Studies in the News 07–100

September 19, 2007


California Research Bureau

California State Library

Studies in the News



California -- One Hundred Years Ago


September 1907 - “Somewhere around San Francisco Bay, a huge whale is bumping around among the islands and water craft as uneasy as though he had a half dozen Jonahs to land. He careened into Alcatraz Island Friday, and artillerymen turned loose a rapid-firer on him without effect…. The steamer Eureka was heading out of the Golden Gate, Capt Noran peacefully pacing the quarter-deck, when his ship gave a list to port and then began to wobble. All hands were piped aft to lower the boats when the Eureka slid off the obstruction, and it was seen that a big black whale had simply been scrapping his back on the propeller.” Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1907, p. 11.


1907 -  “Interest in the missions was also influencing the Craftsman style and led to a variant popularly known as the Mission style…. Influenced by Gustav Stickley and other advocates of the style, [Irving] Gill welcomed the incorporation of the Spanish past with the Craftsman style and thought it was the perfect reflection of the historical and cultural environment of San Diego. In 1907 he entered into a short-term partnership with Frank Mead, and the two designed a house for the family of local cement magnate Wheeler J. Bailey on a cliff overlooking the Ocean in La Jolla. The Bailey house shows the integration of the two styles. In many ways the house was reminiscent of a rustic Spanish hacienda.” Journal of San Diego History, Summer/Fall 2003, p 119.


Contents This Week



Introductory Material



             A decline in gun dealers

            Technology to fight crime


            Sex and violence during the family hour


            Children in immigrant families


            Air cargo for ag exports

            Effect of tribal gaming on localities

            How states invest in innovation

Poverty, jobs and the LA economy


            Evaluating school breakfast

            First college semester matters most

            Low, high fliers gain less under NCLB


            Promising and troubling trends for California Workers

            Workers win major court ruling


            Financing wetland restoration

            Land use and climate change

            No federal plan for warming     

            Options for biosolids management


            Nonprofit's role in disaster recovery

            Post-election audits

            Public employee salaries must be disclosed


            Enrolling children in health programs

            Life expectancy in California

            Medicaid and state budgets


            Racial disparity in home lending


            Civil legal aid in the U.S.                                  

            Hard-to-employ parents

            More help needed for African-American foster children


            Cross-border trucking demonstration project

            Federal oversight of structurally deficient bridges



Introduction to Studies in the News


Studies in the News is a service provided to the Legislature and Governor's Office by the State Library's California Research Bureau. Weekly lists of current articles related to legislative issues will be supplemented by monthly lists focusing on a specific area of public policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at

This service works as before:

The following studies are currently on hand:





An Analysis of the Decline in Gun Dealers: 1994 to 2007. By the Violence Policy Center. (The Center, Washington, DC) August 2007. 12 p.




["Tougher laws and stricter enforcement have cost nearly 200,000 U.S gun dealers their licenses since the mid-1990s.... In 1994, 245,628 U.S. residents held the federal license enabling them to sell firearms. In California alone, there were 20,148. Now, there are 50,630 licenses nationwide. In California, the number of licenses fell to 2,120 this year, a drop of 89 percent since 1994…. Nonetheless, Justice Department records indicate total firearm sales have remained roughly even in recent years. But gun-related crimes have fallen during the same period, as has the percentage of Americans who say they own firearms." Sacramento Bee (August 16, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-649]




"CLEAR Connection: A High-Tech Partnership is Driving Down Crime in Chicago." By Jonathan Walters. IN: Governing, vol. 20, no. 11  (August  2007) pp. 56-59.



["Thanks to the convergence of two very powerful tools: first, rapidly filling reservoirs of data on everything from warrants and rap sheets, to nicknames, scars, tattoos and mug shots; and second, the technology to quickly sift through it all and retrieve relevant information in moments  from just about anywhere, the Citizen and Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting  program (CLEAR)  takes the basic concepts behind data-driven  crime mapping and vastly expands it, creating a widespread and cross-cutting system of information gathering, storage and retrieval that gives  all law enforcement officials -- from foot patrols to high-level managers -- as well as citizens a virtual view of the total crime picture in the metro region”]

[Request #S07-100-658]






The Alarming Family Hour: No Place for Children: A Content Analysis of Sex, Foul Language and Violence during Network Television’s Family Hour.  By the Parents Television Council. (The Council, Los Angeles, California)  September 2007. 24 p.




