Overhaul urged for California court fines

A photo illustration of court finances. (Rusian Grumble, Shutterstock)

California’s courts impose hundreds of millions of dollars of “excessive and disproportionate” fines each year for common infractions, then use much of the money to support their own operations. A blue-ribbon panel examining the system said the fines should be collected by the executive branch — not the courts themselves — to avoid conflicts.

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Opinion

Cuyamaca College’s admissions policy offers statewide model

On the campus of Cuyamaca Community College. (College photo)

OPINION: Cuyamaca College no longer relies on a standardized test to place students in math classes. Instead, placement is determined by a student’s test score OR high school grades, whichever is higher. We have also changed how we support under-prepared students.

News

California’s stem cell agency confronts uncertain future

C. Randal Mills, the 45-year-old CEO of California’s $3 billion stem cell research program, is a man who loves his milestones. A private pilot, he charts his course in the air from one specific point to the next. Three years ago, Mills brought that same sort of navigation to the state stem cell agency.

Opinion

Safety not the issue with polystyrene foam

Polystyrene foam blocks on a sheet of corrugated paper. (Photo illustration: Nor Gal, via Shutterstock)

If you’ve been following the debate in Sacramento over the use of foam cups and food containers in California, you probably have heard some rather outlandish allegations related to their safety. After 40-plus years as a toxicologist, I can clearly state: There are no adverse health effects on humans from polystyrene foam food and drink containers.

Opinion

Needed: Food safety rules for meal deliverers

A ready-to-eat meal kit. (Photo: Process, via Shutterstock)

OPINION:Across the Sacramento region, color-coded placards tell diners whether a restaurant passed a food safety inspection. In some counties, you can even use a smartphone app to check an eatery’s safety rating before you head to dinner. But for meal kits delivered to our homes from services like Blue Apron, safety standards can be as opaque as the cardboard box the food arrives in.

News

Xavier Becerra: The Golden State Warrior?

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks to the Sacramento Press Club. (Photo: Michael Warren Mott)

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading California’s increasingly tense challenge to the policies of Donald Trump’s administration. It’s a role that gives him high visibility — and headaches. Becerra, in office just five months, is backed by the person who appointed him attorney general: Gov. Jerry Brown. That support is likely to translate into financial resources, too.

Opinion

Health care: The pharmacist-to-technician ratio

A pharmacist checks the inventory. (Photo: Tyler Olson)

OPINION: For many Californians, a visit to their local pharmacy is their most frequent touch point with the health care system. In fact, pharmacists are among the most trusted professionals in the medical field.

News

A push for better dental care for low-income children

A youngster pays a visit to the dentist. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia)

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would double reimbursement rates for Denti-Cal providers in order to entice more dentists to accept the insurance that covers low-income residents. The hope is to get dental care to more people – especially children. According to recent reports by the state auditor and the Little Hoover Commission, less than 38 percent of the 5 million eligible children actually received Denti-Cal care in 2014.

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