05/22/2019

News

Key Conflicts Roil California’s Ever-Evolving Waterscape

As 2018 was winding down, one of California’s leading newspapers suggested, via a front-page, banner-headlined article, that the drought that had plagued the state for much of this decade may be returning. Just weeks later, that same newspaper was reporting that record-level midwinter storms were choking mountain passes with snow, rapidly filling reservoirs and causing […]

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You think Bay Area housing is expensive? Child care costs are rising, too

Much like the hunt for a place to live in the Bay Area, the search for child care is getting harder as prices rise. Over the past four years, the median cost of childcare in the nine-county Bay Area increased 40 percent, according to research from Oakland’s Insight Center for Community Economic Development. In San […]

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California housing costs push migrants away from areas providing the most help

In recent weeks, more than 7,000 migrants have gathered in Tijuana, hoping for asylum in the United States. Some will be deported. Others will be detained for long periods of time. Those who have made it into California are finding support mixed with hardship. Across the border, there’s a cadre of pro bono attorneys eager […]

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Can California afford Gavin Newsom’s vision for school kids? Here’s your K-12 primer for 2019

Early childhood education. A top-tier national ranking for K-12 per-pupil spending. A data system that would track kids from nursery school through state universities. California’s Legislature won’t reconvene until 2019, but the Christmas wish list for public schools is already long and pricey. On the first day of session, Democratic lawmakers introduced two major education […]

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How Different Studies Measure Income Inequality in the US

Piketty and Saez (2003) found that income inequality rose substantially between 1979 and 2002 because the top 10 percent of the income distribution took 91 percent of the income growth during that period. As the real incomes of the top 10 percent soared, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent stagnated. Piketty and Saez’s findings […]

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California unemployment rate holds at record low 4.1 percent

California’s unemployment rate held at the record low of 4.1 percent in October. The state Employment Development Department says Friday that employers added 36,400 jobs last month. A year earlier, California’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. The rate hit the record low in September after spending months just a notch higher at 4.2 percent.

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Long waits at DMV? Not for Capitol insiders

Last weekend, the Los Angeles Times reported that before being appointed as Los Angeles’ new police chief, Michael Moore “took a brief, highly unusual retirement” that allowed him to rejoin the police department while claiming “a financial windfall: a lump sum retirement payment of $1.27 million from the city.” That’s because of Moore’s enrollment in […]

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U.S. Economy Grew at 4.1% Rate in Second Quarter

The U.S. economy grew at the strongest pace in nearly four years during the second quarter, powered by a rebound in consumer spending, strong exports and firm business investment. Gross domestic product—the value of all goods and services produced across the economy—rose at a seasonally and inflation-adjusted annual rate of 4.1% from April through June, […]

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Amazon won a major battle in Seattle, but a Big Tech ‘head tax’ could still happen for Apple and Google

Amazon is the largest property taxpayer and private employer in Seattle. Since 2000, the metro area has added nearly 100,000 new jobs, leading to an influx of high-skilled workers and a thriving tech industry. But some residents and local officials believe Amazon’s growth has been the catalyst for several problems, including affordable housing and homelessness […]

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Commuters who drive alone in zero-emission cars will no longer get free trips in L.A.’s toll lanes

In a bid to reduce congestion in toll lanes on the 110 and 10 freeways, Los Angeles County transportation officials on Thursday opted to end a program granting solo drivers of zero-emission vehicles free access to the lanes. Drivers with state-issued clean-air stickers will be charged a toll starting in November or December of this […]

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The Underreported Story of Middle-Class Revival

On this Labor Day, the American middle class survives. Indeed, it’s expanding. That’s not the conclusion of some arcane scholarly study. It’s the judgment of Americans themselves, though it hasn’t received much attention from politicians or the media. Most Americans have moved beyond the fears bred by the Great Recession. The middle-class comeback may be the year’s most underreported story. Public opinion polls depict the change. In its surveys, Gallup regularly asks people to report their social class. They are given five choices: upper class; upper middle; middle; working; and lower class. In 2006, before the recession, 60% of Americans identified themselves as either middle or upper middle class, while 38% chose working class and lower class. Only 1% put themselves in the upper class. . . In its latest poll on class identity, done in June, Gallup found that 62% put themselves in the broadly defined middle class, while only 36% classified themselves as working class or lower class. The shifts, said Gallup, began in 2016 and demonstrated “that subjective social class identification has stabilized close to the prevailing pattern observed before 2009.”

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Tesla’s Sales Raise New Fears Ahead of Model 3

Tesla Inc. shares took a beating on Wednesday after several analysts questioned whether customer demand for its two electric vehicles is waning as the company begins producing a cheaper sedan. The Silicon Valley auto maker’s shares fell nearly 5% in midday trading to $335.74—the lowest point in more than a month—after rising about 69% this year through last week on enthusiasm for the coming Model 3 sedan, which is central to Tesla’s plan to sharply increase total sales. Tesla on Monday reported sales of its Model S cars and Model X sport-utility vehicles were lower than analysts expected because of a supply issue with battery packs, raising new fears the company will have trouble meeting ambitious production targets for the Model 3.

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San Francisco Garbage Rates Set To Rise 14%

Getting rid of garbage isn’t cheap, and in San Francisco it’s about to get more expensive. City officials have approved a recommended 14 percent increase in rates set to take effect next month.

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Legislation touted as pro-transparency will eliminate basic services

The fundamental purpose for a city or county is to serve its residents. If government is doing its job, then your streets are clean and safe, your public parks and buildings are maintained and the like. Taxpayers should be able to expect that government is spending their hard-earned dollars on critical services that improve their health, safety and quality of life. Assembly bill 1250, authored by Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, would severely limit a city or county from contracting for services with a private entity. The proposal encompasses virtually every service a city or county can contract for — services such as accounting, waste-hauling, park maintenance, street cleaning, wastewater treatment, legal services, drug treatment facilities, IT services, landscaping services and more. If this bill is passed, it will drive up cities’ and counties’ costs and add layers of complexity to contracting for services — so much so that agencies would have limited choices for contracting services, or would be forced to eliminate specific services altogether.

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Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility

We characterize rates of intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States using administrative data for over 30 million college students from 1999-2013. We document four results. First, access to colleges varies greatly by parent income. For example, children whose parents are in the top 1% of the income distribution are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League college than those whose parents are in the bottom income quintile. Second, children from low and high-income families have very similar earnings outcomes conditional on the college they attend, indicating that there is little mismatch of low socioeconomic status students to selective colleges. Third, upward mobility rates – measured, for instance, by the fraction of students who come from families in the bottom income quintile and reach the top quintile – vary substantially across colleges. Much of this variation is driven by di↵erences in the fraction of students from low-income families across colleges whose students have similar earnings outcomes. Mid-tier public universities such as the City University of New York and California State colleges tend to have the highest rates of bottom-to-top quintile mobility.

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