Young Teacher Aims For Oakland

May 27, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, Oakland, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Youth Radio profiles a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Nessa Mahmoudi, who wants to put her Masters of Education to use in the Oakland Unified School District. Watch below to find out why Oakland Unified is both a challenging and attractive district to teach in and why they may be turning away teachers like Mahmoudi.

The Trickle Down Effect of Budget Cuts

May 25, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

Youth Radio and the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley joined forces to bring Digital Natives a video that examines how budget cuts at UCs impact students and classes at community colleges. As it turns out, one of the hottest tickets in town these days is a seat in class.

Rep. Speier Holds Youth Town Hall

March 31, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, politics · Comments Off 

Rep. Jackie Speier announced she will be holding a youth town hall on Monday, April 12 for young adults ages 18-25. In an announcement about the town hall, the congresswoman said, “Young people are passionate and full of ideas about how to improve our community, but too often they are not heard. I look forward to spending an evening with them, talking openly about their concerns and see how we can do better.” Those comments are not entirely surprising given that Speier debated the merits of young people during her appearance on The Colbert Report:

Congresswoman Speier represents California’s 12th district, which includes parts of San Francisco and stretches down to Redwood City. The youth town hall will be held from 7:00 to 8:30pm in San Mateo at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Conference Center.

For more information on the town hall visit Jackie Speier’s website.

Youth Radio Video: Cal Students Rally on Day of Action

March 4, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, news, politics, school budget cuts, UC walkouts · Comments Off 

Waiting for the Thick Envelope: Part Two

February 17, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

The California Report continued their look at the current admissions squeeze at the University of California. Today’s story features a senior at Miramonte High School in Orinda, who had this to say about applying to colleges: “I don’t know what else they want me to be. I’m trying my best.”

The series will also air as part of Health Dialogue’s Coming of Age: Teen Health episode, which airs tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. The Health Dialogues website will feature an online discussion about the stress of college admissions– so tune in, logon, and tell us what’s hard about waiting.

Waiting for the Thick Envelope

February 16, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, education, school budget cuts · Comments Off 

The California Report aired the first in its two-part series looking at high school seniors waiting to hear whether or not they were accepted into the University of California system. The system received a record number of applications this year despite a tuition increase of about 30% and cutting the number of spots available in the incoming class. Officials say cutting those spots will make maintaining diversity at UC even harder.

The Art of Sign Spinning

February 1, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, Oakland · Comments Off 

By David Cruz

Sign spinning, the job of holding a sign two feet by six on a street corner for hours at a time, has developed into a display of dance and wit. A display that, luckily for advertisers, is hard to ignore. There’s even a national competition where spinners are judged on technique, style and execution. The California Report caught up with a local advertising company at a spin-off to decide which of its sign spinners would move on to the national event.

Watch a video of the competition and listen to the audio report below:

Word of the Week: Marriage and Proposition 8

January 15, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, family, LGBTQ, news, word of the week · Comments Off 

By Emmanuel Hapsis and Amanda Stupi

In Other Words
is back with another Word of the Week–the series that explains the news behind the buzz.

This week we decided to give you the basics of the Proposition 8 trial.

To follow KQED’s ongoing coverage of the trial, visit:

The California Report’s special coverage of Same-Sex Marriage in California

Scott Shafer’s Proposition 8 Trial blog

NPR’s State by State: The Legal Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage map

Proposition 8 in Federal Court

January 11, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, family, LGBTQ, news · Comments Off 

gavel2_pdcBy Emmanuel Hapsis

The gay marriage debate in California is back in the spotlight. After the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008, which revoked the right granted by the California Supreme Court in June 2008 for same-sex couples to legally marry, civil rights activists vowed to bring the issue back to the courts and they’ve made good on their promise. Today marks the beginning of Perry v. Schwarzenegger and the first time a federal court has ever debated same-sex marriage. Here’s what you need to know:

Many expect Perry v. Schwarzenegger to be a landmark case that will ultimately end up at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Some gay rights activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), tried to prevent the lawsuit because they believe that taking the issue to federal courts, specifically what many view as a right-leaning Supreme Court, is too risky.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson and trial lawyer David Boies, a Republican and Democrat respectively, are set to represent the same-sex couples who have been denied the right to marry. What’s interesting about their collaboration is that, in 2000, they were on opposing sides of Bush v. Gore, the highly-controversial court case that resolved the 2000 presidential election in George Bush’s favor. The two high-profile lawyers plan to make the case that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution by denying the equal protection promised in the Fourteenth Amendment.

The defendants include a number of religious and conservative groups led by Charles Cooper, a lawyer who worked for the Justice Department under former President Ronald Reagan. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown are also listed as defendants, although both refuse to defend Prop 8 in court. Schwarzenegger has refused to officially pick a side on the issue, while Brown shares the Olson-Boies team’s belief that gays have the constitutional right to marriage.
Read more

California’s Budget: Not A River in Egypt

January 8, 2010 · Filed Under California, economy, education, environment, news, politics · Comments Off 
Justin Short, Office of the Governor

Photo: Justin Short, Office of the Governor

By Molly Samuel

In a nutshell, here’s how California’s budget gets passed: Every year, the governor presents his budget to both houses of the state legislature by January 10. The State Assembly and the State Senate each pass a version of the budget by a two-thirds majority, then a committee works out the differences between the two versions. A final version goes back to the Assembly and Senate, which passes it by two-thirds again and sends it back to the governor, who signs it and voila, a new budget is born.

What I left out of that summary is political grandstanding, difficult if not downright impossible goals, disagreements that will never be resolved, and the current financial crisis. When you factor all of that in, you end up with budgets that pass weeks later than they were supposed to (the 2008-2009 budget, for instance), budgets that are impossible to balance (see 2009-2010), budgets with some really tough options (see this year’s budget), and political humor (State Senate President Darrell Steinberg’s  response to this morning’s proposed budget: “You’ve got to be kidding.” And Assembly Speaker Karen Bass : it’s “a big pile of denial.” Republicans were less sarcastic.)

All hilarity aside, Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2010-2011 budget is likely to draw controversy and may lead to lawsuits. Nothing here is final; this is the initial version of the budget that heads to the legislature. But there are a few proposals that are worth watching:

Eliminate the state sales tax on gas: The idea here is to eliminate the sales tax and replace it with an excise tax. This would lower prices at the pump, which sounds pretty good. But right now the money from that sales tax goes to public transportation, and is also linked to K-12 and community college funding. Without that sales tax, public rail and bus systems could lose a billion dollars, and Democrats are projecting that schools could lose up to two billion dollars.

Fund state parks with revenue from offshore drilling: Last year the Governor proposed allowing oil drilling in a state-owned area called Tranquillion Ridge off the coast of Santa Barbara. That idea was defeated in the legislature. Last year Schwarzenegger also suggested not funding state parks. That idea also didn’t make it very far. This year he’s linked them. Cynical or genius? Could be both.

End state worker furloughs: Last year, to save money, Schwarzenegger began requiring that state employees take three unpaid days a month off of work. Starting in July, the furloughs will end, but everyone will get a pay cut. So, basically, they’ll work more, but not get increased wages. Lawsuits from the unions will probably follow.

Right now the state is short about 20 billion dollars, which is why there are so many cuts in this year’s budget. The Governor is asking the Federal government to give California more than $6 billion that he says is owed to the state. If that doesn’t happen, there could be even more cuts down the line.

Stay tuned for more hilarity.

To learn more:

The California Department of Finance’s explanation of the budget process

The California Department of Finance’s official  summary of the proposed budget

KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers’ Capitol Notes blog

Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers explaining the budget on The California Report

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