CVIndependent

Sat01252020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Local Issues

16 Jan 2020
Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring in people from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness earlier this week called for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians. The proposal, which came as Newsom kicked off a weeklong tour of the state aimed at drawing attention to the homelessness crisis, urged the Legislature to put a measure on the November ballot that would force California cities and counties to take steps to provide housing for the more than 150,000 Californians who lack it—or face legal action. Such a measure would require a two-thirds vote of both legislative houses to be brought to voters. California law does not currently penalize the state or local governments for failing to reduce their homeless populations, nor does it force them to make housing sufficiently available…
16 Jan 2020
Back in October, a mulch fire ignited at the Sun Valley Recycling Center near Thermal, on land owned by the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. The smoke plagued schools and neighborhoods for several weeks, creating health concerns for thousands of residents in the eastern Coachella Valley. Communities and school boards called for help—and one of the organizations that answered that call was the recently expanded Desert Healthcare District, led by newly elected Board President Leticia De Lara, and Chief Executive Officer Conrado Barzaga. “There were funds (accessible to the DHCD) that were identified for clean air and to address some of the air-quality issues related to the fires that were burning in the east valley last October,” De Lara said during a recent phone interview. “Our CEO, Conrado, was able to identify these funds and some partners who could bring some immediate health-care resources to the residents, including Borrego Health,…
07 Jan 2020
The sightings of James Mark Rippee are all over his sisters’ Facebook account. Someone spotted him sleeping by a furniture store in Vallejo. Someone walked him to a gas station for coffee. Someone prayed for him at Nation’s Giant Hamburgers. Rippee, 56, developed schizophrenia after a horrific motorcycle accident more than three decades ago caused a traumatic brain injury and the loss of his eyesight. His delusions range from being an alien, to getting chased by the KKK, to being prevented from collecting his lottery winnings, his sisters say. In September, he stepped into traffic and was hit by a car, his sisters say; he then developed a brain abscess. After weeks in the hospital and a board-and-care, he walked out. His 62-year-old twin sisters—Catherine Hanson and Linda Privatte—weren’t alerted. Now they couldn’t find him. Complicating things further: Hanson is bedridden with blood cancer; Privatte is legally blind and cannot…
02 Jan 2020
Shirley Gibson isn’t quite sure how to feel about these numbers. As directing attorney of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County—which offers legal services to low-income tenants caught between the preposterously priced southern suburbs of San Francisco and the preposterously priced suburbs of Silicon Valley—she’s seen firsthand how California’s housing affordability crisis has overwhelmed her clientele. Rents in San Mateo County have increased nearly 55 percent in the last decade. A two-bedroom in Redwood City, the county seat, now goes for $3,500, according to data from Apartment List. Strong demand, fueled by the influx of high-income tech workers, means vacancy rates are low. “I don’t know what a normal housing market is anymore,” said Gibson. “There’s a tush for every seat right now. You can rent any unit you want within a week.” Theoretically, that should have swelled the ranks of tenants needing her to defend them in…
26 Dec 2019
For 46 publicly held companies in California with all-male boards, the clock is ticking. The corporations—including pharmaceutical, financial and software companies that tend to be on the smaller, younger side—have only until revelers ring in 2020 to name a woman to their boards of directors, or face a $100,000 penalty. A bill signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018 required public companies with headquarters in California to name at least one female director by the end of 2019. The law further mandates that companies with five-member boards have at least two female directors by the end of 2021; corporations with six or more directors need at least three women. The penalties for failing to comply rise accordingly. The Golden State became the first in the nation to legislate the requirement for female board members, inspiring lawmakers in Massachusetts and New Jersey to introduce similar proposals. Illinois…
12 Dec 2019
State Sen. Jim Beall is angry. Four times now, he has introduced legislation to better enforce state and federal “parity” laws, which require equal treatment of mental and physical health problems. Four times, that legislation has failed. As he enters his final year in the Legislature, the San Jose Democrat plans what he calls a “full-frontal assault.” “I’m going to put even more effort into next year,” Beall said, “because I’m madder than hell about it.” California’s parity mandate was signed into law in 1999, and a federal parity law followed in 2008. But the state has struggled to ensure those laws work‚ which helps explain why parity feels like an empty promise to so many Californians. More than half of Californians believe that most people with mental health conditions can’t get the services they need, according to a poll conducted last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the…
11 Dec 2019
The California State Auditor’s Office recently launched a new tool, available to anyone with an internet connection: an online dashboard that aggregates, compares and ranks the financial stability of more than 470 California cities, based on detailed and publicly available information. “For the first time, Californians will be able to go online and see a fiscal-health ranking for more than 470 cities based across the state,” State Auditor Elaine Howle proclaimed in a news release announcing the launch. “This new transparent interface for the public, state and local policymakers, and other interested parties, is intended to identify cities that could be facing significant fiscal challenges.” The most compelling feature of this new dashboard is the interactive map of California. To uncover relevant financial details, any user can run their cursor over the geographic area correlating to any one of the 470 cities whose financial data is included. When the cursor…
12 Nov 2019
The auditorium at the UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Center was filled with more than 150 attendees when Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez spoke at the Adult Justice System Symposium on Oct. 30. Perez talked about the innovative programs and services now utilized by the Riverside County Probation Department to help citizens re-integrate into their communities after being released from prison—and he spoke passionately about why the issue is important to him. He elaborated on those reasons in a subsequent phone interview. “I’m very proud of the fact that I grew up in Coachella, and that I grew up (the child of) immigrant farm workers who did everything that they could to support their children,” Perez said. “But the 1980s and ’90s in the city of Coachella were tough. It was crazy. La Eme (the Mexican mafia in the United States) and the local gangs ran the city and ran…
31 Oct 2019
Of the dozens of education bills that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law this year, few will have a more practical impact on everyday lives than the new, later start times for California’s high schools and middle schools. The signing of Senate Bill 328 by Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino marked a milestone for the decades-long public-health movement to awaken public schools to the detrimental effects of adolescent sleep deprivation. But it also brought to a head a charged debate among school boards, administrators and parents over who gets to decide when to start a community’s school day. For some California high-school students, the new law will make little or no difference; for others, it will push back school start times by 90 minutes or more. Here’s what we know about California’s landmark new school start times law. 1. What does the new law actually do? School districts in the state…
17 Oct 2019
Julie Su wants the world’s fifth-largest economy to remain a global juggernaut. To do so, California’s labor secretary acknowledges, the state will need to position its workforce for the jobs of the future—a catchall term that encompasses not only the promise of innovation, but also the dystopian threat of increased income disparity. Economists project massive upheaval from disparate forces such as automation and an aging population. California’s challenge, as Su sees it, is to roll with those disruptions while making sure jobs here continue to pay a living wage, offer worker protections and accommodate working families. In short, she wants the future of work to bridge today’s wealth gap. A labor and civil rights attorney—and past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant—Su has been leading the Future of Work Commission alongside Chief Economic Adviser Lenny Mendonca and Senior Adviser on Higher Education Lande Ajose. They have been hosting meetings…

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