Crime, sentencing reforms gain traction

An inmate gestures through the bars of his prison cell. (Photo: Sakhorn, Shutterstock)

For decades, Californians and their representatives in the state Capitol had a “lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key” approach to lawbreakers. But that view is changing. Following years of a steadily increasing prison population and some communities repeatedly being devastated by crime, public discussion has shifted in part toward reforming law enforcement’s approach to crime prevention.

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Opinions

Diabetes: Targeting sweetened drinks is simplistic approach

Healthy foods and exercise are a deterrent to diabetes. (Photo: Dimitry Lobanov)

More than one out of three adults have pre-diabetes. Fifteen to 30 percent of them will develop type 2 diabetes within five years if they don’t make lifestyle changes now. This is no exaggeration, these are numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there is no easy answer to curbing obesity and diabetes, the good news is both can be prevented through a combination of physical activity, balanced food choices and good old-fashioned weight loss.

Opinions

The uphill trail to gender equity

An illustration of the modern workforce. (Photo: Shutterstock)

When I was a member of the electrical engineering faculty at the University of Michigan in the early 1990’s, I will never forget what the head of our department would invariably say to me whenever I stayed in the lab to work late. “Why are you still here,” he wanted to know. “Don’t you have a family to go home to?” From equal pay for equal work to access to health care and a host of other issues, it should be obvious to any thinking person that we don’t have the level playing field valued by so many Americans.

News

A deep dive into California’s lobbying laws

State Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: Wikimedia)

ANALYSIS: The 2014 Legislative Session produced a number of bills that would have substantially changed the rules that affect lobbying activity. The Legislature passed legislation that would have zeroed out lobbyist gifts and lowered the gift limits for all public officials to $200, as well as eliminated gifts of golf, spa treatments and a host of perks for public officials. However, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed all these bills.

News

UC administrative staff tripled in two decades

The top of Sather Gate, UC Berkeley. (Photo: University of California)

Long story short: The University of California says the state needs to increase its investment in its public universities to stave off tuition hikes, while the state wants UC to be more creative and willing when it comes to penny-pinching. At the nine major undergraduate UC campuses (excluding UC Merced, Hastings and UC San Francisco) administrative positions have more than tripled between 1993-2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Opinions

Discrimination targets some health care providers

A physician flanked by the California flag. (Illustration: Niyazz, via Shutterstock).

While our state and nation continue to implement the Affordable Care Act, it is especially important that patients have access to a team of health care professionals who work together to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. Unfortunately, that is not always the case here in the Golden State.

News

Privacy getting taken for a ride

A ride-sharing illustration. Photo: PP77LSK, via Shutterstock)

It’s as if they can read your mind: Before customers even ask to be picked up, apps let Uber or Lyft know you’ll need them. That’s because personal data housed in smart phones tell ride-sharing companies when and where their customers most frequently need rides. It’s innovated the car-service industry, critics say, at the expense of users’ privacy.

News

Calderon prosecutors: FBI agents should be disguised in court

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to allow three FBI undercover agents to testify in disguise with the public excluded in the upcoming corruption trial of former Sen. Ronald Calderon, who is accused of taking more than $80,000 in bribes. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles said the three agents – who were at the heart of an investigation that spanned several years – would be placed at risk if they were forced to testify in public.

News

Delays, uncertainty mark state investigations of group homes

ProPublica reviewed more than 450 complaint investigations undertaken by the agency between 2009 and 2014 from roughly 50 Level 14 group homes, the residential facilities for California’s most acutely disturbed children. More than half the investigations produced “inconclusive” findings, meaning that no determination of facts was reached in cases that involved sexual abuse, physical assaults, drug use or inadequate care at the facilities.

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