Portal plan: A chief data officer for the state

Voluminous data displayed on a computer monitor. (Photo: Dimitri Nikolaev)

A proposal before lawmakers in the final days of the legislative session would, for the first time, establish a chief data officer, or CDO, for the state, responsible for establishing and running a statewide open-data portal. It would allow the governor to fill the new position with an appointee.

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Targeting the schools’ ‘reserve cap’

School kids at work in a California classroom. (Photo: Monkey Business Images)

OPINION: California voters passed Proposition 2 last November to establish a statewide “rainy day” fund. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all law, SB 858, also passed last year as part of the state budget process. SB 858 prevents school districts from saving adequately to prepare for their own rainy day by setting a maximum average “reserve cap” of 6 percent on school districts reserves.


A pitch to expand online education

A student going to school on the web. (Photo: Anna Tamila)

OPINION: Like many families throughout California, ours is taking the important step of beginning another school year. Although we live in Sacramento County, my sons will be attending an excellent public school in Sutter County. Or, more precisely, the school will be coming to them. My sons attend the California Virtual Academies (CAVA), an online public charter school offered throughout the state and certified by the state of California.


Top 100 1-50

Another Top 100 list is history. That odd sound you hear is our vast editorial staff shrieking with joy as they collapse with exhaustion. What started out as fun a few years ago has turned into hard work, but we think it’s worth it: The rundown is more complete, more detailed and more representative of the state power structure as we see it.


Of Note: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Ed’s Note: For those who have nothing better to do than read Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 list, we thought we’d add a bonus — people of note who should be on the list and probably will be.


Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: 51-100

51. Jim Wunderman is the president of the 64-year-old Bay Area Council, a business policy and development group, and has been its chief executive officer since 2004. The Council advocates in a lot of areas – higher education, broadband delivery, housing, health care, trade reforms, technology competitiveness, to name just a few – and


CalPERS: Retirees begin to outnumber active workers

CalPERS' governing board during a meeting. (Photo: CalPERS board)

After a loss of $100 billion in the recent recession, the CalPERS funding level dropped from 100 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2009. It has not recovered, despite a major bull market in which the S&P 500 index of large stocks tripled. “Even with the dramatic returns we have seen over the past six years, because the demographics of plans in general have changed and plans are now by and large cash-flow negative, it’s been very challenging to dig out of that hole,” Andrew Junkin, a Wilshire consultant, told the CalPERS board last week.


Going mobile: Can state policy keep up?

A digital illustration of a satellite dish transmission. (Photo: Hywards, Shutterstock)

The most critical assets of California’s future economy will rely on wireless Internet technology—including renewable energy, smart agriculture, education, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. There also are important implications for public safety, where a dropped call to 911 could be the difference between life and death.


Firefighting tab at $133 million

From last year's fire season,, and aerial view in Mendocino County's Lodge Fire. (Photo: N.F. Photography)

California has spent $133 million fighting wildfires since July 1, about a third of its budgeted amount. The figure includes the costs of suppressing major blazes across the heat- and drought-ravaged state during the past month. The state has fought about 4,500 fires since January.

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