megan's blog


Jerry Brown Defends Use of Cap-and-Trade Funds for HSR

By Robert Cruickshank

The Sacramento Bee ran into Jerry Brown as he filed papers for his fourth campaign for governor, and asked him about funds for the high speed rail project:

Right now my main focus is the litigation in the 3rd Court of Appeals, I’m hopeful we will get that resolved quickly. And yes, in addition to the bond issues, the sources of funding have been one of the greatest questions of the critics, and I think cap-and-trade is very appropriate, because high speed rail reduces greenhouse gases [Brown emphasized that point], there’s no question about that, it’s much cheaper than building more freeways, or attempting to build more runways. So from an environmental and fiscal point of view, or even from a convenience point of view, given the fact that we have a number of people who are aging, and I hope to be one of those people over the next 20 years, it’ll be a lot better to be sitting on a high speed passenger rail than sitting behind a wheel trying to weave your way down I-5 or 99.

California Family Farmers Band Together to Halt Fracking

By Dan Bacher

California family farmers, now struggling with a record drought that has been exacerbated by poor management of the state's reservoirs and rivers by the state and federal governments, are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to place a moratorium on the water-intensive oil and gas extraction process known as fracking or hydraulic fracturing.

Governor Brown currently supports the expansion of environmentally destructive fracking operations in California, as well as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels.

A 'Dry Day Fund' for California Farms

By Claire O'Connor

Natural Resources Defense Council

My grandfather, Art, is 82 years old. I’d say he’s been farming for about 80 years, give or take a few months. He’s supposedly “retired” now, but he’s still out in the field every day with my dad during planting and harvest season on our corn and soybean farm in Nebraska.

New Studies Show Inclusion of Immigrant Youth but More to Do

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Consumer, community, and health organizations cheered new studies Tuesday from University of California showing how the state has gone beyond federal law to extend coverage to immigrant youth who have “deferred action” status. The studies show that this expansion, including in last year’s California budget and Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act, extends to 125,000 Californians with “deferred action” immigration status, including DREAM Act students and young adults.

The first two parts of the report are available for download here.

Vergara v. California's Corporate Heart

By Julie Gutman Dickinson

Are job protections for teachers to blame for educational underachievement among low-income students of color in California? That’s the provocative question ostensibly at the heart of Vergara vs. California, which seeks to invalidate the tenure, due process and seniority rights of hundreds of thousands of educators.

Astute observers of the nation’s escalating education wars, however, may be asking another question: When did it become permissible to use the welfare of children as a fig leaf for an all-out legal attack on teachers?

State Senators Mitchell and Leno Introduce Fracking Moratorium Bill

By Dan Bacher

State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) have introduced legislation that would impose a moratorium on fracking and acidization in order to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction.

The bill was introduced as California reels from a record drought and Governor Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the fish-killing peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

State Building Trades Urges Legislature to Fund HSR

By Robert Cruickshank

The Tea Party (and their newest friend, Gavin Newsom) may be continuing their war against high speed rail. But California’s labor unions, a key Democratic constituency, remain deeply supportive of the project. Robbie Hunter of the State Building and Construction Trades Council explains why:

Walmart's New Research: A Flattering Self-Portrait

By Steve Mikulan

Last year Walmart commissioned a study on itself, and now its findings can be revealed: Walmart is the greatest thing since penicillin. More specifically, the study sees the chain-store titan’s widening footprint on America’s retail landscape as a gift for the communities lucky enough to have a Supercenter land on them.

California's Shark Fin Ban Remains Intact

By Jenesse Miller

California League of Conservation Voters

California's landmark ban on buying and selling shark fins will go forward.

Last summer, soon after the state law (AB 376) went into effect, a federal rule change threatened to preempt the law and provide cover for shark fin hunters.

Thousands of CLCV supporters and many others spoke up and submitted public comments to the federal agency proposing the change, telling the agency not to undermine California’s effort to end our state’s role in the destructive practice of shark finning.

We're thrilled that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) heard us. The agency released a statement this week saying:

Democrats Methodically Stripping Republicans Of Immigration Excuses

By Bill Scher

Throughout the immigration debate, Republicans have run phony excuses for delay, Democrats keep stripping them away, and the process keeps moving forward.

Last June when the Senate was deliberating immigration reform, and Republicans were complaining that it didn’t do enough border security, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer’s team suggested a multibillion-dollar “border surge.”

The deadlock was broken and the bill passed with a solid bipartisan vote.

Then House Republicans rejected the Senate’s “comprehensive” approach and signaled its preference for a series of “piecemeal” bills – without explaining their desire to delink any legalization of undocumented immigrants with other aspects of immigration reform.