Posts Tagged: stockton

News

‘Pesticide drift’ affecting California health and safety

A helicopter sprays a field in the Salinas Valley. (Photo: Dwight Smith, via Shutterstock)

Angela Mancuso had just dropped off her kids at Glenwood Elementary School when she started to smell something “funky.” She was driving back to her home just a mile away in Stockton and decided to roll down her window for some fresh air. She noticed too late that a helicopter applying pesticide to a nearby walnut grove that Tuesday morning in September 2016 kept flying back and forth across the road, spraying continuously.

News

Lawmakers send historic mental-health bills to Newsom

The state Capitol in Sacramento, the seat of California government. (Photo: Always Wanderlust, via Shutterstock)

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.

News

California’s boldest pension reform, five years in

Photo illustration of a nest egg. (Photo: Hidesy, via Shutterstock)

If you don’t give city employees a pension, what happens? San Diegans voted five years ago this month to switch all new city hires, except police, from pensions to 401(k)-style individual investment plans, becoming one of the first big cities to take the plunge.

Opinion

‘Digital deserts’ push life to the slow lane

Illustration of online activity at a snail's pace. (mattsabe, Shutterstock)

OPINION: In California — and all across the country — there are “digital deserts,” places where it’s impossible to get high-speed Internet access at home and thus impossible to do homework, apply for jobs and be a full-fledged member of the digital economy. These digital deserts also prevent farmers from using Internet technology to improve efficiencies in growing crops and getting them to markets.

News

Proposition 53: A battle over debt

Stockton businessman Dino Cortopassi, who is financing Proposition 53 on the Nov.8 ballot. (Photo: Scott Duncan, Capitol Weekly.)

He started out with $3,000 and a VW bug. Now, he’s a multimillionaire bankrolling a November ballot initiative to dramatically change the way the California borrows money for public works.

Opinion

Affordable housing: A tool to fight smog, traffic

An illustration of the affordable housing issue. (Nata-Lia, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: We generally think it a big success when public policy successfully fixes a serious problem. Right now, smart California policies are effectively tackling three major issues at once: housing, traffic, and climate change. Anyone not living under a rock knows that California faces an unprecedented crisis in housing affordability.

Analysis

CA120: Voter registration: GOP death rattle or a missed opportunity for Dems?

Stock vector illustration, via Shutterstock.

With the release of official voter registration numbers this week, the focus has been on the continued decline in Republican registration and growth in Independent voters. The stories, for the most part, treat these two factors as directly related, like two ends of a see-saw. As Republicans lose ground, independents grow and common wisdom within California’s political class jumps to the causal link. However, looking closer at the data, there are two significant factors that should temper this quick rush to judgement.

News

CalPERS to Vernon pension abuser: Give back $3.5 million

The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)

First CalPERS announced last year that it was cutting the eye-popping pension of a former city of Vernon official, Bruce Malkenhorst, from $551,688 a year to $115,848. Then yesterday the CalPERS board approved the recovery of a $3.5 million pension overpayment from Malkenhorst, 84, who retired in 2005 from the tiny industrial city south of downtown Los Angeles known for corruption.

News

Initiative targets CalPERS’ ‘poison pill’

A pension reform initiative filed last week requires voter approval of termination fees, the big upfront payment demanded by CalPERS when a plan is closed to new members. CalPERS says it needs the money to ensure payment of the pensions promised members who remain in the closed plan. The termination fee is calculated by dropping the pension fund earnings forecast from the current 7.5 percent to as low as 2.98 percent.

News

Contracting out, bankrupt San Bernardino cuts pension costs

On the outskirts of San Bernardino. (Photo: Steve Heap)

A San Bernardino plan to exit bankruptcy follows the path of the Vallejo and Stockton exit plans, cutting bond debt and retiree health care but not pensions. Then it veers off in a new direction: contracting for fire, waste management and other services. The contract services are expected to reduce city pension costs. Other pension savings come from a sharp increase in employee payments toward pensions and from a payment of only 1 percent on a $50 million bond issued in 2005 to cover pensions costs.

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