California

Commentary
3:56 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Commentary: Californians Should "Get Busy" To Solve A Slowing Birth Rate

Sam Mathews' father, Joe, who writes for Zocalo Public Square

At the moment of my birth—a moment that occurred only last week—I was the most valuable child in the history of California.

That’s not merely the opinion of my proud father, the usual author of this Connecting California column. And that’s not the idle boast of a 7-day-old infant. My value is a hard demographic and economic fact for California—and a huge burden for me.

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Government & Politics
6:13 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

California Takes a Second Look at Redevelopment Agencies

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

A bill that would grant local California communities the right to form agencies to redevelop blighted areas has passed an Assembly Committee. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

The California Supreme Court dissolved redevelopment agencies last year. But a bill at the Capitol would create new local entities that would fund affordable housing and infill development projects.

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Connecting California
3:04 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Commentary: Puig & Trout - How California Holds Back the Young

Columnist Joe Mathews says the LA Dodgers decision to start Yasiel Puig's season in the minors reflects a larger societal trend.
Credit Flickr user bob_in_thailand / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

There’s a nasty California disease spreading so fast that even our baseball teams have caught it.

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Government & Politics
1:04 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

California Prison Hunger Strike Continues; State Responds

Pelican Bay State Prison
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The number of California prison inmates on a hunger strike has dramatically dropped.  But 12,000 inmates still refused to eat for a fourth consecutive day Thursday to protest the common use of long-term isolation.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, that’s triggering an aggressive state response.

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Business & Economy
6:02 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

California Economy Inches Up in World Ranking

There’s new evidence that California’s economic outlook is improving. A new study shows the state is regaining its place as the world’s eighth-largest economy this year after falling to ninth during the recent downturn. 

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Government & Politics
12:13 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

California Economy, State Finances Stronger than Other States

Credit Valley Public Radio

A new report that compares state finances finds California's budget revenues are soaring higher than all but one other state in the nation.  Its economy is growing at an above-average pace as well.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The study comes from the Tax Policy Center – a project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.  It compares state tax revenues, economic growth and other data for all 50 states.

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Commentary
4:58 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Commentary: To The Class of '13... You Did More With Less

Joe Mathews tells the class of 2013 that most people would have left the state or given up if they had been treated in a similar fashion to those in our public schools.
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user bredgur / http://www.flickr.com/photos/bredgur/2925876954/sizes/l/

To the distinguished California Public High School Class of 2013.

I’m sorry James Franco canceled at the last minute. I’m even sorrier that you wound up getting me as your substitute commencement speaker, but I was offered gas money plus a free lunch.

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Government & Politics
3:08 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's Updated Budget Proposal: More Money to Schools, But Not Much Else

California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing an updated budget that he says is balanced, solid and maintains fiscal discipline against efforts to restore years of deep budget cuts.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

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Health
5:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Study Links Access to Parks to Teenage Exercise Habits

Centennial Park in Bakersfield
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  A new study from the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research shows that teenagers who live near parks and open space areas are more physically active than those who don't. 

The study also shows that low income teens use parks less, citing safety concerns. Low income teens were also less likely to be active for at least one hour a day. 

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Government & Politics
5:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

California Cities Watch Closely as Stockton Bankruptcy Trial Begins

Stockton, CA (file photo)
Credit Marianne Russ / Capital Public Radio

The city of Stockton has begun a four-day trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  At stake: whether the city should be eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The case has other local governments watching closely – particularly those that still face large budget deficits.  Chris McKenzie with the League of California Cities says he believes cities will “move heaven and earth” to avoid future bankruptcies.

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Jobs
6:29 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

California Tied With Rhode Island For Highest Unemployment in Nation

Credit Valley Public Radio

California now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the latest figures from the California Employment Development Department show no improvement in the state’s jobless rate for January.

California’s unemployment rate remained at 9.8 percent in January. That ties the state with Rhode Island for the highest unemployment rate in the country. 

