Monthly Archives: November 2011

Why Does California Have So Many Charter Schools?

Courtesy of Dave Parker/Flickr

California’s charter school industry is booming. Even as school districts reel from punishing budget cuts and school shutdowns, new charters are sprouting in every corner of the state: just this year, a hundred schools opened for business. There are now 982 of them in California, the most in the country by far, Continue reading

What’s So Fair About Fair Housing Laws?

INCLUDES: ARTICLE AND KQED AUDIO CLIP

Rick Reinhard/Flickr

In the 1960’s Congress began enacting a series of civil rights laws intended to (among other things) protect certain classes of home-buyers or renters from discriminatory housing practices,  and to help increase the supply and access of housing for lower income and underrepresented populations. Continue reading

If California’s Broke, Why Is It Still So Expensive To Live Here? (take the interactive quiz!)

INCLUDES: ARTICLE; INTERACTIVE QUIZ; KQED AUDIO CLIP

Putting a roof over your head in the Golden State doesn’t come cheap. Even with the second-highest unemployment rate in the country (after Nevada) and one of the highest rates of home foreclosures, California still remains among the most expensive states in the country to live in. The median home value here is 1.8 times the national average.

and the HUD-defined fair-market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit plus utilities is about $1,360 (compared to $960 nationally). The state has six of the top 10 most expensive home-buying markets in the country and five of the top 10 rental markets. Continue reading

Ranked-Choice Voting Explained

INCLUDES: ARTICLE AND VIDEO

In early November San Franciscans chose their mayor through an electoral process called ranked-choice voting (RCV). Also known as “instant run-off voting,” voters were tasked with picking three candidates (instead of one), and ranking them in order of preference, thus eliminating the need for a separate runoff election. It’s the first time San Francisco used this system to decide a competitive mayor’s race (RCV was used in San Francisco’s last mayoral election, in 2007, but because Gavin Newsom won in a landslide, the system wasn’t really put to the test).
Continue reading