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De-Bugging civic life in San Jose

May 23, 2010
Adrian Avila was a 17-year-old street graffiti artist who had a job at a local hot dog stand when he wandered into the offices of Silicon Valley De-Bug eight years ago. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. But he found it.

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Cuts to breast-cancer screenings affect more women than expected

May 21, 2010
Budget cuts to a state program that provides mammograms to screen low-income women for breast cancer have affected far more women than expected, according to state figures. While the cuts had been expected to reduce the number of recipients by 17 percent to about 21,000 per month, only about 10,000 women per month received the service in the first three months of the year, according to this AP story.

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Poll: Voters favor mix of cuts, taxes

May 19, 2010
By a narrow margin, California voters prefer to balance the state's budget with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, according to a new independent poll released Wednesday. But almost as many people say they would erase the state's entire deficit mostly with spending cuts.

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LAO: Don’t eliminate welfare

May 18, 2010
The Legislative Analyst office is out with its quick review of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revised budget, and the nonpartisan analyst recommends scrapping the governor's proposals to eliminate welfare and subsidized child care. Similar savings can be achieved elsewhere in the budget, the office, says, with less pain to people who rely on the the state for survival or to be able to work while someone watches their children.

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The anatomy of a budget shortfall

May 15, 2010
If state revenues are climbing next year, why does California face an $18 billion budget shortfall? For a couple of reasons: mainly the need to retire this year's deficit and cope with costs that are programmed to rise automatically in the year ahead. Daniel Weintraub offers an outline to explain the numbers behind the budget mess.

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Stem cell agency tries to remove cap on size of staff

May 14, 2010
A lot of people have forgotten about California's stem cell research agency, which is spending billions of public dollars with little scrutiny. But blogger David Jensen is one person who is keeping a close eye on the place. Here is his latest dispatch, on efforts by the agency to get the right to hire more employees:

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Cali urged to start early on new health insurance exchange

May 12, 2010
The top state insurance executive in Massachusetts urged California lawmakers Wednesday to “start early” in building a new health insurance exchange that will be at the center of the state’s implementation of the federal health reform passed in March. Jon Kingsdale said the exchange can play a big role in reducing administrative costs and premiums, spurring competition and giving consumers a simple way to compare insurance plans and prices.

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Hospitals pressured to back more breastfeeding

May 5, 2010
California advocates for women and children are making a major push for breastfeeding and laying the groundwork for proposals in the Legislature that could require hospitals that deliver babies to reduce the number of newborns fed with bottled formula.

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Group homes sue state over rate freeze

May 5, 2010
An association of group homes that care for Californians with developmental disabilities has sued the state to in federal court, arguing that a freeze on reimbursement rates since August of last year violates federal law.

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Governor vetoes bill to ban smoking on state beaches

May 3, 2010
Saying he was "inherently uncomfortable" about intruding into the private lives of Californians, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday vetoed legislation that would have banned smoking on state beaches and in common areas of state parks.

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