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Business & Economy
4:59 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Report: California Women Faring Worse than Men During Economic Recovery

A new study finds women in California aren’t faring as well as men during the economic recovery.  The analysis was done by The California Budget Project and the Women’s Foundation of California.  

It finds employment among the state’s women declined by a little less than one percent over the past two years – while it was increased nearly two percent among men.

Chris Hoene with the Budget Project says cuts to programs such as CalWorks, the state’s welfare to work program, and cuts to state subsidized child care have largely affected women:

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Military
9:51 am
Tue March 5, 2013

California National Guard Troops Preparing for Deployment to Afghanistan

Fifty California Guard troops and fifty from Nevada and Washington will take up medevac operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Army National Guard is deploying about 50 soldiers as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  

About a hundred medics, pilots and mechanics from California, Nevada, and Washington are flying out today. This is the third such deployment for Sylvester Wilson. He’s from Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
5:30 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Kevin McCarthy: California GOP Has Nowhere to Go But Up

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) addresses the Sacramento Press Club Friday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy had plenty to say at the Sacramento Press Club Friday.

The California Congressman discussed everything from the federal budget cuts known as sequestration to the future of the Republican Party. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

McCarthy said President Obama was “creating hysteria” about the sequestration cuts – rather than working with Republicans:

“If we can’t find a way to cut $85 billion out of a $3.6 trillion deficit, we’re not gonna overcome our problems.”

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Government & Politics
7:26 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Experts: 'Sequestration' Could Hurt California's Economy

Credit Valley Public Radio

As the March 1st deadline for automatic federal budget cuts approaches, their potential effect on California is becoming increasingly clear. 

Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that “sequestration” cuts could slow the state’s economic recovery – and perhaps even create a new budget deficit.

There are two ways sequestration could affect California: direct federal spending cuts of about $4 billion dollars, and the reaction to those cuts from the state’s people and businesses. 

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Environment
4:00 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Sierra Snowpack Has Water Managers Happy, So Far

Snow covers the high Sierra in this file photo, taken north of Visalia.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California’s water managers say the state has a good supply of water so far thanks to a snowy December.

The first official measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack showed four-feet of accumulation. Manual and electronic readings showed the water content of the snow at 134 percent of average for this time of year.

Frank Gehrke is with the Department of Water Resources. He says last year the snowpack in the area was just over one-tenth of an inch.

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Community
3:42 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

New Report Gives A Snapshot of California

California has the ninth largest economy in the world, its workers are staying unemployed longer and home prices are rising. These are a few of the tidbits in a new report by the state’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst.  

The Legislative Analyst gives us California in a snapshot.  The state’s economy is number nine, right between Italy and Russia.  

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Government & Politics
9:41 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Free Cell Phone Service Coming for Poor Californians

file photo
Credit Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user "edans" / http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/263107082/

As early as next year, 1.5 million Californians could be eligible for 250 free cell phone minutes, and 250 free text messages a month. Assurance Wireless, an arm of mobile giant Sprint, will provide the service through the federally-funded Lifeline program. 

That program is currently limited to land lines in California. Assurance Wireless spokesman Jack Pflanz says the addition of cell phone service has made a huge difference to people in 36 other states where it’s been adopted.

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Governance
5:02 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Electoral Reforms Led to More Close Races, Experts Say

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Now that the dust has settled after this month's general election, political observers from across the state are busy examining the results to see just what effect California's efforts at redistricting and electoral reform had in their first full test at the ballot box. Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore reports that in same cases, the result is too close to call. 

For most California voters, the trip to the ballot box this November looked much like it always has, albeit with longer lines at some polling places and a record number of "vote by mail" ballots.

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Education
5:26 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Majority of California Public School Students Improving

For the first time, a majority of California public schools met or surpassed academic achievement goals this year.

53-percent of schools scored at or above state achievement goals on the Academic Performance Index. That’s an increase of four percentage points over last year.

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