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Modest soda taxes don’t affect consumption or weight gain

March 31, 2010

Modest additional sales taxes on sweetened soft drinks won’t do much to curb consumption or child obesity, according to a study released today. But higher special taxes on soda might have more impact.

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Price of ‘progress’: displacing low-income tenants

March 31, 2010

Boyle Heights has weathered its share of threats over the years, from proposed prisons and hazardous waste plants to criminal gangs. Now residents of the historic East LA neighborhood are feeling the pressure of city-backed development that is displacing low-income housing. Community groups are using a lull in construction caused by the down economy to organize so that residents have a voice when the city pushes again to gentrify the community. HealthyCal contributor Joy Hepp has the story.

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Whitman, pre-existing conditions and the health insurance mandate

March 31, 2010

Meg Whitman might know something about online auctions and business management. But she probably ought to brush up on her understanding of the way health insurance works. The position she staked out Tuesday has been tried in several states and usually leads to skyrocketing premiums.

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Students at risk from pesticides

March 30, 2010

Ten years after the state passed a law allowing the creation of pesticide buffer zones around public schools, not one such zone has been adopted by the state’s county agricultural commissioners. Students remain at risk.

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Federal health reform bill includes a new focus on prevention

March 30, 2010

The federal health reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law last week will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But the bill will also pour billions of dollars into programs intended to keep those people from ever needing the kind of care for which they will now be eligible. The bill includes new mandates on public and private insurers to provide more check-ups and screenings without co-pays. But the most intriguing provision creates a grant program to transform communities in ways designed to improve the health of their residents.

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HealthyCal Q and A: matching the people, the training and the jobs

March 28, 2010

Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink, believes California should be doing far more to match its people and vocational training with the kind of jobs that will be available in the years ahead. HealthyCal editor Daniel Weintraub interviewed Blackwell on this topic. See an edited transcript of their conversation here.

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For universal health care, but not on his shoulders

March 28, 2010

Daniel Scherotter, a restaurant owner and chef, is leading the fight against Healthy San Francisco. It is not that he opposes the health care program. He simply thinks the city’s businesses, particularly restaurants, should not be required to finance universal health care. Fourth part of a series by HealthyCal contributor Richard C. Paddock.

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LAO: cutting health, welfare spending

March 28, 2010

Health and social service spending represents nearly a third of the state’s general fund. But facing a $20 billion deficit, the Legislature’s hands are tied by federal mandates, court decisions and voter-approved measures. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst examines the health and welfare budget and offers proposals for reducing it. See the report here.

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Between farm and table, a broken chain

March 28, 2010

After years of being urged to “eat fresh, eat local,” residents of the Sacramento region are responding. From neighborhood dinner tables to big institutional kitchens, locally grown foods are in high demand. But every spring, locally grown produce is rotting in the fields of the small family-run farms around the region. Between that abundant supply and the strong demand, the market has broken down. There is no good way to get those crops from the farms to the people who want them at a price consumers are willing to pay.

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California employment declines in February

March 26, 2010

California employment declined again in February, partially offsetting gains made in January. And the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 12.5 percent. The state lost about 20,400 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January California added 32,500 jobs.

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