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.

Opinions

GOP electoral strategy making headway

OPINION: Make no mistake, while modest, legislative gains made by GOP candidates were the result of a well-crafted strategy, quality candidates and disciplined campaigning. The blueprint for these elections can become a foundation for a continued Republican resurgence and, long-term, it can help the Party compete and win statewide.

Opinions

Cap-and-trade: Fix needed now on regulation

A powerplant at sunset. (Photo: David Crockett)

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in his recent state-of-the-state address that California should take steps to approve an aggressive new greenhouse gas reduction goal for 2030. This additional proposal would take California beyond the current 2020 goal set by Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The AB 32 Implementation Group is concerned that creating a 2030 goal will shift attention away from current regulations that are intended to meet the greenhouse gas emissions goal California’s elected officials adopted in 2006 for 2020.

Opinions

Inside the Capitol: Examining gridlock and compromise

The state Capitol in Sacramento, ground floor near the West Steps. (Photo: Trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: What causes gridlock in the legislative process? Has it been getting worse over time? And, what can be done to lessen the conditions that promote gridlock and increase the conditions that promote compromise?

Opinions

Clean energy policies provide jobs, training

OPINION: Now that oil industry fear-mongering over gasoline prices has turned out to be completely phony, it’s time to take a serious look at the real impact of California’s climate change and clean energy policies on communities around our state. Simply put, the news is good and getting better. These successes and stories haven’t been widely shared, however, and we’re hoping to change that.

Opinions

Lobbying: A veteran advocate details his profession

Lobbyist Bev Hansen, left, and her fellow advocates in an Assembly corridor just days before the end of the 2014 session. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

While most people have heard of lobbyists and have a general idea of what the lobbying profession is about, few understand the breadth and complexity of this work and the important role that lobbyists play in developing state policy. When I first began lobbying, long-time relationships ruled the process, there was far more bipartisan collaboration, and individual legislators wielded enormous clout.

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