Law + Policy

Beyond Minimum Wage Hikes: With Universal Basic Income, “Everyone Gets a Check”

The pact to raise the minimum wage in California to $15 in six years is but the latest attempt to address the economic crisis of our times: income inequality. The facts are that the middle class is shrinking, the rich are getting ridiculously richer, and the poor are—well, staying really poor. Read more about Beyond Minimum Wage Hikes: With Universal Basic Income, "Everyone Gets a Check" »

‘Once a Doper, Always a Doper’—Olympic Runner Denounces 2nd-Chance Racers

The way Alysia Montaño sees it, she should have one Olympic and two world championships medals, instead of none. The former UC Berkeley runner finished fourth in the 800 meters at the 2011 world championships, fifth in the 2012 London Olympics, and fourth again at the 2013 world championships. In each of those races, she finished behind athletes who now face bans after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Read more about 'Once a Doper, Always a Doper'—Olympic Runner Denounces 2nd-Chance Racers »

Opium Dreamland: Reporter Sam Quinones on Heroin, Pills and his Punk-Rock Roots

Punk rock, which was big during the years writer Sam Quinones spent at UC Berkeley, turned out to be more than just the background noise of an undergraduate life.

For Quinones, who double-majored in economics and American history, it provided an opportunity. He produced several punk shows while he was a student living at the now-shuttered Barrington Hall co-op, bringing in well-known bands such as The Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. “They were probably the biggest shows ever at Barrington Hall,” he said. Read more about Opium Dreamland: Reporter Sam Quinones on Heroin, Pills and his Punk-Rock Roots »

From the Fall 2015 Questions of Race issue of California.

Division Street Debacle: Nothing Else Works—Why Not Legalize Homeless Encampment?

For superstitious reasons, 13th Street in San Francisco is called Duboce, and Duboce eventually becomes Division Street, running beneath a freeway that splits right to Oakland and left toward the Golden Gate Bridge. It was here, where the sidewalks had little foot traffic and there was some shelter from the rains, that a settlement of homeless people grew up in the past year. It was much like a smaller version of the favelas of Rio do Janeiro or the colonias of Tijuana, yet big enough to upset the San Franciscans driving by. Read more about Division Street Debacle: Nothing Else Works—Why Not Legalize Homeless Encampment? »

Capturing the College Vote: Law Students’ Bill to Register for Classes and Voting

What to do about typically anemic voter turnout among young people? Two UC Berkeley law students are behind a proposal that would automatically register students to vote when they enroll for classes in any public college or university in California.

Berkeley Law third-year Cindy Dinh and first-year Paul Monge drafted the bill with its sponsor, Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco. He accepted their idea as part of “There Ought to Be a Law” a program, which allows people to submit plans to change or create laws. Read more about Capturing the College Vote: Law Students' Bill to Register for Classes and Voting »

California’s Water System Leaks Like a Sieve—How To Save Millions of Gallons

The drought may not have caused California’s water crisis, but it’s certainly brought it to the attention of a public largely uninterested in it until government fiat made shorter showers and dead lawns de rigueur. State water demand has outstripped supply for decades. Water rights claims for the massive State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project outpace average annual supplies by at least five fold. Read more about California's Water System Leaks Like a Sieve—How To Save Millions of Gallons »

‘This Is Not a Stunt:’ Behind the Campaign to Force Politicians to Wear Sponsor Labels

NASCAR drivers, golfers and tennis players won’t be the only ones wearing patches touting their sponsors if a San Diego millionaire has his way. Republican entrepreneur John Cox is bankrolling a proposed initiative for the November ballot that would require members of the California Assembly and State Senate to wear stickers or badges emblazoned with the names of their top 10 donors. Read more about 'This Is Not a Stunt:' Behind the Campaign to Force Politicians to Wear Sponsor Labels »

The Poll Slayer: New Book Argues that Surveys are Simplistic But Humans are Complicated

It’s virtually impossible these days to imagine an America without those vaunted interpreters of the national mood: polls. They help determine the fate of political contenders, shape social policies, and interpret the mood of the nation. The aggregator realclearpolitics.com lists no fewer than 22 public polls in the past week focused on the Democratic presidential primary alone.

But are polls as useful as we think? Read more about The Poll Slayer: New Book Argues that Surveys are Simplistic But Humans are Complicated »

Reconsidering Socialism: Younger Voters No Longer See the Label as Toxic

Technically, the jury is still out on whether Bernie Sanders’s identification as a socialist will hurt the Vermont senator in the Democratic presidential primaries. Slate’s Jordan Weissmann says it was the best thing Sanders ever did, because it conveys the notion that he will implement “fundamental changes in politics” at a time where people desperately want them. Read more about Reconsidering Socialism: Younger Voters No Longer See the Label as Toxic »

All’s Well That Tends Wells? New State Law To Control Sucking Up of Water

The drought gets a lot of undeserved blame for California’s water crisis. Naturally, four dry years have exacerbated the problem, but the real culprit is the state’s Gold Rush–era water law, which has allowed landowners to sink wells that suck ever deeper and drier— unfettered by any accountability to their neighbors, their region, or the state. Historically low groundwater levels have resulted, spawning all kinds of Wild West drama. The Central Valley is sinking! A thousand Tulare County wells go dry! Read more about All's Well That Tends Wells? New State Law To Control Sucking Up of Water »

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