Opinions

Schools to lawmakers: Repeal the reserve cap

Blocks and crayons in a California classroom.(Photo illustration: Blade Tucker

OPINION: Late last year, the Legislature passed a fiscally irresponsible law that prevents local school districts from maintaining prudent budget reserves necessary to prepare for future economic downturns, to invest in classroom improvements, and to protect our students. As ridiculous as that sounds, unfortunately that’s the reality. That’s why thousands of educators, including school board members, school district officials, community members, parents and others are calling for the Legislature to repeal the local school district reserve cap.

Opinions

UC, CSU: Eligible students deserve a chance

Students at a graduation ceremony at Santa Monica City College. (Photo: American Spirit, via Shutterstock)

California’s universities receive more and more applications every year. Last year there were a record 193,873 applicants to the University of California and 290,473 to the California State University system. Each applicant applied, on average, to two or three campuses. But just as this demand is growing, more and more eligible students are being turned away from California’s universities.

Opinions

Critical priority: Dental care for low-income children

A youngster on his visit to the dentist. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia, via Shutterstock)

It is not often that dental professionals, health care providers, advocates, and legislators from both sides of the aisle all agree on an issue, but that is precisely what happened at a hearing this week on the state’s dental program for low-income children. Testimony and discussion honed in on the sobering results of a December 2014 state audit, which found that millions of children enrolled in Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) were not getting the dental care they need.

Opinions

Clean energy deserves strong backing from business

An electrical engineer at a solar power plant in California. (Photo: BikerideLondon, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: A package of bills has been proposed that would require the state to generate half of its electricity from renewables such as solar and wind, cut petroleum use by 50% and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings, all by 2030. The measures have drawn the predictable support of environmental groups concerned about climate change. They deserve the strong – and enthusiastic – backing of business, too.

Opinions

Bicyclists: Helmets mean safer ride

Amateur bicyclists compete in the Garrett Lemire Memorial Grand Prix National Racing Circuit in Ojai, Calif. (Photo: American Spirit, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: As an avid bicyclist and an attorney who regularly works with clients who suffer traumatic brain injuries, I support Sen. Carol Liu’s vision that all cyclists wear helmets as a matter of safety. Recently, Sen. Liu introduced SB 192, which would mandate that all cyclists wear helmets as well as wear reflective clothing at night. Not only is this legislation personal (her nephew was killed by a drunk driver while he was riding) but she’s also able to back up her vision with statistics showing the need for helmets.

Opinions

Common Core: A critical tool to meet workforce challenges

Youngsters in a California classroom. (Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: The health of California’s evolving and global 21st century economy depends on a skilled workforce. Yet, there are too few qualified applicants to create talent pools for jobs that fuel our economic growth. And while STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs in the state are projected to grow 22 percent by 2020, the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that in 2011, 75 percent of California’s 8th graders were not proficient in national math standards.

Opinions

A flawed policy: warning labels on sweetened beverages

A soft drink waiting to be consumed. (Photo: Aiaikawa, vis Shutterstock)

After several failed attempts to impose statewide taxes on sweetened beverages like sodas and fruit drinks, a bill was circulated last year that would have required warning labels on hundreds of beverages, which would have read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the bill died in committee; but it has been resurrected this year – S.B. 203 (Monning, D-Carmel).

Opinions

Low-carbon fuel standard a key to national security

OPINION: By accelerating the development and deployment of alternatives to oil, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard—which the Air Resources Board will consider this week —helps untangle us from regimes that do not share our values. It helps make our nation stronger by weakening regimes that use oil to pay for their murderous acts, and makes the world a little bit safer.

Opinions

Retiree health care debt: Brown and his accounting loophole

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

OPINION: Imagine your friend built up $10,000 of debt from buying Christmas presents on credit. When he announces an intention to eliminate that debt, you ask how. He answers that, from now on, he’s going to purchase Christmas presents only with cash. Confused, you ask, “How do you pay off debt by not incurring more debt?” His response: “I don’t know, but my accountant says it works!” Believe it or not, that is the proposal California Governor Jerry Brown just made to eliminate $72 billion in state retiree health care debt.

Opinions

Drug problem at the root of crime

A photo illustration of the temptation of drug use. (Photo: David Orcea, Shutterstock)

OPINION: As a public safety officer for nearly 20 years, I am often asked what I believe is an effective way to suppress crime in our nation. The answer is simple: Solve our drug problem. And while many envision street drugs as the problem, the misuse of prescription drugs is a huge crisis with no bias toward any community in this state. Prescription opioid abuse is estimated to cost the United States about $56 billion annually due to health costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity.

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