Of the 17 propositions on this year’s California ballot, few are as divisive as the issue of capital punishment. There are actually two separate initiatives targeting the death penalty: Proposition 62, which would abolish the death penalty, and Proposition 66, which would speed up executions.
Call it the tale of two pension crises. In June, the Los Angeles Times’ business pages looked at the looming retirement savings disaster caused by the nearly 40-year transition from employer-sponsored defined-benefit pensions to individual 401(k) plans — a sea change in retirement insecurity, it noted, that “has been a failure for all but the wealthiest Americans.”
Seventy-seven years ago, in March 1939, Juan Fabian Fernandez of New Mexico opened a session of the National Congress of the Mexican and Spanish-Speaking Peoples of the United States in downtown Los Angeles. He stood out as the only Latino state legislator present, but he was not the only politico there.
“I’m always the bad Mexican,” Richard Alatorre states early in his new autobiography, Change From the Inside. In his 12 years in the California Assembly, Alatorre powerfully supported affirmative action, better farm-worker conditions, prison reforms and redistricting. He was the man in the black hat who used Machiavellian politics to help the white hats get things done.
As Assembly Bill 1066, which would grant overtime pay to California farm workers, heads for a vote in the Assembly, farm workers and faith and civil rights groups are fighting for the votes needed to pass it.
The fight for farm worker overtime is going down to the wire in the current legislative session, which will adjourn at the end of August. And as Assembly Bill 1066, which would require it, moves through the legislature, Jewish and African-American organizations have made a commitment to win the votes it needs for passage.
This past Saturday marked the 26th day of a City Hall sit-in by activists from Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, a protest that shows no signs of ending any time soon. The group vows to stay encamped in front of the James K. Hahn annex until Mayor Eric Garcetti fires Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck or Beck resigns.
“What’s Next After $15?” a forum recently held by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Pasadena chapter, brought together community organizers and antipoverty activists to discuss the challenges now faced by the City of Roses to implement its new living wage law.
Obama-ology, written by Aurin Squire, takes place in 2008 and revolves around a youthful volunteer for the Obama campaign and the life education he receives from his senior colleagues and the folks in the community where he’s working.
Bill Raden reports how Big Oil is trying to scuttle California’s program to reduce greenhouse gases.
Last month millions of undocumented immigrants were left in legal limbo when a divided U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that had blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
The next step in deciding whether California will join other state efforts to demystify the drug pricing practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers will be taken tomorrow as the Assembly’s Health Committee votes on a drug pricing transparency bill introduced in February by State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez.
For the state’s first hundred-plus years, certain unspoken rules governed California politics. In a state where agriculture produced more wealth than any industry, the first rule was that growers held enormous power.
One of the unfortunate byproducts of the matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that the presidential race has already become a contest of personalities rather than one of ideas.
The last time California enacted comprehensive tax reform, FDR was president, Babe Ruth was still playing baseball and the Golden State was five years away from seeing its first freeway open.
Most of us ignore the electoral process except when we’re voting. We stand in line and punch the card, carefully sweeping off the chads before we put it in the box. And leave the polls believing in the validity of our vote.
As next week’s June 15 budget deadline looms, legislative leaders hammering out differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of this year’s $171 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will also be deciding the fate of retirement security for future University of California workers.
On April 25 state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) presented her case in Sacramento for the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement (RISE) Act, a bill to roll back a 1985 law extending jail terms for certain repeat drug offenders.
If you’re a woman and running for political office has ever crossed your mind, historian Nancy L. Cohen’s new book, Breakthrough: The Making of Americas First Woman President, is a must-read.
California is often perceived politically as a sea of solid “blue” – a state, with its Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled legislature, that has become synonymous with progress.
Barring an unexpected reversal of fortune, California is on track to become the first state to officially raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. News first emerged on March 26 of an agreement with Governor Jerry Brown and leading Democratic legislators to raise the wage from its current $10 hourly mark to $10.50 beginning January […]
While the media distract us with the shinier attractions of the presidential-candidate road shows, the dirty work of politics continues in the shadows. I do not mean to diminish the importance of who gets elected or even nominated, but the secret and behind-the-scenes work often makes for decisions that change public policy in favor of […]
In books, blogs and newspaper pages, Los Angeles journalist and social critic Erin Aubry Kaplan has offered astute and unforgiving opinions about America’s race and class divides. (In 2005 she became the Los Angeles Times‘ first weekly black op-ed columnist.) In Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line, the KCET website contributor gave this […]
Self-employed independent contractors in the Golden State can neither form unions nor negotiate collective bargaining pacts, but part of those conditions could soon change, according to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). Gonzalez, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, introduced Assembly Bill 1727 on January 28 as an amendment to the […]
I turned off onto a long dirt road about 15 miles outside of Montevideo, Uruguay and drove towards a wooden guard shack that stood across from a small farmhouse hidden by a long row of trees. Usually, if you want to meet a country’s president – or even ex-president – you have to fight through […]
Last week, the country’s two largest private prison operators, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, released their annual financial reports. The numbers were what we’ve come to expect — staggering. Combined, the two publicly traded companies collected $361 million in profits last year. That’s profit — taxpayer money that could be going to […]
With the lead poisoning tragedy in Flint, Michigan still playing out in the national headlines, we’ve been due for good news about our nation’s water—and Wisconsin just delivered it. Yesterday, state leaders scrapped a bill that would have made it easier for private corporations to buy municipal water and sewer utilities across the state. The bill, introduced at […]
By now, many are familiar with the tragic details of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But a key chapter in the story is being overlooked. In February 2015, almost a full year before the news of widespread lead poisoning gained headlines, the world’s largest private water corporation, Veolia, deemed Flint’s water safe. It was hired by […]
Flint was a failure of government — but it didn’t have to be so. And government wasn’t the root of the problem. It was about the people, and ideas they advocate, who have taken control of governments across the country. Water is a public good provided by public institutions — i.e. governments. It should be […]
Robert Reich stepped down from his post as Labor Secretary in 1996 to spend more time with his teenage sons, Adam, now a sociology professor at Columbia University, and Sam, a writer and director who heads the video department at the popular comedy site CollegeHumor.com. (Reich and Clare Dalton divorced in 2012; he […]