East Bay Express: In the 15th Assembly District, Six Candidates Appear to Have a Shot at the Top Two Spots

It looks like the race will come down to a contest among Judy Appel, Ben Bartlett, Jovanka Beckles, Dan Kalb, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, and Buffy Wicks.

No other Assembly race in California is as competitive as the East Bay's 15th District this year. Twelve candidates in total are vying for the seat, traditionally a progressive outpost in the left-leaning legislature. Of the 12, six candidates have raised significant amounts of money so far and have successfully delivered their pitches to voters throughout the district, which encompasses everything along the bayshore between Hercules and Emeryville plus Oakland's Rockridge and Montclair neighborhoods and the city of Piedmont.

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How To End Educational Oppression in CA

California school boards are prevented by the state legislature and governor from offering disproportionate pay to employees willing to work in high-poverty zones, cutting pension spending, altering permanent employment (tenure) rules or granting principals the power to fire poorly performing employees. The outcome: poor student performance, inadequate teacher salaries, and shaky finances despite a huge increase in spending.

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The Most Worrisome Report in California

California school districts must file “interim reports” with the California Department of Education certifying their ability to meet financial obligations. Certifications fall into three categories…

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Being Fair To CA’s Teachers

Everyone must chip in to solve pension and OPEB crises.

It’s not news that exploding spending on pensions and retiree health care is crushing public services in California. It’s a problem that didn’t have to happen, as explained here. But it did — and the result is $1 trillion being diverted from schools and other public services in CA.

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Fake News From CTA

Say you run an association whose members receive $70 billion per year from California’s government. Would you try to influence voters? Sure you would.

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NY Times: A $76,000 Monthly Pension: Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash

A public university president in Oregon gives new meaning to the idea of a pensioner.

Joseph Robertson, an eye surgeon who retired as head of the Oregon Health & Science University last fall, receives the state’s largest government pension.

It is $76,111.

Per month.

That is considerably more than the average Oregon family earns in a year.

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California’s Great Diversion

General Fund tax revenues in Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget for 2018–19 are expected to be 32 percent higher than ten years ago yet the same budget proposes only 9 percent more spending for California State University than ten years ago.

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California’s Next Tax Increase

Inevitable unless the Big Diversion is ended.

Jerry Brown’s budget for 2018–19 predicts revenues will be 32 percent greater than ten years ago yet that same budget proposes 14 percent less for the Judicial Branch and only 8 percent more for the University of California.

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64 Years After Brown v Board of Education

Time for more than lip service from California legislators.

In 1951 Oliver Brown sought to enroll his third-grade daughter Linda at a neighborhood elementary school in Topeka, Kansas. African-American, Mr. Brown was unhappy that his daughter had to travel to a segregated black school while her neighborhood school was located only seven blocks from her home. As Ms. Brown later told a reporter, “the walk was very frightening to me and then when wintertime came, it was a very cold walk. I remember walking, tears freezing up on my face, because I began to cry.” But her all-white neighborhood school refused to enroll Ms. Brown. Defiant, Mr. Brown joined in suing the school district and prevailed in 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were inherently unequal.

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50 Years After East LA Walkouts

Agonizingly slow progress in fast changing times.

In 1968 Latino students walked out of public high schools in East Los Angeles in protest of unequal educational conditions. 50 years later what has changed? CA’s Latino graduation rate has improved but unequal conditions and poor educational outcomes persist and graduating students are often unprepared for college. That’s in significant part because billions of dollars are being diverted from classrooms, too many under-performing teachers are spared from dismissal, and pay and support isn’t differentiated for teachers in high poverty schools.

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The Glass House In California’s Capitol

California’s largest health care system is a state-run single-payer system (“Medi-Cal”) that covers the state’s 13 million poorest residents, a population greater than all but four states. Service is terrible. Despite spending of $100 billion per year, appointments are hard to get, emergency room visits are up, there’s little indication of greater healthiness, and there’s even evidence than uninsured patients do better in some cases. Yet the California Legislature has not seriously tried to fix it. Indeed, in a twist worthy of parody by George Orwell, a Select Committee in the legislature recently proposed changes to other and even better-performing parts of the health care system but, with a single exception, not to Medi-Cal! Meanwhile, all that unproductive Medi-Cal spending is also crowding out funding for the needy, courts, parks, the University of California and California State University.

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Understanding CA’s Health Care System

Every California legislator should read The Healing of America by T.R. Reid. An informative and entertaining world tour, Reid describes how health care models generally fall into four categories...

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CA Swings And Misses On Healthcare

“Show Me The Incentive and I Will Show You The Outcome.”

Last month Berkshire Hathaway Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger reminded audiences that America’s health care problems are all about incentives. As he puts it, “show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” In the US, the incentive for health care providers — hospitals, doctors, nurses et al. — is to provide more services than necessary and not to address chronic problems. They make more money when people don’t get healthy. The outcome perfectly matches that incentive: US health is no better than the rest of the developed world despite spending twice as much per capita.

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San Francisco Finally Gets An Analyst!

San Francisco has a $10 billion budget yet — until now — the only professional financial analysts covering the city have been rating agencies like Moody’s. But because rating agencies care only about San Francisco’s ability to service debt, the payment of which is senior to public services, that means no one has been looking out for the public.

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