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined a covey of California legislators, all but one of them Republicans, to learn how Gov. Rick Perry pulled off his job-creating Texas miracle.
If you believed that their junket to the Lone Star State was anything but a political stunt you also had to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
But it worked like magic (yes, this is a joke). In the year since they returned, California has gained nearly half again as many jobs percentage wise as the nation as a whole – up 2 percent vs. 1.4 percent. The California miracle.
By Terrance Heath
Campaign for America’s Future
Scratch the surface of just about any economic debate this election year, and you'll find one issue that goes all the way to the core: the yawning gap between the 1% and the rest of us, as skyrocketing income inequality. A new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), "Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage," shows the extremes of that divide, and makes the case for raising the federal minimum wage as a means of closing that gap, and putting the national economy on the road to a real recovery.
By Danielle Riendeau
ACLU of Northern California
On Wednesday, July 18th the ACLU and community members gathered to support Juana Reyes, who is facing deportation after an arrest for selling tamales outside of the Florin Rd. Walmart in Sacramento and to urge the passage of the TRUST Act.
Juana Reyes is your neighbor, your friend, or your family member. The food vendor and mother of two was recently arrested, chained and held in immigration detention for two weeks (while her children were taken away and placed in foster care) - all because she was selling tamales in front of a Sacramento Walmart.
By Kevin Stein
California Reinvestment Coalition
Leading community organizations today report evidence of a two-tiered mortgage market characterized by high rates of government-backed loans made both to borrowers in communities of color and to minority borrowers in their new report, “PAYING MORE FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM VI: RACIAL DISPARITIES IN FHA/VA LENDING.”
By Dean Preston
Yesterday, Tenants Together, California's statewide organization for renters' rights, released its fourth annual report on California renters in the foreclosure crisis. The report reveals a shocking statistic: over one million California renters have been directly impacted by their landlord’s foreclosure since the mortgage meltdown began.
According to Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director at Tenants Together and principal author of the report, “We are five years and a million tenants into this crisis in California. Anti-eviction laws and aggressive enforcement efforts are needed to protect tenants from further abuse.”
By Randall G. Shelden
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Smoke a joint one day and next thing you know you are hooked on heroin or cocaine. I recall sitting in on a panel discussion on drugs at UNLV and a couple of the “experts” repeated the claim. One man in the audience who was apparently an ex-con told the audience something like “everyone I knew in prison who used heroin or cocaine also smoked pot.” My protests to the contrary fell upon deaf ears.
Part of this myth is the confusion of cause and effect. Most of the time those who argue in favor of the gateway myth look at all the people who have used heroin or cocaine and when they learn that most of them first used pot they assume therefore the use of pot led to the use of the other drugs. They forget that heroin and cocaine users are a very small group whereas pot users are a very large group (over half of all Americans have used pot compared to less than 5% who use the other two drugs). Most that use marijuana never use the other two drugs.
By Jenesse Miller
California League of Conservation Voters
Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
I'm a "good news first" kind of person, so here it is: The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it is now illegal for baby bottles and sippy cups to contain the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). The announcement comes less than a year after California passed the Toxin-Free Infant and Toddlers Act, a ban on BPA in these products made or sold in California authored by Assemblymember Betsy Butler.
BPA was originally created as a synthetic sex hormone and is widely used in certain plastics and epoxy resins. Scientific studies link BPA exposure to increased risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, and reproductive, neurological, and developmental disorders in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies.
By Claudia Magana
University of California Student Association
At the UC Regents meeting yesterday, students and allies stressed the need for the Regents to stand with students and publicly support Governor Brown’s Tax Initiative, Prop 30. If passed, Prop 30 would buy-out all 2012-13 UC fee increases and freeze tuition for the upcoming school year by providing an additional $125 million to the UC. If the initiative fails, the UC will receive a $250 million trigger cut and also lose the $125 million tuition buyout.
Dual Enrollment Not Just for High Achievers Early College Improves Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students Too
By Katherine L. Hughes
Dual enrollment—in which high school students take college courses for credit—was once considered the exclusive province of college-bound high school students seeking more challenging classes. However, a new study from the Community College Research Center that I authored has found that dual enrollment can offer tangible benefits for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education.
The three-year study looked at eight career-focused dual enrollment programs across California and found that participating students demonstrated improved performance on a range of high school and college outcomes. Sixty percent of participants were students of color, forty percent came from non-English speaking homes, and at least one third had parents with no prior college experience.
By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation
The voices of doom and decline say that high-speed rail cannot be built in California. They’ve tried to stop the forces of progress by calling high-speed rail "a boondoggle" and "a waste." This is not a new phenomenon. Enemies of progress said the same thing about the Golden Gate Bridge, built in the middle of the Great Depression. They screamed “boondoggle” at every major public works project in the 20th century while California was constructing a world-class infrastructure of freeways, dams, bridges and aqueducts that fostered a golden age of middle-class growth.
The Labor Movement rejects the voices of doom, because we have a vision for California. We know it’s time to invest in California’s future, starting with construction of high-speed rail.