A roundup of this week's articles and commentary CalMatters

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More than 12,000 Californians are getting cash from guaranteed income experiments

By Jeanne Kuang

State and local governments, and some private funders, are launching dozens of pilot projects making direct, monthly payments to low-income residents to help meet basic needs. Researchers will study what happens next. The key question: Will this money add to, reform, or supplant current welfare programs?


With a guaranteed income, you can buy precious time with your family, say California parents

By Jeanne Kuang

Los Angeles and Oakland parents who received monthly cash without restrictions from new pilot programs said it did more than help them pay bills. What they gained, they said, was priceless — more time with their children.


California homelessness: Where are the state’s billions going? Here’s the new, best answer

By Ben Christopher

For the first time, a new state report offers a bird’s-eye view of how much the state has spent to halt homelessness — nearly $10 billion over three years. Of the half-million Californians who made use of those services, more than 40% ended up housed. Which also means the majority did not, or the state lost track of their whereabouts.


Silicon Valley’s vast wealth disparity deepens as poverty increased

By Alejandro Lazo

One of the world’s richest regions has some of its starkest divides, with its top 10% of households holding two-thirds of its wealth.


Floods, fires, droughts show California needs bigger safety net for farmworkers, advocates say

By Nicole Foy

January’s rains flooded farm fields and orchards. Many California farmworkers lost weeks of pay. Advocates say the state should help them weather such crises. A leading proposal would pay $300 a week to undocumented workers.


‘Cal Poly Homeless’: Does Northern California’s first polytechnic university have the infrastructure to support its growth?

By Oden Taylor

Officials hope to double enrollment at Cal Poly Humboldt by 2027. Plans to reserve all on-campus housing for first-years were scaled back last week after current students staged protests – but some returning students may still end up living in hotels or even on a barge. The uproar illustrates the severity of the state’s student housing crisis.


Newsom suspends environmental laws to store more Delta water

By Alastair Bland

Facing criticism that stormwater flowed out to sea, the governor asked the water board to waive rules designed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. Environmentalists call it “a breakdown of law and order” while growers laud it as a way to ensure more water is delivered this year.


Who draws the lines? A big push for independent local redistricting

By Sameea Kamal

Advocates and lawmakers are calling for fully independent commissions to decide election districts for cities and counties across California. While about a dozen new commissions drew maps after the 2020 Census, in many other places, politicians or their appointees did.

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California needs Feinstein’s successor to share her democratic values

By Scott Gerber, former communications director for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein remained firmly committed to working across the aisle, even as partisanship increased in the Senate. As voters start thinking about the political ideals of her successor, some argue that California will be best served by someone who can maintain that spirit.

Why California needs a progressive senator to succeed Dianne Feinstein

By Joe Sanberg, progressive business leader, anti-poverty advocate and founder of CalEITC4ME

California’s changing demographics and vast wealth gap have inspired liberal voters to push for a more progressive U.S. senator to succeed long-serving Democrat Dianne Feinstein in 2024.

Border fence construction at Friendship Park does not reflect California values

By Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, board chair for The California Endowment, and Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment

The controversial construction of a taller border fence at Friendship Park at the California-Mexico border began this week. If completed, a once beautiful vista filled with joy, family and togetherness could become an ugly metaphor for U.S. immigration policy.

Slashing transit funds will undermine California’s ability to meet climate goals

By David Weiskopf, senior policy advisor for climate and environmental issues at Next Gen Policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed cuts to various transportation programs to help address a looming budget deficit. With COVID relief funds expiring, many agencies are already facing a fiscal cliff, and advocates worry that additional cuts could derail any chances of meeting the state’s climate goals.

Could Public Records Act be made more useful?

By Dan Walters

The California Public Records Act grants the public access to government documents, with some exceptions. But using the act can sometimes be difficult.

COVID-19 effects on California will linger for years

By Dan Walters

Gov. Gavin Newsom will soon lift the state of emergency he declared nearly three years ago due to COVID-19, but the negative effects will linger on for many years.

Half Moon Bay shooting rehashes California’s historic resistance to humanely housing farmworkers

By José Vadi, author of “Inter State: Essays From California

One of the farms where the Half Moon Bay mass shootings took place announced plans to build proper housing with codes and permits by next year. But why must it take a mass shooting to motivate a farm to humanely house its workers?

Gavin Newsom’s intriguing proposal to close a tax loophole

By Dan Walters

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to close a loophole that allows wealthy Californians to escape state income taxes. It has intriguing aspects, including its potential to affect some of his closest allies.

California’s housing duel between state and local governments intensifies

By Dan Walters

A long-running conflict between the state and local governments over housing is entering a new and more confrontational phase. Several jurisdictions in the Bay Area failed to submit housing plans on time, prompting at least 12 lawsuits that could potentially give the state greater authority on local housing decisions.