More Roads, Less Rails

Posted on August 31st, 2006 — in Growth, Development & Infrastructure :: Resources and Environment

Light-rail and smart growth won’t eliminate traffic jams, according to a new study from the Reason Foundation. We need roads, lots and lots of roads. To convince people we should be laying asphalt, the study includes predictions for congestion in 2030 in metropolitan areas across the country. Los Angeles will still be the worst, the Bay Area will be fourth, and Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and the Inland Empire will all be in the top 20.

Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America’s Cities: How Much and At What Cost?

On the Ballot, Bonds May Need Steroids

Posted on August 31st, 2006 — in Politics :: Polls and Surveys :: Public Finance

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows the big bond package on the fall ballot is in trouble. The transportation and school bonds are just over 50 percent, and that number is likely to fall as the election approaches and voters get cold feet. Smaller measures for affordable housing and flood control are doing better, but they are hardly sure winners. Lots of interesting stuff here. For one thing, who would have thought voters would be more willing to borrow for affordable housing, which benefits the poor, than for roads, which benefit everybody. More important, for years Californians have said they want another era like the Pat Brown days. But Brown did what he did by raising taxes on rich people and borrowing even more through bonds. Now voters have the chance to do that, but they’re rejecting a gubernatorial candidate promising a tax increase for the rich and may kill off large pieces of a huge bonding package. Do Californians really want Pat Brown-like governance?

Californians and the Future  

Who’s Learning What

Posted on August 28th, 2006 — in Education

The Education Trust-West takes a look at school test scores from California. The good news: Scores are up at all levels. The bad news: Almost one-third of 4th, 8th and 11th graders still test below basic levels in math and English. As the report says, “Some progress … is not enough.”

Achievement in California 2006: Small Gains, Growing Gaps

Immigrants and Community Participation

Posted on August 28th, 2006 — in Demographics :: Social Policy

In the latest study to touch on a hot-button issue — immigration — the Public Policy Institute of California examines how much immigrants are involving themselves in civic groups, including volunteer activities.

Civic Inequalities: Immigrant Volunteerism and Community Organizations in California 

What Would All These Propositions Do?

Posted on August 28th, 2006 — in Politics :: Public Finance

The California Budget Project clears up the impact of Proposition 1A on the November ballot.

Proposition 1A of 2006

How Long Can You Tread Water?

Posted on August 25th, 2006 — in Resources and Environment

Will rising oceans leave coastal cities underwater? Will Fresno get even hotter? Will ski resorts close for lack of snow? The California Climate Change Center takes a look at what global warming will mean for the Golden State.

Our Changing Climate: Assessing the Risks to California

Is Your Name on This List?

Posted on August 25th, 2006 — in Demographics :: Social Policy

The Public Policy Institute of California asks, “Who’s in Prison?” We looked for the names of several current and former elected officials, but alas, this is a more analytical assessment. The short answers: A lot of people from the Central Valley and a lot of returned parolees. Also, slightly more than half the men are locked up for violent crimes.

Who’s in Prison: The Changing Demographics of Incarceration

Global Warming and Business

Posted on August 25th, 2006 — in Economy and Business :: Resources and Environment

California Environment Policy and Research Center takes a look at 12 businesses that have cut greenhouse emissions without sacrificing profits.

Greening the Bottom Line

Still a Step Out in Front

Posted on August 25th, 2006 — in Economy and Business

Has California lost its competitive edge? Not according to a new paper from the California Budget Project, which looks at key industries: high-tech, bio-tech and the movies.

California Has Maintained Its Competitive Edge

Immigrants and Jobs

Posted on August 25th, 2006 — in Demographics :: Economy and Business

Are immigrants taking jobs from native-born Americans? Not in most places, according to a new study from the Pew Hispanic Center. The picture is less clear in California. The report includes a state-by-state breakdown, and the California numbers show below-average growth for the foreign-born, but also below-average employment rates for native workers.

Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born