Analysis of the Future of California’s Central Valley

Posted on November 24th, 2005 — in Growth, Development & Infrastructure :: Resources and Environment

Two reports analyze the great question mark of California’s future: the Central Valley. What will become of this giant riverine bowl filling with people at an extraordinary rate? The California Research Bureau concludes that the keys to the future are managing population growth, preserving agriculture, building economic strength and improving educational opportunities. The Great Valley Center cites air quality and other environmental issues, economic growth and better data gathering about the health of the valley.
San Joaquin Valley: Land, People, and Economy
The State of the Great Central Valley of California


Film Industry Profile of California/Los Angeles County

Posted on November 23rd, 2005 — in Economy and Business

┬áDesperate Housewives reinvigorates flagging effort. No, it’s not the Maria Shriver story, it’s one of the conclusions of a new report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. outlining the health of the movie and TV industry. The study finds that show-business employment in California is strong partly because the hit ABC show has breathed new life into scripted series. Also a weakened dollar made it more expensive to shoot in Canada. But with DVD revenues leveling off, it’s unclear what could happen to Hollywood jobs in future years.
Film Industry Profile of California/Los Angeles County


Planning for California’s Future: The State’s Population is Growing, Aging, and Becoming More Diverse

Posted on November 22nd, 2005 — in Demographics

The graying of America is an ongoing story, and as with so many other things California is a prime example. A new report from the California Budget Project dices the state’s population projections, and finds that between 2000 and 2020, California’s total population will grow by 28.8 percent. The population 65 and older will shoot up by 71.3 percent.
Planning for California’s Future: The State’s Population is Growing, Aging, and Becoming More Diverse


California’s Inland Empire: The Leading Edge of Southern California Growth

Posted on November 21st, 2005 — in Demographics :: Growth, Development & Infrastructure

California’s sheer bulk — both demographic and geographic — is always fascinating. The Public Policy Institute of California has produced a study of the Inland Empire, the massive sprawl of people and land in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Astonishingly, the area has more people than 25 states, and is geographically larger than 17 states. But as the region grows into a major center of California population, it faces stark challenges, lagging state averages for both income and education.
California’s Inland Empire: The Leading Edge of Southern California Growth


Recognition and Image Ratings of Twenty-Eight of the Candidates Mentioned for State Office in Next Year’s Elections

Posted on November 20th, 2005 — in Politics :: Polls and Surveys

Meathead and Bulworth as unpopular as the Terminator. That’s the upshot of a new Field Poll, which finds that Rob Reiner and Warren Beatty, often rumored to be possible gubernatorial candidates, have much higher name recognition than the two declared contenders, Phil Angelides and Steve Westly, but also have higher unfavorable ratings than favorable. Similar soundings here on the down-ballot races too.
Recognition and Image Ratings of Twenty-Eight of the Candidates Mentioned for State Office in Next Year’s Elections


Still Imperiled, Still Important: The Little Hoover Commission’s Review of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program

Posted on November 19th, 2005 — in Resources and Environment

The Little Hoover Commission reports that the state-federal CALFED process, designed to help resolve California’s ever-present water issues, is in need of some repair. “The vision is not flawed, but the implementation effort has drifted off course.” The commission offers some ideas about how to plug the leaks.
Still Imperiled, Still Important: The Little Hoover Commission’s Review of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program


Who Signs Up? Family Participation in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families

Posted on November 18th, 2005 — in Children and Families :: Health Care

When it comes to providing health care for poor California children, the state may not need to create new programs as much as fully implement those that exist. The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research calculates that in 2001 if the state had enrolled uninsured children in existing programs for which they already qualified, the number of uninsured youngsters would have been cut by two-thirds. So what kinds of outreach are needed? In Spanish, for one thing. Latino children and those with Spanish-speaking parents are two groups with low participation rates. There’s also regional data here: Merced County is doing the best; Ventura, Monterey, and San Benito the worst.
Who Signs Up? Family Participation in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families


The Impact of Provider Choice on Workers’ Compensation Costs and Outcomes

Posted on November 17th, 2005 — in Economy and Business

Last year’s workers’ compensation reforms were touted as one of the landmark early successes of the Schwarzenegger administration. But will they actually cut costs? One change reduced the amount of leeway workers have in choosing their doctor, and the Workers Compensation Research Institute and the Public Policy Institute of California have examined whether such reforms truly save money. The answer basically is yes. Employer-selected health care means lower costs and better return-to-work performance, although lower worker satisfaction. Maybe Gov. Schwarzenegger will test the new system himself. After the brutal on-the-job beating he took in the special election, he probably has a legitimate workers’ compensation claim.
The Impact of Provider Choice on Workers’ Compensation Costs and Outcomes

For More Background, see the IGS “Hot Topic” on Workers’ Compensation: Workers’ Compensation in California


California’s Fiscal Outlook

Posted on November 16th, 2005 — in Public Finance

Everyone is treating the new budget numbers from the Legislative Analyst’s Office as good news, but will the report make it harder to adopt a massive infrastructure bond issue — which is emerging as the primary policy area which the governor will use to rebuild his connections to the Legislature? The report notes that debt service will peak at 5.2 percent of the General Fund in 2009-10, or 6.8 percent if the deficit-reduction bonds are included. Those are not trivial levels, and a massive new bond issue would only increase them. Will the governor’s fellow Republicans, many of whom have complained about debt financing in the past, oppose his efforts for a new multibillion-dollar bond issue?
California’s Fiscal Outlook


The Quiet Success: Telecommuting’s Impact on Transportation and Beyond

Posted on November 15th, 2005 — in Growth, Development & Infrastructure

California often leads the nation into new trends, so why not telecommuting? The Reason Foundation finds that San Diego has one of the highest telecommuting rates in the country, and is one of many metropolitan areas around the nation where telecommuters outnumber transit commuters.
The Quiet Success: Telecommuting’s Impact on Transportation and Beyond