Friday, February 27, 2015

Nursing home owners with poor track records would face tougher scrutiny in California, and consumers would get better information about operators under a bill introduced by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.

Responding to a three-part series published last year in The Sacramento Bee, McCarty said Thursday he wants California to "improve oversight and transparency of the nursing home industry to better protect seniors and their families.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The demonstrations last year against police violence sparked by the deaths of unarmed civilians in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City are over. But their spirit lives on in California's Capitol.

There's a bill by Pomona Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez that would require police to report annually to the California Department of Justice when an officer is shot or when an officer shoots someone, not just when someone dies in custody.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Smoking is so déclassé, or so we've been told.

The smoking rate among California adults hovers at 12.5 percent, far below the national average of 19 percent. But this is a big state with many regions.

Smokers evidently are not the social outcasts in, say, Bakersfield, Redding or Sacramento County that they are in San Mateo and Atherton.

Friday, February 6, 2015

In a sign of how much term limits are affecting the legislative process in California, freshman legislators have been appointed to chair four out of six key committees handling education and children’s issues – even though they had no prior experience as lawmakers in the state Capitol.

But lawmakers who were appointed to their posts within days of coming to the Legislature don’t appear daunted by their rise to the top of the legislative committee pyramid. In interviews with EdSource, they say their experience before coming to Sacramento qualifies them for the role of committee chair. Of the six, two are former teachers, two are former school board members, another was a community college president and two are former city council members.

Friday, January 30, 2015

In the months since a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a lot of time and energy has been spent pondering the uncomfortable question of whether police officers are too quick to kill people of color.

The lack of data either way means much of the debate has relied on anecdotes, over-generalization and stereotypes. But in California at least, there are good, hard numbers from which to draw conclusions – and it doesn't look good for those who doubt that race is a factor in the use of deadly force.

Monday, January 26, 2015

How confident can we be that police departments do a fair and adequate job of investigating deadly encounters between their officers and the public? How confident can we be that district attorneys and grand juries act impartially when deciding whether to charge officers with crimes?

Much of the nationwide discussion that has taken place in the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in New York, Ezell Ford in Los Angeles — and other unarmed black men around the country — has begun to crystallize around those questions. One result is a push for independent investigations conducted not by the police department or the local prosecutor but by outsiders.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

On Sunday, this newspaper provided an editorial addressing this thorny dilemma (“When the police are investigated”). Its intent was not to provide an answer but simply to promote dialogue and healthy debate.

Well, here goes. I concede the question is straightforward, but the answer may be less elusive, if we have an end result in mind.