["Sex and violence during the early prime-time slot have increased significantly during the last six years. And although use of foul language has decreased, stronger words are more plentiful and are bleeped out in a way that enables children to easily fill in the blanks…. For years, broadcasters voluntarily reserved the time slot from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday for programs suitable for children. But the family hour began changing 25 years ago when the National Association of Broadcasters' code of conduct was struck down because of antitrust concerns…. But broadcasters say the family hour is an outdated notion." Los Angeles Times (September, 6, 2007) 1.]


[Request #S07-100-644]






Children in Immigrant Families: A California Data Brief. By Corey Newhouse, Children Now. (Children Now, Oakland, California) August 2007. 27 p.




["Half of the state’s children live in a family with at least one immigrant parent -- two-and-a-half times the national rate…. This brief sheds new light on immigrant children and their families in California, challenging misinformed, negative stereotypes with the most current and accurate data available. The information presented also shows that, while many children in immigrant families are thriving, too many are struggling. Out of this knowledge new opportunities arise to ensure even greater success is achieved by this large subgroup of the state’s population."]

[Request #S07-100-657]






The Role of Air Cargo in California’s Agricultural Export Trade: A 2007 Update. By Jock O'Connell and Bert Mason, California Agricultural Technology Institute, California State University, Fresno. (The Institute, Fresno, California) August 15, 2007. 35 p.




["California continues to export over one half-billion dollars in agricultural and other food products by air each year. The ability to ship products by air is vital to shippers of perishables.... Fortunately, recent diplomatic progress in liberalizing international aviation treaties combined with new advances in aviation technology are prompting air carriers to position themselves to offer efficient and economical air freight services. Within California, however, government policymakers have been slow to grasp the crucial role of air cargo in linking California with foreign markets and have been largely remiss in ensuring that the state’s exporters will continue to enjoy ready access to the global economy via the state’s aviation gateways.”]

[Request #S07-100-637]




Lands of Opportunity: Social and Economic Effects of Tribal Gaming on Localities. By Mindy Marks and Kate Spilde Contrearas. IN: Policy Matters, vol. 1, no. 4 (Summer 2007) pp. 1-12.




["Families living near California Indian casinos enjoyed a greater rise in income than people residing far from gambling reservations. ‘This study has shown that tribal gaming in California has improved social and economic outcomes on tribal lands and in surrounding areas,' researchers wrote. ‘Benefits include significant increases in incomes and educational attainment and reductions in poverty, especially in the poorest regions of the state.'"  Riverside Press-Enterprise (September 4, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-634]




Innovation America: Investing in Innovation. By the National Governor’s Association and the Pew Center for the States. (The Center, Washington, DC) 2007. 76 p.




[“The report shows that with the federal government’s share of research and development funding on the decline, states are stepping in by placing pools of money in R&D funds to stir innovation and create new jobs. The report is the first to catalog the breadth of activity in the states, and to offer guidelines for governors on how to ensure that public resources are well spent…. The biggest lesson learned is straightforward: How much a state spends on R&D is secondary. How it is spent is absolutely critical. Key to this truth is the notion that R&D efforts must be considered investments, not expenditures.’]

[Request #S07-100-642]




Poverty, Jobs and the Los Angeles Economy: An Analysis of U.S. Census Data and the Challenges Facing Our Region. By Jessica Goodheart and Jordan Syms, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. (The Alliance, Los Angeles, California) August 2007. 14 p.




