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Sep 27
2010

Rebooting California

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , politics , policy , Organization Development , legislation , Ideas , government , election , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson
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  What will it take to get California’s government working effectively again? Proposals for a state constitutional convention died quickly earlier this year, but some other promising ideas are now struggling to gain traction instead. cal_constitution.jpg
Planning for the "Rebooting California" symposium (see the full schedule here)began last spring, when many political observers expected a measure calling for a California Constitutional Convention to be on the November ballot. Now that such a gathering appears unlikely in the foreseeable future, symnposium speaker suggested an alternative, reports KRCB-TV Senior Political Analyst Dick Spotswood. Cal State Fullerton professor Raphael Sonensheir, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Charter Reform Commision, put forward that body as a possible role model for the state.
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There are several initiatives on the November 2nd ballot that address issues of governance, including two, Props 20 & 27, that focus on redistricting. Additionally Prop. 25 would lower the threshold for passing the state budget from two-thirds to 50%, while Prop 26 would extend the 2/rds requirment for approving new taxes to cover fees as well. When Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, expressed cautious support for the two ideas in tandem, Spotswood admits, it got him thinking.
 
Dick Spotswood blogs for the Marin Independent-Journal as The Militant Centrist.
Sep 26
2010

Increased Recycling

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , state government , recycle , politics , policy , legislation , jobs , Green , government , garbage , environment , employment , economy , corporate responsibiliyt , conservation , California , business

Bruce Robinson
recycle.jpgCalifornia has long since met its goal of recycling at least half of the state’s waste stream. So north coast Assemblyman Wes Chesbro thinks we should reset the goal to be even higher.
 
chesbrohearing.jpgAchieving further reductions in overall waste generation will require working closely with manufacturers to adjust processes and materials so that their products are more readily recyclable.


Concurrently, Chesbro suggests that the soft market for recycled materials, especially in China, may represent an opportunity for entrepreneurs in California to develop new businesses to use those materials closer to home.
 
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AB 737 is only the latest in a series of pioneering state laws that have made recycling a way of life for most Californians. To trace those bills, read this history of California's recycling laws.

Sep 20
2010

Mad MDs

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , Santa Rosa , rights , poverty , policy , media , legislation , healthcare , Health , government , finances , economy , Congress , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

mad_as_hell_doctors_button.jpgNo one has a better first-hand view of the problems with this country’s health care system than the doctors who work in it, a vantage point that has made some of them “mad as hell” about it.

 

hochfeld.jpgAs a strong advocate for a single payer health care system, Dr. Paul Hochfeld had hopes that the federal health care reform debate this year would lead to some major improvements. When the final bill was passed, however, he was deeply disappointed. madashelllbus.jpgFrom his position inside the current system, Dr. Hochfeld recognizes the power of the fiscal incentives to provide maximized, specialized care during the final few weeks or days of a patient's life. Yet he argues, it is widely acknowledged that this approach is both highly expensive, and often contrary to the comfort and well-being of the patient.
 
[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvw3Wew__YA 360x240]
 
hmf.jpeg You can find out more about Dr. Hochfeld and his film at his website.
Sep 09
2010

"Remaking California"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , policy , legislation , immigration , Ideas , government , education , community , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

There’s widespread agreement that California’s state government is dysfunctional and “broken.”  Our constitution was adopted when the the Golden State small, homogenous and barely industrialized. What will it take to bring the mechanics of the California'’s governance into the 21st century?

In addition to editing Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, R. Jeffrey Lustig, a  professor of government at Cal State Sacramento, contributed chapters framing the overall issue and spelling out the metholoogy and some suggested changes to be made in a "people's constitutional convention." Other contitutional changes are proposed in a series of essays from diverse thinkers and analysts including historian Kevin Starr, poet Gary Gnyder, and former north coast legislator Barry Keene.

mmw_ballotNothing has changed the California state constitution as much as the statewide initiative process, which Lustig explains was an early reform measure that, over time, came to be emlpoyed in ways that countermand the reformers' intentions.

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california-seal.pngProposition 14, passed by California voters last June, was presented as a reform that would reign in partisan extremism through a sort of Open Primary. Lustig, however, is not conviced that either the state issue or the adopted change is an accurate assessment of the state's current crisis of governance.

R. Jeffrey Lustig will talk about Remaking California and some of the ideas in it tonight at the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Avenue in Santa Rosa, at 7 pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County. Details can be found here.

 

 

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