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From KQED News Staff: Underreported Stories of 2011

| December 31, 2011
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We asked our news staff to choose some stories they thought didn’t get the attention they deserved in 2011. Here’s what they thought:

Scott Shafer, host and reporter, The California Report Magazine

Jerry Brown waited until the last week of his first year in office to appoint any judges to the Superior Courts. After naming the only non-judge to the California Supreme Court (Cal’s Goodwin Liu) Brown named 14 lower court judges, many of them reflecting his “outside the box” thinking.

Unlike past Governors (other than himself) Brown appointed many defense attorneys as judges and more than half were minorities. With some 50 more vacancies on the courts, it will be interesting to see if his next appointments continue this new path to the bench – and whether tough-on-crime advocates start to gripe about Brown’s approach to criminal justice.

Rachael Myrow, host and reporter, The California Report

Parent Trigger Law Proving Difficult to Implement

California’s “parent trigger law” was supposed to give parents the power to turn around failing schools, from converting a campus into a charter school to firing the principal. That’s not what happened when some parents in Compton tried to pull the trigger.

New Census Data Reveals Aging Calif. Population

We can’t talk about this enough. There’s a massive population bulge headed for our state’s nursing homes, hospitals, and other places…

Legislators Want State to Regulate Health Care Costs

This only highlights how little power there is at the local, state and federal levels of government to shelter the self-insured from rising coverage costs.

Investors Who Bought IndyMac Make Bank

We talk a lot about the Californians who lost out as a result of the housing crisis. Not so much about the Californians who did well…

Gov. Brown’s Plan to Create Jobs: Change Tax Structure

Attempts to do much more than reshuffle the deck chairs on the Tita- I mean, California, mostly seem to die quick deaths.

Lauren Sommer, Reporter, QUEST

Combating Bay Invaders

San Francisco Bay has a huge problem with invasive species that have been brought in through international shipping. California is phasing in regulations meant to limit the introduction of new species, but questions remain about how well current regulations are being enforced.

Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe

Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe’s clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to the lake’s clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up.

Ian Hill, online community engagement specialist, KQED News

What’s next for Silicon Valley?

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a bit of a stir in October when he told an audience at Stanford that, if he could go back in time, he would never have left Boston for Palo Alto. He said Silicon Valley is too focused on short-term success and that “it’s not the only place to be.”

While Facebook’s HQ isn’t going anywhere, Zuckerberg’s comments reflect what could be a nagging problem for one of the Bay Area’s biggest economic engines. Silicon Valley is no longer the only region in the country providing resources for Internet startups. Technology (ironically) has made it easier to start a successful online business anywhere. If a group of talented, inspired entrepreneurs decide to incubate in, say, New York City, government officials in the Peninsula may suddenly find themselves having to compete for the tax dollars created by new tech businesses.

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