["L.A.'s status as one of the nation's capitals of economic deprivation remains unchanged, with nearly 40 percent of the county's residents unable to meet their basic needs, close to one third of full-time workers earning less than $25,000 a year and more than 20 percent of children living in extreme poverty. This picture is aggravated further by low rates of health insurance and the rising cost of living. One of the chief causes of Los Angeles’ woes is an economy that produces too many low-wage jobs.”]

[Request #S07-100-633]







School Breakfast in America's Big Cities. By Madeleine Levin and others, Food Research and Action Center. (The Center, Washington, DC) August 2007. 30 p.




[" Because eating breakfast is essential to children’s ability to learn, stay healthy, and behave in school, it is vital to monitor how well schools are doing in reaching students with school breakfast, especially low-income students.  A majority of districts perform above the national average in reaching low-income students with breakfast, yet almost half fail to reach a majority of their low-income students with the important morning nourishment they need to succeed in school. Some have developed innovative programs which provide important models for other school districts. But many more districts around the country must adopt such methods to insure that all children have access to adequate nutrition in order to learn, grow and thrive.”]

[Request #S07-100-656]




Beyond Access:  How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students’ Aspirations and Persistence. By Anne Driscoll, University of California, Davis. (Policy Analysis for California Education) August 2007. 16 p.




[" The brief explains why California must do more than expand access to community college if our state is to prepare the workforce needed to remain economically competitive in the 21st century…. Fewer than half of the young high school graduates who entered California community colleges with the goal of transferring to four-year colleges made it through their first semester with their goals intact…. Driscoll’s analysis illuminates the decisive importance of the first semester in students’ post-secondary academic careers, and suggests that providing additional guidance and support to students as they enter college for the first time could yield big dividends in terms of student persistence and eventual transfer"].

                    [Request #S07-100-654]




Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability. By Derek Neal and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, University of Chicago. (American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC) July 2007. 42 p.




["A new study of Chicago students suggests that No Child Left Behind may indeed be leaving behind students at the far ends of the academic-ability spectrum -- the least able students and those who are gifted. The study lends some empirical support to the common perception that schools are focusing on students in the middle -- the so-called 'bubble kids' -- in order to boost scores on the state exams used to determine whether schools are meeting their proficiency targets…. 'This is the irony of the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations,’ ' Neal said, quoting a line from President Bush. 'Having lower standards is actually beneficial to low advantage children.'” Education Week (August 1, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-653]








Labor Day 2007: California’s Workers Face a Mix of Promising and Troubling Trends. By the California Budget Project. (The Project, Sacramento, California) August 2007. 6 p.




["The deepening housing slump is hurting California's job market and threatens to jeopardize the economic progress workers have seen over the past few years. California already lost nearly 17,000 housing-related jobs between July 2006 and 2007 -- even before the most dramatic effects of the home-lending crisis hit the market…. The report also found fewer Californians living below the federal poverty line and that highly paid workers have benefited most from the economic recovery. Thanks to a robust stock market, high-end workers supplemented their wages with strong investment income. Low-end wage earners, however, have seen their buying power decline." Los Angeles Daily News (September 1, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-652]




Robert Gentry v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. California Supreme Court. S141502. August 30, 2007. 53 p.




["The California Supreme Court handed workers a major victory allowing them to bring class-action lawsuits alleging labor code violations even if they had signed agreements with their employers requiring them to arbitrate such disputes. By letting workers bypass these now-ubiquitous arbitration clauses, the ruling probably will add to the high volume of back-pay and overtime class-action cases already on court dockets, experts say, and will probably set a standard for courts in other states to follow."]

[Request #S07-100-625]







Greening the Bay: Financing Wetland Restoration in San Francisco Bay. By Felicia Madsen and others, Save the Bay. (Save the Bay, Oakland, California) August 2007. 20 p.




