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From small to giant steps: What next for California’s housing agenda?

Carol Galante, faculty director, Berkeley Program in Housing and Urban Policy | September 29, 2017

On Sept. 15, the California Legislature approved a package of 17 bills aimed at putting a dent in the state’s housing crisis. While the votes came down to the wire, in the end, the need for solutions won the day, and in the coming weeks the governor is expected to sign each piece of legislation, … Continue reading »

GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal ACA worst one yet for California

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | September 20, 2017

Co-authored by Laurel Lucia, Ian Perry and Ken Jacobs; crossposted from the blog of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Once again, Congress is considering a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid. Next week, the Senate may vote on this latest repeal effort, led by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham … Continue reading »

Senate Republicans’ health bill especially hurts the lowest-income Californians

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | June 22, 2017

Co-authored by Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center The health bill released by Senate Republicans today would be devastating to low-income Californians and their access to health coverage. While the proposed Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is largely similar to the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House … Continue reading »

How California’s housing shortage chases away the middle class

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | 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 »