When Darrell Steinberg first ran for the state Assembly in 1998, he made mental health the bedrock of his legislative agenda. Shortly after he took office, the former Sacramento city councilman introduced AB 34, which initially provided $10 million to fund pilot projects for community mental-health programs. The bill marked the first significant state investment in an increasingly troubled mental health system in decades, resulting in what Steinberg called “the beginnings of real success, with decreased hospitalizations and reduced homelessness.”Continue Reading
Over the last 15 years, California’s stem cell agency has spent $2.7 billion on research on everything from cancer to arthritis. The vast majority of the money has gone to enterprises that have ties to members of the agency’s governing board. Eight out of every ten dollars that agency has handed out have been collected by 25 institutions such as Stanford University, multiple campuses of the University of California and scientific research organizations. Their combined total exceeds $2.1 billion.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, long a supporter of the California stem cell agency, today endorsed Proposition 14, the November ballot measure to give the agency $5.5 billion more and save it from financial extinction.
OPINION: Like most public employees, I pursued a career in state service because I want to serve the people of this state and do my part to promote a safe, healthy, well educated, and just California. I was also attracted to the financial security and benefits available to public employees. Unfortunately, politicization of at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) threatens these goals and makes me question whether my pension will be there for me when I retire in a few decades.
California has now reached an historic high of over 21 million registered voters. The current PDI voter file, after a full refresh of county files, puts total voter registration at 21,086,077. As a share of eligible voters, this puts the state at 83%, a higher rate of registration than we have seen since the presidential election of 1940.
Lobbyist Jennifer Fearing operates Fearless Advocacy, a small “white hat” lobbying outfit that represents nonprofits, animal rights groups, environmentalists and other clients with feel-good causes. With clients like these, Fearing isn’t the highest-billing advocate on the block, but her record at the capitol is the envy of many of her peers.
OPINION: Those who think about CalPERS often limit their perspective to the context of pensions for public employees. But the reality is that every single person who wants to be able to get a job in a community with affordable housing, good schools, safe streets, and accessible public services needs CalPERS to be successful. Otherwise, we will all pay a steep price.
Landmark legislation to improve California’s notoriously fractured mental-health system has been passed and sent to the governor in the waning days of a chaotic legislative session disrupted by the COVID pandemic. “This package of legislation is a game-changer,” said Maggie Merritt, executive director of the Steinberg Institute.
OPINION: We all could use a day off this Labor Day. The past six months have felt like six years, as Americans endure an intersection of crises that threaten our health, endanger our safety, injure our collective soul and tear at the very fabric of our democracy. We are all very tired.