["The Bay Area needs a bold plan to generate enough money to restore the bay's wetlands and rebuild an ecosystem necessary for a healthy estuary. Spending $1.43 billion over half a century would restore about 36,000 acres of once-diked wetlands and double the amount of tidal marsh ringing San Francisco Bay. The report recommends initiating a unified effort by nine Bay Area counties and obtaining funds through congressional bills, state and local bonds and even new taxes. The $1.43 billion goal could be met if every Bay Area resident gave $4 a year over 50 years, the report said." San Francisco Chronicle (August 29, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-623]





The Role of Land Use in Meeting California's Energy and Climate Change Goals: Final Staff Report. By Panama Bartholomy and others, Staff of the California Energy Commission. CEC-600-2007-008-SF (The Commission, Sacramento, California) August 2007. 92 p.




["Current planning still cannot meet state climate change goals. The report recommends a number of actions to address this gap, including: 1) Development of a statewide growth management plan, 2) Development of regional growth plans, 3) State funding assistance to regional and local  planning efforts, 4) State funding limited to projects consistent with the state/regional growth plans, 5) Tax policies to encourage growth consistent with the state growth plan, 6) Infrastructure funding consistent with the state's GHG and energy goals, 7) Expansion of utility local planning efforts, and 8) Inclusion of energy and climate change considerations in federal highway and transportation funding."]

[Request #S07-100-631]




Climate Change: Agencies Should Develop Guidance for Addressing the Effects on Federal Land and Water Resources. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-07-863. (The Office, Washington, DC)  August 7, 2007. 184 p.




["The federal government needs to do a better job addressing how climate change is transforming the hundreds of millions of acres under its watch. The report highlights the extent to which global warming is already affecting the nation's parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and monuments…. For the most part, the men and women overseeing these 600 million acres of land and 150,000 square miles of protected waters have little direction on how to respond to these shifts. These managers 'have limited guidance about whether or how to address climate change and therefore, are uncertain about what action, if any, they should take…. Without such guidance, their ability to address climate change and effectively manage resources is constrained.'" Washington Post (August 6, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-647]





A Brief on Biosolids: Options for Biosolids Management. By Rosa Maria Moller, California Research Bureau, California State Library. CRB-07-007. (The Library, Sacramento, California)  August 2007. 101 p.




["Biosolids are municipal sewage treated to meet federal and state standards required for land application. This paper describes the production and management of biosolids in California; the regulatory framework that controls the use and disposal of biosolids; and the controversy surrounding their use as a soil amendment and alternatives to the current management practices for biosolids with emphasis on their potential use as a source of energy.”]

                    [Request #S07-100-662]






Providing Long-Term Services after Major Disasters. By Carol J. De Vita and  Elaine Morley, The Urban Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) August 2007. 8 p.




["Nonprofit organizations are a crucial link in our nation’s emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts, but their role is not always well integrated into disaster planning…. The importance of long-term services is not well understood or even acknowledged by victims and policymakers alike. This brief highlights the lessons learned from the Urban Institute’s assessment of the American Red Cross September 11th Recovery Program.”]

[Request #S07-100-629]




Post-Election Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections. By Lawrence Norden, Brennan Center for Justice, and others. (The Center, New York, New York)  August 2007. 90 p.


["In the last several years, most of the public debate on electronic voting has concerned whether voting machines should include a voter-verifiable paper record….The widespread adoption of voter-verifiable paper records does not, however, resolve the security, reliability, and verifiability issues with electronic voting…. Paper records will not prevent programming errors, software bugs or the introduction of malicious software into voting systems. If paper is to have any real security value, it must be used to check, or 'audit,' the voting system’s electronic records. Unfortunately, the purpose and value of voter-verifiable paper records has received scant attention and little study until recently."]

                    [Request #S07-100-640]



Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training v. Superior Court of Sacramento County. California Supreme Court. S134072. August 27, 2007. 55 p.




["The salaries of government employees in California, including police officers, are a public record and must be available upon request to 'ensure transparency in government,' the court ruled. The right to privacy argument against disclosure made by employee unions 'is not a reasonable one,' the justices wrote…. Even if disclosure of the information 'may cause discomfort or embarrassment' it must be released." Contra Costa Times (August 27, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-659]





Modernizing Enrollment in California's Health Programs for Children: A Blueprint for the Future, Executive Report.  By Eclipse Solution, Inc. Prepared for Blue Shield of California Foundation, California HealthCare Foundation, The California Endowment, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. (Eclipse, Sacramento, California) August 2007. 28 p.




