Month: September 2010

Fostering health, hope and opportunity

Health isn’t just about the doctor’s office. For all of us, but especially for a young person, health begins in our community. That truth was echoed throughout a two-day national town hall in Los Angeles to address the health disparities facing boys and young men of color. Community leaders and experts from across California and the nation convened because a growing body of research shows that the health of boys of color stems from their neighborhoods, their schools, their environments.

Schwarzenegger vetoes health reform bills

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bushel of bills Wednesday that Democrats sent him to implement and expand on the health reform passed by Congress and President Obama earlier this year. Although Schwarzenegger has worked with the Legislature to put in place the first pieces of the health reform, he vetoed these bills because, he said, they were either premature or unnecessary

New scorecard ranks counties by childrens well being

A new online scorecard ranks California’s 58 counties on 26 measures of children’s well being. The scorecard, produced by the advocacy group Children Now, ranks the counties using the latest data on health, education and other benchmarks. Users can search by county and see all 26 measures or search by one of the benchmark and see how the counties compare when grouped by population density and income.

Success stories: Stockton kids take back their park

Williams Brotherhood Park in South Stockton was plagued with gangs and crime. Families stopped going there and parents told their children to stay away. But a group of area youth decided they wanted their park back. They started a campaign to reclaim the park and won the support of local community organizations and, ultimately, the city. Now the park is cleaner, the bathrooms are open and families and kids are returning. LeCresia Hawkins, special projects coordinator for Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin, which has offices in the park, tells the story.

Wealth can shape health in California

Money can’t buy you love, but it might buy better health. People who live in wealthy neighborhoods live on average ten years longer than people who live in concentrated poverty. That’s why some experts say that the best way to improve public health is not through technological advances and breakthrough drugs, or even through better access to primary care. Instead, they say, policy efforts may be better focused on reducing the wealth gap in the United States. Heather Tirado Gilligan looks at how that concept plays out in Richmond, Ca.

What would you eat on $4.50 per day?

Pam Marino, who blogs at Good Neighbor Stories, has taken up a challenge to eat on $4.50 a day for a week, the amount that people on the program formerly known as food stamps receive. She admits to being pretty hungry for a couple of days, but managed to fill up at the end of Day 2 on some home-cooked rice and beans and a salad. Follow her progress here.

Insurers threaten to pull out of childrens' market

The controversy this week over several health insurance companies pulling out of the children’s market because of new provisions in the federal health bill shows how tricky it can be for legislators and regulators to try to find the sweet spot between market-driven conditions and total government control.

Three California communities to get Neighborhood Promise grants

Three California communities, including Boyle Heights, are in line for “Promise Neighborhood” grants from the federal government, which aim to make neighborhoods safer and more nurturing for children growing up in low-income communities. The program is modeled after the widely acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone, which combines social services, education and college aid to try to break the pattern of inter-generational poverty. See more on these grants at John Fensterwald’s education blog.

California unemployment: the causes and implications for the future

California’s unemployment rate is now nearly 3% higher than the national rate. In August 2010 California’s unemployment rate was 12.4% compared to the national 9.6% unemployment rate. The state’s unemployment was this much above the national rate once before in the early 1990s as a result of the large loss of aerospace jobs. The state’s job losses, then as now, were far larger than the national job losses and the state’s recovery took longer. Moreover, the aerospace job losses were permanent, not cyclical losses. Still by 2000 and for several years thereafter California’s unemployment rate was near the national average. What are the causes of the current high unemployment rates in California and what does that mean for the near and medium term economic future?

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