Greenwald, David

David Greenwald is a contributing writer for the California Progress Report. His online journal The People’s Vanguard of Davis uncovers the news in and around the city of Davis.

Sacramento DA Weighing Whether to Charge Teachers, Protesters Arrested Protesting Education Cuts At Capitol

By David Greenwald

According to attorneys for some of the 71 arrested protesters, many of them teachers, the District Attorney has not decided whether to file charges for trespassing, section 602 of the penal code, subsection Q - failing to leave a public building when closed "without lawful business."

71 teachers and other protesters were arrested May 9 after about 200 of them gathered in the rotunda of the Capitol around 5 pm.  The CHP told them the building was closed around 6:15 or so and began arrests a few minutes later.

Legal observers are expressing surprise the District Attorney is even considering pressing charges, especially given the financial woes of the county that makes it difficult to prosecute serious, violent crimes.

They were protesting budget cuts to education, and well as to social services, and most in the crowd were urging higher taxes on the very wealthy in the state, and an oil extraction tax.

Newly Elected Governor and Legislature Look at Measured Change, No New Taxes

By David Greenwald

For much of the last decade, California has been ungovernable - beset by partisan polarization and hamstrung by a political system designed in another era.  The state was led by an inexperienced and at times temperamental Governor, who legislative leaders apparently never quite knew what they were going to get.

The result was not necessarily the record deficits we have seen, those came more naturally from a collapsed economy.  The political stalemate however meant there was never a real or workable solution.

Unfortunately there appears to be no quick fixes.  A day after Governor Jerry Brown was elected the media was apparently more concerned that he was planning to live in Oakland rather than Sacramento, as opposed to the challenges that lay ahead.

For his part as his first new conference, Jerry Brown seemed like a man who knew the tasks that lay ahead for him.

Whatever One's View of the Justice System, Voters Get a Clear Choice in the AG Race

By David Greenwald

The debate on Tuesday might be the only chance Californians will have to look at both candidates for Attorney General as it is their only scheduled debate.  While Steve Cooley said after the debate he hopes they can schedule another one perhaps at a law school near San Diego, that decision is out of his hands.

That is a shame because the debate was held during the noon hour meaning working people could not view the event, and the office of Attorney General figures to be hugely important as we go forward.  Not only will have to deal with serious reforms in the legal system, but also go into areas such as environmental law where traditionally the AG's office has not gone.

Attorney General Candidates Express Starkly Different Views About CA Justice System at Debate

By David Greenwald

California's Attorney General Candidates met for their first and perhaps only debate on Tuesday at the UC Davis Law School.  It was north versus south, liberal versus conservative, as LA District Attorney, Republican Steve Cooley faced off against San Francisco District Attorney, Democrat, Kamala Harris.

Throughout the debate, Steve Cooley would often refuse to take a position on anything, offering instead that he would defend what the voters supported, whereas Kamala Harris argued that AG is not simply a position that blindly follows the will of the voters, but rather has a leadership role as well.

State Budget Crunch Forces Yolo County Drug Treatment Centers to Discharge Dozens

By David Greenwald

The ongoing California budget crisis has put huge strains on large sectors of the economy as businesses and people are in financial trouble. In particular it is putting a huge strain on those entities that rely on state money to provide various services to the populations.  

The Vanguard has learned that several local Drug Treatment Facilities have stopped receiving payments going back to March of 2010. As a result, while they are not closing their doors, they are laying off staff members and releasing patients from their facilities.

One that has been particularly hard hit is the Cache Creek Lodge treatment facility located in Woodland. That facility provides residential long-term treatment and outpatient care to a variety of women with substance abuse and mental health problems. Cache Creek Lodge has operated since 1974 as a non-profit treatment program.

State Faces Multiple Suits for Failure to Adequately Fund Schools

By David M. Greenwald

Given the state of California's economy and cutbacks to education, perhaps it is not surprising that several different groups are threatening to sue. On Thursday a lawsuit was filed in Alameda County by the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, and the California State PTA.

The suit calls for the courts to get rid of the current financing system and to direct the governor and Legislature to create one that is sound, stable and sufficient. They argued it prevents six million students from receiving the education that they are entitled to under the state's constitution.

Evidence that University Shredded Documents Showing Expenses for Sarah Palin Speech

By David M. Greenwald

A controversy has arisen involving Sarah Palin's speech at CSU-Stanislaus and university efforts to avoid disclosure of documents showing how much money they spent to bring the controversial former Vice Presidential Candidate to their campus.

In an effort to get disclosure, Senator Leland Yee asked that the university disclose all documents related to the Sarah Palin event. CSU-Stanislaus responded that they had no documents related to that request.

The Fight is on for Federal Education Money

By David Greenwald

California is trying to pass legislation that will clear the way for California to compete in the Race to the Top program which would make the state eligible for up to 700 million. The money would go to reform the nation's worst-performing schools. However, a fight has emerged on what role Charter Schools should play in this effort.

Earlier this week, the Assembly approved legislation by Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica). This legislation would lift the cap on the number of charter schools in California, at the same time revamping the state's academic standards and target federal funding to those schools most in trouble.

With Furloughs and Fees Hikes Underway, UC Under Major Scrutiny

By David Greenwald

With the University of California imposing a 32% fee increase to students and implementing furloughs and layoffs as a means to cut costs, the UC System is now under increased scrutiny from a variety of fronts. On November 23, 2009, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a complaint regarding unfair labor practices and bad faith negotiations.  

This week, UC Associate Vice President for Information Resources and Communications, David Ernst was exposed for for misusing $150,000 in public moneys to finance lavish overseas trips, meals, and stays at expensive resorts under the guise of official business while he was employed at the California State University.

UC Regents Raise Fees 32% Amid Bleak Economic News

By David M. Greenwald

As expected, a committee of the UC Regents voted on Wednesday to raise student fees by a total of 32 percent over the next year. These hikes will bring the annual cost of a UC education above $10,000 for the first time ever. The full board is expected to ratify these changes today.

There were massive student strikes at UCLA where the UC regents held their meeting and at UC Berkeley where many Northern California students coalesced.

Meanwhile, the economic news was even worse Wednesday, as the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported that the state will face a $20 billion budget deficit at least through June of 2011.  The result will be additional job cuts for state workers on top of the 7000 positions already eliminated from the general fund.  A spokesperson for the governor said it was likely that there would be additional cuts to employee compensation in the next round of budget cuts.