Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oakland Coal Ban Goes To Trial

Oakland’s ban on rail shipments of coal to the Port of Oakland is being challenged in a federal court. The plaintiff, the Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, or OBOT, says Oakland’s ban is not based on real science and is superseded by federal law. Oakland says its ban on the coal shipments is aimed at protecting the health and safety of West Oakland communities that are already suffering from environmental health hazards, which would only be made worse by massive coal shipments to the port.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Delta Smelt Pushed to the Brink of Survival by State and Federal Water Policy

The Brown Administration’s Twin Tunnels project, facing political opposition and funding problems is exploring a one tunnel solution at half the cost. The cost of twin tunnels is pegged at $17 billion dollars, not counting interest. The proposal comes as the population of the endangered Delta Smelt continues to plummet. Meanwhile the Bureau of Reclamation is promising to increase water deliveries to contractors like the San Joaquin Valley’s Westlands growers and the Southern California’s municipal water district. Vic Bedoian spoke with the head of Restore the Delta and filed this report from Fresno.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rent Control Bill Fails in Assembly, Sparks Protest & Initiative

Tenants’ rights advocates briefly took over a state capitol hearing room and chanted in the hallways, after a bill on rent control failed in a committee hearing. The bill would have repealed a law that limits the ability of cities and governments to create local rent control ordinances.
Christopher Martinez files this report.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Governor Brown Boosts Reserve in State Budget Plan

Governor Jerry Brown has unveiled his budget proposal for California. It’s a plan that focuses on building up the state’s “rainy day” reserve fund with money from a projected budget surplus. Some Democrats want new money to go toward re-building health and welfare programs, while Republicans want the surplus returned to tax-payers, launching a debate that lawmakers will consider over the coming months.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lawmakers Aim to Protect CA Marijuana Legalization

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ramping up the war-on-drugs effort against marijuana, but California is moving in another direction, with a new state law legalizing adult use of marijuana. Assemblymember Rob Bonta has introduced a bill to expunge marijuana convictions under the voter-passed Prop 64. It’s one of several measures the state will consider on the issue of cannabis.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mark Leno Files for SF Mayoral Race

Former state senator Mark Leno has filed papers to run for mayor in the upcoming San Francisco mayoral race. Tuesday is the dead-line for candidates to succeed Mayor Ed Lee, who died unexpectedly on December 12th. The race will likely include supervisor Jane Kim, running as a progressive candidate, and board president and acting mayor London Breed, as a candidate continuing the legacy of Lee. The final slate of candidates will be finalized after a Tuesday filing deadline.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Wildfire Insurance Gets Expensive, Hard to Find

California has just weathered an historically damaging wildfire season. The state Department of Insurance says it’s seeing a growing number of complaints from home-owners who are being hit with spiraling high fire insurance rates, or even an inability to find fire insurance. And that could be about to get worse unless the state legislature takes action.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2020 Census Faces New Questions

California could be a big loser in the upcoming 2020 census. The population count decides how federal funds are allocated among the states, as well as allocating reapportionment of congressional seats and local political districts. Some political activists say Republican-driven under-funding and policy decisions could lead to worsening under-counts of poor people and communities of color, especially hurting Democratic constituencies in populous and diverse states like California.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

State Senate Announces New Sexual Harassment Policies

The state Senate is taking new steps to deal with sexual harassment at the state capitol. Senate leader Kevin de Leon is taking what he calls “unprecedented steps” to end a culture of pervasive sexual harassment, in the wake of allegations that have already led to several resignations and other investigations of state lawmakers.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Assembly Budget Would Boost Healthcare, Programs for Poor

Assembly budget leader Phil Ting has released a state budget plan that he says puts a priority on working families. The San Francisco democrat wants to cover undocumented immigrants under California’s Medi-Cal program, as well as expanding early childhood education, college scholarships, and other supports for low income Californians.
Christopher Martinez reports.