When it comes to global warming, California has started keeping score.
The state Air Resources Board last week finished tallying and made public the list of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state, and two East Bay refineries sit atop the list.
California is facing its worst fiscal crisis in decades, and a 3-judge federal panel just declared that it must reduce the prison population by nearly 50,000 people in order to provide constitutionally adequate medical care. But even with California’s prisons bursting at the seams, prison costs soaring past $10 billion dollars per year, and state coffers completely empty, most California legislators have their heads in the sand or their eyes on the next political prize.
What students of color are doing to stay in college during the recession
Daniel Santana has his heart set on being a teacher in his hometown of Lynwood, California, which has a large, low-income Latino community. To pursue this, Santana, who is 19, has worked two jobs since he started at California State University, Northridge, and like many students he’s also relied on financial aid. As the first in his family to go to college, he has been on course.
But now his goals are in jeopardy.
Last year, Santana’s financial aid was reduced by $2,000, and because of the state’s budget priorities that disadvantage poor people even more, he might not be able to get the classes he needs to graduate on time. To get around the second hurdle, he had hoped to take classes at East Los Angeles Community College this summer. But the second sessions of classes were canceled.
As you may have heard by now, the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento late yesterday afternoon issued its ruling in the case of Shaw v. Chiang, the Association’s lawsuit over transit funding diverted to the General Fund as part of the 2007-08 state budget agreement. The ruling declared that all $1.189 billion of the diversion violated state law – a 100 percent victory for public transit!
In the original suit, first filed in October, 2007, the Association contended that the diversion of certain revenues from the Public Transportation Account violated a series of statutory and constitutional amendments enacted by voters via four statewide initiatives dating back to 1990, and defied the clear intent of voters to create the PTA as a trust fund for the sole purpose of advancing transportation planning and mass transportation purposes.
Commentary by T.J. Johnston
The Oprah Winfrey Show threw a spotlight on Sacramento’s tent cities in March 2009. Now, more than 100 homeless people will move from encampments to apartments and other temporary housing as part of a compromise between the city, its homeless residents, and area nonprofits.
The homeless folk will be allowed to bring their stuff along this time—and given safe storage for it.
A year and a half prior to this settlement, a class action suit was filed against Sacramento for civil rights violations incurred when police and sheriff’s deputies confiscated homeless people’s belongings during sweeps. Usually, homeless people are issued citations for “abandoning property” and sometimes their belongings are destroyed. Often, this is standard procedure in most cities nationwide.
On April 19, 2009 injured workers in Southern California joined together in front of the Kaiser Downey medical center which is located at the Downey Toxic Dump to speak out about workers killed and injured on the job. SEIU hospital workers and movie workers from IATSE and the Laborers have been injured at the site and some of the workers who have gone public about the toxic dangers at the sight have been sued by the develper Stuart Lichter. Lichter who used to work for the Federal government General Services Administration has control of former government toxic sites throughout the United States and has sued others who claimed that the sites were not being properly cleaned up and people were getting sick.
The Downey site housed a major military industrial center for the development of nuclear weapons, rocket fuel and other highly toxic weaponry. There were even sodium nuclear reactions that were conducted at the site.
The workers called for an end to the travesty where injured workers have to negotiate with lawyers for healthcare settlements and are forced to go to company doctors who do not take care of them but only provide insurance company ratings of what is wrong with them.
Schools across California are facing layoffs and cutbacks of all sorts, including schools in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Despite the cushion of the Rainy Day Fund, SFUSD is still facing a significant shortfall of over $25 million meaning that some of our children’s teachers are still at risk of losing their jobs and individual schools are worrying about how they will make ends meet.
Budget shortfalls have prompted cities to raise revenue by jailing undocumented immigrants.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing the early release of some inmates to help balance his state's budget. Meanwhile, cities in Los Angeles County are relying on the arrest and detention of immigrants to keep their coffers full. Los Angeles communities are increasingly seeking federal revenue to house larger numbers of arrested immigrants. With the state and federal government's renewed attention on immigration detention, Los Angeles county cities have never had difficulty keeping their beds full.
(This post originally appeared on RaceWire)
As the White House approaches an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, a major troop build-up is on the horizon. Yet community-based efforts are underway to keep young people from being drawn into the the country’s military aggression. While organizations like American Friends Service Committee have been doing grassroots counter-recruitment work in targeted communities for years, new initiatives against recruiting in schools and neighborhoods take a more structural approach.
In two small cities in California, activists with the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign are rallying behind the Youth Protection Act, a local ordinance barring any government employee engaging in job activity that would “recruit, initiate contact with for the purpose of recruiting, or promote the future enlistment of any person under the age of eighteen into any branch of the United States Armed Forces.” The law is destined to run into legal hurdles, however, including federal preemption issues.