06 Aug 2014

Overcompensation: Tying Corporate Taxes to CEO Pay

One night last year, as the public debate about economic inequality began to sharpen, California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) was walking to the Berkeley premiere of a documentary film focused on that very subject. Inequality for All, narrated by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, had been executive-produced by the

24 Jul 2014

Domino Effect: Pension Cutters Gamble on a California Ballot Measure

  Jon Coupal is nothing if not blunt when he describes one motive behind a Ventura County ballot measure that would replace the “defined benefit” pensions currently enjoyed by county employees and replace them with 401(k)-type plans for all future hires. “This is meant to be a template for other

24 Jun 2014

Burned: How the Chemical Industry Is Endangering Lives With Toxic Flame Retardants

  For years firefighters and environmentalists have warned of the dangers from upholstered furniture treated with flame-retardant chemicals that are linked to cancer, decreased fertility, hormone disruption and lower IQ development. Although state safety regulations allow the use of flame retardants, they are not required — the choice is left to manufacturers. Today Californians

28 May 2014

Ten Years a Temp: California Food Giant Highlights National Rise in Exploited Labor

Last April, when Federico Lopez and his sanitation team were ordered to clean a Taylor Farms storage area, the 23-year-old didn’t like what he saw. “I went into the hallway that they expected me to clean,” Lopez remembers. “There was pigeon feces, dead pigeons, dead bats and black mold. I’m

14 May 2014

Backroom Fix: How Eight Democrats Denied Health Plans to Hundreds of Thousands of Californians

Jim Araby was dead asleep when his cell phone rang at 6 a.m. last June. Until then the labor activist had been enjoying an idyllic family vacation in Guerneville, on Sonoma County’s Russian River. But the number appearing on his phone told him the call was from Sacramento, suggesting bad

15 Apr 2014

In Plain Sight: The Rise of Corporate Democrats in California

Marin County is one of California’s most liberal regions and, with its iconic redwoods and stunning coastline, it is also a power center for environmental activism. And so, when a bill to give the state Coastal Commission authority to levy fines against shoreline despoilers came for a vote in the

31 Mar 2014

The Language of Health: Medical Interpreters Bill Moves Forward

In California, a state where nearly seven million residents admit to speaking little or no English, having access to a professional interpreter can mean the difference between life and death in hospitals. With so many Californians at daily risk, a new bill would ensure that patients with limited English proficiency receive correct

06 Mar 2014

A Great Divide: The Election Fight for California’s Schools

An election campaign now being fought almost completely out of public view could radically alter the way California’s school children are taught. If Marshall Tuck unseats incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the state’s public education system could become a laboratory for a movement that prizes privatization and places

22 Jan 2014

Careless: Governor Brown Is Harming California’s Seniors, Disabled, & the People Who Care for Them

Andrea Vidales makes $9 an hour taking care of a blind Korean War veteran and an elderly couple in their Merced County homes. Under California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, she spends about 60 hours every week bathing her clients, preparing their meals, cleaning house, paying their bills, driving them to doctors

18 Dec 2013

“Unfathomable”: Why Is One Commission Trying to Close California’s Largest Public College?

To appreciate the value of a community college education, consider the transformation of Shanell Williams. By the time she was a teenager, Williams was constantly getting into trouble on the streets of San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Her abuse of drugs and alcohol, along with a difficult family life, would lead