December 26, 2013 |
Californians could be faced in November with a proposal to dramatically alter the pension and benefit system for public employees. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has submitted a statewide ballot initiative that would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees' future retirement benefits, reversing the long-standing principle that once a public employee is hired, his or her retirement benefits cannot be reduced. Public employee unions are already gearing up for a major fight over Reed's initiative, which he could put on the ballot as soon as 2014 (or as late as 2016)
November 16, 2013 |
ALBUQUERQUE - A high-desert city in one of the poorest states in the nation has become the abortion debate's latest battlefield and a testing ground for whether abortion limits can be imposed on the local level. Early voting is underway in Albuquerque for an election Tuesday, which will decide whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although similar bans have been passed by state legislatures, New Mexico's largest city is believed to be the first municipality in the country to place such an initiative on a ballot.
November 4, 2013 |
Voters in tiny SeaTac might be drawing the most attention when they go to polls Tuesday to vote on raising the minimum wage for airport and hotel workers to $15 an hour. But SeaTac isn't the only localized battle where advocates are trying to gather support for raising the minimum wage. Frustrated by a federal minimum wage bill that has gone nowhere, people in half a dozen other states are trying to get folks a raise. New Jersey is the closest to seeing some sort of change. Voters there will decide Tuesday whether to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour from the current rate of $7.25.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 2013 |
On the Venice Boardwalk, the pot hawkers come at you like carnival barkers. In their green scrubs, armed with business cards, they beckon passersby to enter their narrow shops. “Do you have a headache? A backache? Come on in, our doctor is very high quality,” a green-clad barker said. “Do you have cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, insomnia or depression?” If you did, you were in luck. The doctor was in. The doctor is always in. Tuesday, I visited the Green Doctors, a hole-in-the-wall storefront next to Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom, where 40 bucks gets you a physician visit, and 25 bucks more gets you a medical marijuana card, the only legal way to buy pot in California.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 2013 |
Five years ago, the major social issue on the ballot was Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in California until it was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. Next year, it may be a referendum on a new law involving transgender students. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing students to participate in school programs and use school facilities that match their gender identity, not their physical sex. For example, a student who was born male but is transgender and lives as a female would be able to use the girl's bathroom.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 4, 2013 |
For Barbara Coe, everything changed the day she accompanied an elderly friend to an Orange County social services center in 1991. "I walked into this monstrous room full of people, babies and little children all over the place, and I realized nobody was speaking English," the South Dakota native later told the Washington Post. "I was overwhelmed with this feeling: 'Where am I? What's happened here?'" When she learned from a welfare counselor that immigrants who had entered the country illegally qualified for the same public benefits that had been denied her friend, a U.S. citizen, Coe began her journey from political neophyte to fiery crusader against the demographic tide that was transforming California.