megan's blog


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.

Western States Petroleum Association Top Spender In 2013

By Dan Bacher

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento, spent over $4.67 million, more than any other interest group, while lobbying state government in 2013, according to data released by the Secretary State's Office and compiled by Capitol Weekly.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called marine protected areas in Southern California, led the successful campaign last year by the oil industry to defeat all one bill to ban or regulate the environmentally destructive practice of fracking last year.

California Counties, Realignment, and Crime Trends: 58 Different Stories

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

California prisons hold around 30,000 fewer inmates today than 30 months ago, the result of AB 109’s Public Safety Realignment. Realignment mandated that as of October 1, 2011, tens of thousands of non-violent, lower-level offenders who formerly would have been sent to state prison must be “realigned” to local criminal justice systems.

Car Dependent Californians

By Alan Kandel

First, some statistics.

There are 22 million Californians driving, according to Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters. Golden State population numbering an approximate 38 million people strong, that roughly 58 percent of us drive is one thing. But having 27.5 million motor vehicles at our disposal with which to do this – what is this saying?! What it says is: for every driver there exist 1.25 cars or five automobiles for every four motorists. Do we Californians love our cars or what?!

New Study Finds Worrisome Pattern of Birth Defects in Fracking Communities

By Miriam Rotkin-Ellman

Natural Resouces Defense Council

Science has long known that the developing fetus is sensitive to experiences of the mother – alcohol consumption, dietary factors, and mercury exposure are some of the more well-known examples. This sensitivity makes newborn babies an early indicator of something going wrong in the environment of the mother. Unfortunately, a team of researchers found preliminary evidence of something gone wrong when they looked at the patterns of birth defects in newborn babies in Colorado. The researchers found that babies whose mothers lived in close proximity to multiple oil and gas wells were 30% more likely to be born with defects in their heart than babies born to mothers who did not live close to oil and gas wells.

Coordinating Health Care for California's 'Dual Eligibles'

By Viji Sundaram

Seventy-four year old Willie Posey has his hands full keeping up with his own health care needs, which include diabetes, a bad knee and neurological problems. On top of that, he also drives his 87-year-old sister to the hospital for her dialysis treatment.

Posey's income barely tops $15,000 a year, combining Social Security payments with $400 a month as his sister's caregiver, and another $400 a month as a facilitator for recovering drug addicts. Both he and his sister qualify for Medi-Cal, California's name for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. They are also enrolled in Medicare, the federal insurance program for elders and people with disabilities. Since they qualify for both programs, they are known as dual eligibles.

An FDR Birthday Wish: Unapologetic FDRs for Tomorrow

By Richard Eskow

Yesterday, January 30, was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday. In a week of mourning for Pete Seeger, that’s a good time to remember what Pete’s friend Woody Guthrie had to say in song about FDR: “This world was lucky to see him born.”

The White House website’s biography of Roosevelt says that, in a time of national crisis, “he restored our faith in ourselves.” That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. He restored our faith in government, and in government’s ability to serve as the expression of our best selves.

How California’s Growing Income Gap Affects Our Schools

By Peter Mathews

An American child’s chance of acquiring a quality education depends more on the parents’ income than on almost anything else, including ethnicity.

Because property taxes are a key source for K-12 funding, affluent districts have more to spend on education. Low-income districts don’t have the resources and facilities necessary to help most of their students achieve their potential. Governor Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula is a small step in the right direction. But even with it, the affluent Shoreline Unified School District in Marin County will spend around $18,000 per pupil, while less affluent Long Beach Unified will spend around $9,000. Lynwood Unified School District will spend even less. Money isn’t everything, but an adequate amount is necessary.

Someone Is Suing the Schools over Teacher Tenure

By Duane Campbell

Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press reported on January 26 in the Sacramento Bee that nine public school students are suing the state over laws on teacher tenure and seniority, which really means that the usual anti-union corporate machine has launched a new front in the war on teachers.

These students (or their parents) want to invalidate a series of current laws which protect teachers from political interference. Their campaign foci just happen to coincide with campaigns of a variety of the usual corporate suspects: Michellle Rhee, the Waltons, Students First, Democrats for Educational Reform, and other well financed political action committees.