Opinions

Making a case against fracking

The San Ardo oil field, Monterey. Photo: Loco Steve, Wikimedia

Fracking is taking place in urban and rural communities throughout the state, and continues to be a regular practice in California’s ocean waters. Concerned about potential impacts, Congresswoman Lois Capps has called for a moratorium on fracking in federal waters until more is understood about the risks of the practice.

Opinions

Captive orcas: Proposed ban is ill-advised, anti-science

Orcas perform at SeaWorld in San Diego. Photo: Cunimedia Photography

OPINION: More than 9 million students and teachers have participated in SeaWorld’s formal education programs. SeaWorld scientists have published more than 30 studies specific to killer whales, and the park’s successful care and husbandry of its population of killer whales – supported by a three-year, $70-million investment in their habitat – allows them to manage a healthy population of animals, while keeping young calves with their mothers and respecting the whales’ social structure.

Opinions

Obesity: Safe water for schools aid health, national security

It is estimated that 40 percent of 9th graders in the state are overweight. It is also estimated that 65 percent of adolescents aged 12-17 drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage each day. Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the diets of both children and adults in the United States. Is there a correlation between sugary beverage consumption and obesity? You bet there is.

Opinions

Workers, not billionaires, key to public pension parley

OPINION: Public employees have shown they are willing to do their part to help balance government budgets. We may not have liked the pension system overhaul Governor Brown signed in 2012, but once it became law our union leaders helped to implement the changes, which will amount to a reduction of more than $77 billion to public workers’ retirement and health care benefits.

Opinions

California schools: Searching for top teachers

OPINION: The public schools of the Golden State used to be the gold standard. These days, they’re at the bottom of the pile. Our public school 4th graders rank 46th in reading. Our 8th graders come in 47th in math. A majority of our high school students are unprepared for the rigors of college. These dismal numbers aren’t just indicators of an educational calamity; they are also evidence of an economic disaster in the making.

Opinions

Drought busting: conservation, recycling, new projects

San Gabriel River, following the rains.

OPINION: Even though California received heavy rains in the past week, officials say will still are experiencing an historic drought. We are not out of the woods. Far from it. According to the California Department of Water Resources, 10 communities have less than 60 days of water, ranchers and farmers across hundreds of thousands of acres are scrambling to find water, and dozens of municipalities have ordered homeowners to reduce their water use by 20 percent or more. (Photo: San Gabriel River, following recent rains. Getty Images/David McNew)

Opinions

Minimum wage: Let companies raise it themselves

OPINION: The Congressional Budget Office report also shows that under the hike to $9 per hour, 300,000 people would be lifted out of poverty. However, another estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people would lose their jobs. If the wage increases to $10.10 per hour the number of people being raised out of poverty would rise to 900,000 while 500,000 people would lose their jobs.

Opinions

In pension debate, ‘eliminate’ is a word with big impact

The reason, Reed says, is that the Attorney General used the word “eliminate” in describing his proposal to end the vested benefit rights of public employees. “This is the only recourse we have to correct something that is inaccurate and misleading,” said Reed of the Attorney General’s description of his measure. But Reed has a problem: He and his allies used the same word he’s criticizing the Attorney General for using – “eliminate” – when detailing his ballot measure.

Opinions

Linking young men of color to health care jobs

OPINION: Today we have a tremendous opportunity to address this crisis. Thanks to health care reform and a growing, aging population, employment in the health services sector is projected to grow far faster than California’s economy overall – 27 percent by 2020. Many of these are good jobs – positions like radiology technician and therapy assistant – that pay $35,000 or more a year without requiring a college degree. And men of color are significantly underrepresented in these fields.

Opinions

Extreme weather, climate change linked

San Gabriel Dam

OPINION: Sacramento, for example, experienced the driest year since they began measuring rainfall in 1878. Conditions are so dry that some cities in the Central Valley are already imposing water rationing orders and more are expected to follow. According to the U.S. Drought Monitoring System, approximately 85% of the state is suffering from severe drought, and the snow pack is so meager in some places, there is simply no snow to measure.

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