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How California’s housing shortage chases away the middle class

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | March 17, 2016

Next 10, a nonpartisan research entity (with whom I’ve worked on studies in the past), released a trio of reports that shows how California’s housing shortage and resulting high prices have chased middle class and low-wage residents out of the state:   California experienced a negative net domestic migration of 625,000 from 2007 to 2014. … Continue reading »

California’s tax code impedes its progress on climate change

Karen Chapple, Professor, City and Regional Planning | March 1, 2016

The California Legislature is renowned for its courage in adopting bold climate and clean-energy initiatives that influence environmental policy around the globe. But it has hesitated to reform the state’s tax code, costing the state an opportunity to better support its climate goals. Current tax policies encourage sprawl, increasing vehicle miles driven and threatening the … Continue reading »

High-speed rail likely to abandon SoCal connection

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | February 10, 2016

It looks like the financial walls are starting to close in on California’s high-speed rail plan. Facing the reality that there’s not enough money to get the system over the Tehachapis to a gerrymandered, ill-advised stop in Palmdale, the California High Speed Rail Authority is now openly considering trying to connect to Silicon Valley instead, per the Fresno … Continue reading »

How should California fund its K-12 school facility needs?

Jeffrey Vincent, deputy director, Center for Cities and Schools |

With the Brown Administration and the State Legislature returning from the holiday break and looking at options for new K-12 school construction and modernization funding, the word “need” is frequently used…but little understood. They ask, “How do we fund based on ‘need’”? It appears Governor Brown is also interested in this question. His new 2016-17 … Continue reading »

The future of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | February 2, 2016

The role that nuclear power could or should play in helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is worthy of serious debate, but the latest nuclear-related front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle is a head-scratcher. Above the fold, the headline reads “Nuclear plant’s surprise backers,” followed by the following subheading: “Environmentalists push for Diablo Canyon … Continue reading »

It’s complicated: One Native Californian’s thoughts on Junipero Serra’s canonization

Olivia Chilcote, Ph.D. candidate, ethnic studies | September 22, 2015

Tomorrow Pope Francis will canonize Junípero Serra in Washington DC. I never thought this day would be upon us. In 1988, Pope John Paul II made the first step towards canonization when he beatified Serra, or recognized his entrance to Heaven and his ability to act on behalf of those who pray to him. Besides … Continue reading »

UC education: Cadillac product, Chevy price

Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy | September 1, 2015

In an overheated article (“UC Fails to Hit In-State Goal on Admissions”), the San Francisco Chronicle scolds UC for appearing to decline $25 million offered by the Legislature to admit 5,000 more in-state students this year. That’s $5,000 per student which would supplement the $15,000 in tuition and fees that UC charges each student — … Continue reading »

‘Moving Dollars’ puts California’s transportation spending in focus

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | February 19, 2015

California spends approximately $28 billion on transportation infrastructure each year.  But are we spending that money as cost-effectively as possible?  And given the major impact that transportation investments have on our land use patterns and the amount of driving we need to do, are we spending this money in ways that align with California’s environmental … Continue reading »

California breaks ground on high-speed rail, at last

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | January 7, 2015

It’s been over six years since California voters approved a bond measure to fund a two-hour-and-forty-minute Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail system. Today [Jan. 6], groundbreaking finally takes place in Fresno. In the intervening six years, lawsuits and political compromises have delayed the system and likely made the timetables promised to voters impossible to achieve. … Continue reading »

Which University?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 1, 2014

As I start this post, I hear voices on bullhorns in Sproul Plaza (ground zero for the Free Speech demonstrations 50 years ago) calling Berkeley students to walk out of classes today (Nov. 24) to protest the tuition increases approved last week by the University of California Regents for the entire ten-campus system. Many details … Continue reading »

California’s infill backlash

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | August 4, 2014

For environmental and economic reasons, we want jobs and people to move back to our cities. People living in cities pollute less because they don’t drive as much and tend to live in smaller homes. Economically, they can save a lot of money on transportation and energy costs, while thriving neighborhoods can create cultural and … Continue reading »

Life in prison with the remote possibility of death: the death penalty and California’s broken punishment paradigm

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | July 18, 2014

This week’s 39-page opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney — finding California’s death penalty unconstitutional — is already setting off a wave of debate in the media. We will see yet whether it catches any political fire in this dry, but so-far politically placid, season in California. There is much to recommend in the opinion (read it here courtesy … Continue reading »

It’s time to refocus California’s climate strategy

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | April 9, 2014

You know this already, but let’s review: Climate change is a global emissions problem. California produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next few decades, the majority of emissions will come from developing countries. If we don’t solve the problem in the developing world, we don’t solve the problem. And lastly, … Continue reading »

The perils of rail transit and democracy

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | March 24, 2014

Americans seem to love democracy but hate many of the results. We want governmental power to be decentralized, whether it’s across three federal branches or with local control over sometimes regionally oriented land use decisions. But when the inevitable compromise that is required to get majority approval means a less-than-perfect result, from Obamacare to budget … Continue reading »

Abandoning a failed penal experiment: New York’s historic advantage

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | March 4, 2014

The State of New York has made it share of bad penal policy choices. Remember the “Rockefeller Drug Laws” — mandatory life sentences for persons arrested with large quantities of dangerous drugs, which helped set the nation on the path toward indiscriminate use of incarceration? But the Empire State has also had a historic knack … Continue reading »

Offshore fracking battles brewing in the Golden State

Jayni Foley Hein, former director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment | February 6, 2014

As prior blog posts and reports have detailed, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has been occurring onshore in California for decades, yet without full disclosure to the public or state regulatory agencies.  Recently, new reports of offshore fracking in both California and federal waters have surfaced, showing that fracking has also been underway off the coast for many years, including in … Continue reading »

State releases new fracking regulations amid SB 4 criticism, controversy

Jayni Foley Hein, former director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment | November 18, 2013

California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has released its proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing pursuant to Senate Bill 4, controversial legislation signed into law this September. DOGGR’s Nov. 15 public notice begins its formal rulemaking process and marks the start of a 60-day public comment period for the new rules. DOGGR also … Continue reading »

CEQA reform 2013 holds promise for improving the environment

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | October 16, 2013

Governor Brown recently signed into law this year’s version of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, which as my colleague Eric Biber noted was decidedly stripped down from what it could have been. SB 743 (Sen. Darrell Steinberg) got a lot of negative attention for giving the Sacramento Kings basketball arena proponents accelerated environmental review … Continue reading »