Election recounts: Reforms urged

A California voter casts a ballot. (Photo: Vepar5)

OPINION: In some states, a narrow margin of victory triggers an automatic statewide recount at no cost to the candidate. California does not have such a provision, and I believe we need one.

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News

State miscalculated number of Medi-Cal doctors

The California agency that oversees the state’s low-income health plan vastly overstated the number of doctors who accepted patients through the state program last year, even as the number of people enrolled in the program was set to skyrocket under the federal Affordable Care Act, the California Health Report has found.

News

UC Berkeley’s handling of rape complaints draws fire

Students walk across the campus at UC Berkeley. (Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman, Christian Science Monitor, via AP)

UC Berkeley – under federal investigation for its handling of sexual assault complaints and the target of a critical state audit – has a flawed system for dealing with rape allegations and an internal procedure that critics say shields assailants from criminal charges. The school is one of 55 campuses across the country being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for allegedly mishandling cases of sexual assault.

News

District by district, data tells the tale in California

An abstract rendering of multi-faceted California. (Flip Bjorkman)

While most indicators signal an economic upswing in California, the reality facing many residents of the Golden State is simple: On the ground, the recovery is still sluggish. Nowhere is that more apparent than in a newly developed database that includes detailed economic information on each of California’s 120 legislative districts and 58 counties.

Opinions

The fallacy of forest ‘offsets’

Banana trees in the forest at Agua Azul waterfall, Chiapas, Mexico. (Photo: Elisa Loco)

OPINION: When it comes to reducing California’s climate emissions, should we allow companies to pollute our local communities, while paying our neighbors in Mexico to clean up the carbon? Should we gamble our climate policies on saving trees in other countries that can easily be destroyed by forest fires, just so that we can indulge in our own emissions instead of reducing them responsibly?

Opinions

Changes urged in the franchise system

OPINION: There are more than 80,000 franchised enterprises in California, employing nearly a million people. Increasingly franchise owners are seeing our rights slip away as lopsided franchise agreements protect the interests of multi-national franchisors rather than small business owners.

News

Fleshing out the CalPERS scandal

After former CalPERS chief executive officer Fred Buenrostro pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud conspiracy last week, he now must earn a reduced sentence by helping prosecutors convict the man who allegedly bribed him, Alfred Villalobos.

News

Drought takes aim at farms

A drought-stricken farm in Central California. (Photo: Johnny Habell)

As California suffers through its third-driest year on record, the effects of the drought are hitting home in some of the nation’s richest farmland. The state’s $37.5 billion-a-year agricultural yield represents about 12 percent of the nation’s total. Agriculture uses about about 80 percent of the state’s water.

Opinions

Drought takes toll on birds, Pacific Flyway

Birds take flight in the Pacific Flyway near Sacramento. (Photo: Department of Fish and Game)

OPINION: Summer is a relatively quiet time for birds in California’s Central Valley, as most of the ducks and geese are breeding in the north. But this year is more quiet than usual. According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Fish Wildlife, the number of breeding ducks remaining in California this season is 23 percent below the long-term average. The decline speaks to the significant degradation of habitat in the Central Valley due to lack of precipitation.

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