April 7, 2013 |
California already had what were arguably the nation's toughest sex offender laws in 2006 when voters, spurred on nightly by fear-mongering television hosts such as Nancy Grace and Bill O'Reilly, adopted this state's version of Jessica's Law . Proposition 83 required all convicted sex felons, whether violent or not, whether still on parole or not, and whether at high or low risk of reoffending, to wear electronic monitoring devices for the rest...
June 17, 2013 |
Think back to the dark days of 2009, when school districts in California and across the nation faced dire budget shortfalls. States would have done almost anything for extra money, and when the Obama administration dangled Race to the Top grants in front of them, many of them did indeed race to adopt the policies that would win federal approval - such as including student test scores in teachers' performance rankings and adopting common curriculum standards....
September 22, 2013 |
The genius of the state's late and not-very-much-lamented community redevelopment agencies was that they built projects that raised property values and then kept for themselves the higher tax receipts that resulted. Normally, taxes are divvied up among the city, the county, the school districts and the state, but in a California-style CRA project area, any tax receipts beyond what the parcel already had been generating would stay with the agency to pay off bonds and invest in new projects.
January 22, 1991
"The Gulf War is not only about Kuwait. Iraq has a huge military force and if Saddam Hussein is not stopped there, the danger exists that he will try to occupy the rich oil fields throughout the region in order to rule it politically and economically. (He tried to invade Iran earlier). It is not enough for the Allied forces to chase the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, because the Iraqi leader will find a new area to attack after failure in Iran and Kuwait."
December 1, 2009
From time to time, the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District takes up resolutions with obscure, if any, links to education. It voted to oppose Proposition 8, for instance, and to support Iranian dissidents. So perhaps it shouldn't be completely surprising that the Los Angeles City Council meandered outside its own backyard recently with a resolution on a subject that more fittingly falls within the purview of LAUSD -- school uniforms. The council urged the district to require student uniforms at all of its schools as a way of improving both safety and academic achievement.
May 26, 2013 |
California is believed to have more than 15 billion barrels of oil locked within the rocks under the Central Valley that might be used to feed the nation's energy hunger - if oil companies can free it with hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, as the practice is popularly called, has been going on in the state for years, but mostly in a remote oil field in Kern County. The prospect of extensive new fracking efforts in the 1,750-square-mile geological formation known as the Monterey Shale, which extends roughly from Modesto to Bakersfield, calls for long-overdue study and regulation of how this production method might affect air and water quality, as well as seismic safety.
December 19, 2012
For too long in the Philippine Congress, the priorities of the Roman Catholic Church took precedence over what most Filipinos wanted - and needed. Finally, after 14 years of debate and delay, lawmakers passed a bill that will provide free or subsidized birth control to poor people as well as require sex education in schools and mandate training in family planning for community health workers. Even though 80% of the nation's population is Catholic, birth control has long been available to those who want it - as long as they could pay. Contraception has been out of reach for most of the poor, though.
January 4, 2010
When you go to the market and buy a raw apple, you expect -- and get -- an apple. Not a fruitlike product injected with liquid that makes it weigh more but that softens the natural crispness and dilutes the flavor to the point where it has to be infused with caramel-apple concentrate to restore some tastiness. Fortunately, Fujis are still Fujis. If only the same could be said of chicken. In the past few years, it has become common for chicken producers to inject fresh chicken with saltwater as a way to keep it juicy and flavorful in the hands of indifferent cooks, a process called "enhancing" or "plumping."
April 9, 2013 |
Although the recession drove many businesses into bankruptcy, times have been particularly hard for the state's dairy farmers. Almost 400 California dairies have closed in the last five years - 105 in 2012 alone - plagued by soaring prices for feed and an antiquated regulatory system that keeps their prices artificially low, at least in the farmers' view. The right solution for the long term would be to scrap the current approach in favor of a market-based one, but there's little political will to take such a disruptive step.
November 5, 2013 |
Five months after Americans learned that information about their telephone calls was being indiscriminately scooped up by the National Security Agency, Congress seems poised to place limits on the bulk collection of telephone "metadata" - information about the source, destination and duration of telephone calls but not their contents. That's a positive development. But there is a world of difference between the legislation approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would make only minor improvements in the program, and a superior proposal by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)