Brown gets push-back on school reform

Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature are headed for a showdown over the way California pays for its public schools. Brown is proposing a revolutionary plan to give extra state aid to schools that teach large numbers of poor and immigrant children. But he is getting pushback from some in the Legislature who think his plan goes too far – at the expense of the general-purpose money that every school district receives.

How will Brown balance oil, environmental interests?

A revolution in the oil industry that’s been taking place in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Dakota is poised to sweep through California’s oil patch, with the potential to produce hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenue for the state.
But there’s a big catch.

How dirty (or clean) is your zip code?

Tucked between two traffic-choked freeways, the southeast corner of Santa Ana is among the least healthy places to live in California. The neighborhood’s air is dirtied with diesel emissions and other pollutants. Nearby businesses release an unusually large amount of chemicals. The community has more hazardous waste clean-up sites than almost anyplace in the state. And its groundwater is threatened by contaminants leaking from underground storage tanks. A few miles away, along the Newport Coast, it’s a different story. Traffic is relatively light, and the air is clean. There are no industrial chemicals to speak of, little hazardous waste exposure and no clean-up sites.

A new conversation about water

For six months in 2012, about 20 passionate Californians representing interests with a stake in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta met in an intimate discussion group to try to find common ground where decades of battle have been the norm. What they learned surprised many of them. Daniel Weintraub’s weekly essay.

California’s kid shortage

Not long ago, California was the land of the young. Migration from other states, immigration from other countries and the Baby Boom came together to send the state’s population of children soaring. Those children, and the young adults they became, personified a culture that seemed nothing short of obsessed with youth. That’s all changing. California’s population is aging rapidly, so quickly that the state now faces what was once unthinkable: a shortage of children.

Taxing questions on the ballot

As Californians head to the polls, taxes will be the biggest issue on the state ballot—again. Here’s a brief primer on state taxes and spending and what’s at stake Nov. 6.

California voters declaring their independence

It’s conventional wisdom in political circles that California, like the rest of the country, has become more polarized in recent years. Just watch any election campaign or session of the Legislature and it seems clear that we are a hopelessly divided people.

How California beat down whooping cough

California government has a reputation, rightly deserved, for being dysfunctional. Voters rank legislators down there with car salesman on the trust scale, and the bureaucracy doesn’t do much better with the public. So it’s worth taking notice when the state does something right, especially when it happens in a matter of life and death.

California’s demise on hold for now

A funny thing happened along California’s road to economic ruin. The state that couldn’t shoot straight suddenly has emerged as a national leader in creating jobs. Shaking off the effects of the housing bubble and its bursting, the Golden State is using its core strengths in technology, trade and tourism to push its way toward the head of the class.

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