Month: March 2010

Price of ‘progress’: displacing low-income tenants

Boyle Heights has weathered its share of threats over the years, from proposed prisons and hazardous waste plants to criminal gangs. Now residents of the historic East LA neighborhood are feeling the pressure of city-backed development that is displacing low-income housing. Community groups are using a lull in construction caused by the down economy to organize so that residents have a voice when the city pushes again to gentrify the community.

Students at risk from pesticides

Ten years after the state passed a law allowing the creation of pesticide buffer zones around public schools, not one such zone has been adopted by the state’s county agricultural commissioners. Students remain at risk.

Federal health reform bill includes a new focus on prevention

The federal health reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law last week will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But the bill will also pour billions of dollars into programs intended to keep those people from ever needing the kind of care for which they will now be eligible. The bill includes new mandates on public and private insurers to provide more check-ups and screenings without co-pays. But the most intriguing provision creates a grant program to transform communities in ways designed to improve the health of their residents.

For universal health care, but not on his shoulders

Daniel Scherotter, a restaurant owner and chef, is leading the fight against Healthy San Francisco. It is not that he opposes the health care program. He simply thinks the city’s businesses, particularly restaurants, should not be required to finance universal health care.

Between farm and table, a broken chain

After years of being urged to “eat fresh, eat local,” residents of the Sacramento region are responding. From neighborhood dinner tables to big institutional kitchens, locally grown foods are in high demand. But every spring, locally grown produce is rotting in the fields of the small family-run farms around the region. Between that abundant supply and the strong demand, the market has broken down. There is no good way to get those crops from the farms to the people who want them at a price consumers are willing to pay.

ashby wolfe

The trouble with Medicaid

A patient has asthma and needs medication to prevent a possible trip to the ER. The doctor prescribes it. But the state bureaucracy that runs the Medi-Cal program puts up a roadblock. After hours of follow-up, the doctor manages to navigate the system for her patient. The story illustrates why so many doctors have stopped taking Medi-Cal patients.

In San Francisco, a rush for health care

A San Francisco clinic that serves the poor was flooded with new patients when the city created its Healthy San Francisco program. Now the doctor who runs the clinic is preaching prevention for those patients. Third in a series on universal health care in San Francisco.

Richmond searches for answers to soaring homicide rate

Even as murder rates are declining across California and the nation, homicide is on the rise in Richmond, the gritty industrial city on the east side of San Francisco Bay. A resident of Richmond is nearly three times as likely to be murdered as someone in Los Angeles, Sacramento or San Francisco. Now the city government, police, churches and community groups are trying new approaches to reverse the trend. 

On the line with unemployment

Go to your local unemployment office to get information about a claim and they will sit you at a bank of phones so you can call — the unemployment agency. You will wait on hold, and wait and wait and wait, and then get a person on the other end who will hang up on you if you make one false move. If this sounds crazy to you, read HIlary Abramson’s account of her Kafka-esque experience dealing with the EDD.

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