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Police Chiefs Discover ZIP Codes Can Predict More Than Health

April 28, 2011

Public health expert Dr. Anthony Iton says that if you give him your address, he can tell you how long you’re likely to live. His prediction isn’t based simply on homicide rates or disease prevalence. It’s based on the stress of living in neighborhoods that aren’t safe, where, for instance, children avoid playgrounds for fear of stray bullets and adults stay home at night for fear of being assaulted.

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Changing population may challenge healthcare services

April 28, 2011

Changing population may challenge healthcare services

Merced County, like the rest of California, is home to a growing population of ethnic minorities. The county also offers a glimpse into the future, a window onto how healthcare services might need to change to address the needs of a changing community.

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Legacy LA Links Dreams with Leadership in Boyle Heights: A Conversation with Lou Calanche

April 27, 2011

Maria “Lou” Calanche believes in dreams. But Calanche, a community activist since her teens, knows that residents of the Ramona Gardens housing project need leadership skills to turn their dreams into reality. As Executive Director of the Boyle Heights non-profit Legacy LA, she works with parents and at-risk teens to find alternatives to the gangs, violence and drug addiction that perpetuate the cycle of incarceration, teen pregnancy and low graduation rates.

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Rate regulation bill clears committee

April 26, 2011

A key Assembly committee took the first step Tuesday toward regulating the rates health insurance companies can charge their customers.

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HIV prevention efforts a struggle after budget cuts

April 26, 2011

HIV prevention efforts a struggle after budget cuts

Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, state funding for HIV and AIDS programs was cut by more than half, $85 million, in the 2009-10 fiscal year. That included the entire budget for HIV prevention and testing, though about $12 million in federal funds was still available. That trend has continued since then, and no state funding for prevention and testing is proposed in the next fiscal year either under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget as California continues to face a financial meltdown.

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New style of nursing home stalled in California

April 25, 2011

A new model for a more human-scaled nursing home that is taking hold across the country has been stymied so far in California, in part because regulations written with big institutions in mind do not work for smaller facilities run in a unique way.

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Can health insurance exchange, regulation co-exist?

April 25, 2011

Today the California Assembly Health Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would allow state regulators to reject health insurance rate increases deemed excessive or discriminatory. This hearing will come just six days after the first board meeting of the California Health Benefit Exchange. Many hope that the Exchange will take the lead in holding insurance rate increases down through actively negotiating with insurers. Can active negotiation work in tandem with rate regulation?

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Advocates, experts question proposed changes to Megan’s Law

April 24, 2011

Legislation passed by the Assembly’s public safety committee would allow counties to send email alerts notifying residents when a convicted sex offender moves into the neighborhood. Residents who sign up for the service would get messages with the name, photo, offense and address of local registered sex offenders delivered directly into their inboxes. But some victim advocates and treatment providers worry that notification doesn’t improve public safety, and may have the unintended consequence of making communities less safe.

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Corporate tax burden shrinking in state

April 21, 2011

As the economy has expanded and contracted over the past three decades, Californians have slowly, but steadily, paid more in personal income taxes to support state government. Corporations, however, are another story.

While individuals have watched their tax burden rise, corporations have seen their effective tax rate plummet even as California-based companies like Chevron, Google and Apple have posted record profits. This disparity has reinforced the state’s reliance on personal income tax and contributed to California’s chronic budget deficit.

In 2008, the last year for which numbers are available, Californians paid a little more than 4 cents in taxes on every dollar earned, up from about 3 cents in 1981. Over that same period, taxes on corporate income dropped from almost 10 cents of every dollar in 1981 to about 5 cents in 2008. The corporate tax burden fell by half while the individual taxpayer’s burden rose by a third.

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Schools struggle with uncertainty amidst budget cuts

April 21, 2011

Schools struggle with uncertainty amidst budget cuts

Larger class sizes. Salary cuts. Furlough days. Layoffs.

These are the grim choices facing school board members throughout California after another year of crushing budget deficits. Yet more tough choices remain.

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