["This report has presented a snapshot that portrays a collection of programs that are designed to meet the needs of eligible children and pregnant women that are not well integrated on many fronts.  Several programs collect the same or similar data, most of the programs use independent enrollment systems, and linkages across programs are generally manually supported…. This report included ten interim recommendations designed to meet the study goals in the near-term by offering ways to improve self-service, by leveraging existing technology to streamline enrollment and connect applicants to the services they need, and by building interfaces between existing systems to better facilitate continuous coverage.”]

[Request #S07-100-643]




Death in the Golden State: Why Do Some Californians Live Longer?  By Helen Lee and Shannon McConville, Public Policy Institute of California. (The Institute, San Francisco, California) August 2007. 28 p.



["White men in California can expect to live an average of seven more years than black men. Heart disease and homicides account for much of the difference. White women in California live on average about five years longer than African American women, in large part because of higher rates of diabetes and stroke in the latter group…. Across all racial and ethnic groups, Californians with more than a high school education have longer life spans than those with a high school education or less. Higher education typically correlates with higher socioeconomic status -- and better living conditions. Black-white disparities persisted, however, among those with similar levels of education. The study found that Asians and Latinos in California had higher life expectancies than whites and blacks." Los Angeles Times (August 30, 2007) 1.]

                    [Request #S07-100-651]




Medicaid and State Budgets: Clearing Storm, Foggy Forecast. By Courtney Burke, Rockefeller Institute of Government. (National Health Policy Forum, Washington, DC) August 2007. 17 p.




["What makes the future of state finances and the implications for Medicaid unclear are recent changes in the financial obligations of federal and state governments and slowing state revenue collection. Medicaid relies on federal and state funds, making the fiscal health of both levels of government critical in determining the program’s future. This paper attempts to see through the fog by examining various factors that may determine the fate of state budgets and the Medicaid program over the next several years.”]

[Request #S07-100-660]







Foreclosure Exposure: A Study of Racial and Income Disparities in Home Mortgage Lending in 172 American Cities. By the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. (The Association, New Orleans, Louisiana) September 2007. 50 p.




["Minorities were far more likely than whites to be given high-cost subprime mortgages. In the Bay Area, the disparity between high-cost home loans made to minorities and whites was particularly pronounced, even among borrowers with similar incomes…. Among upper-income borrowers, African Americans were 3.3 times more likely than whites to receive high-cost loans, and Latinos were three times more likely than whites.… Although the incidence of high-cost loans in the Bay Area was lower than in other parts of the country, the disparity between minorities and whites was particularly high." San Francisco Chronicle (September 5, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-638]





Civil Legal Aid in the United States: An Update for 2007. By Alan W. Houseman, Center for Law and Social Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) August 22, 2007. 30 p.




["An integrated and comprehensive civil legal assistance system should have the capacity to, 1) educate and inform low-income persons of their legal rights and responsibilities, 2) inform low income persons of the options and services available to solve their legal problems, protect their legal rights, and promote their legal interests, and 3) ensure that all low-income persons, including individuals and groups who are politically or socially disfavored, have meaningful access to high-quality legal assistance providers when they require legal advice and representation. The United States has made considerable progress in meeting the first two of these three objectives, but progress has been slow in meeting the third.”]

[Request #S07-100-628]




Hard-to-Employ Parents: A Review of Their Characteristics and the Programs Designed to Serve Their Needs. AND: TANF Policies for the Hard      to Employ: Understanding State Approaches and Future Directions. By Sheila R. Zedlewski and others, The Urban Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) July 2007.


["Sixty-nine percent of those who recently left welfare and 56 percent of those who have no welfare history, receive no government assistance, are out of work, and face more than one barrier to employment. The report reviews how the entire set of safety-net services works for hard-to-employ parents, and seeks to address key questions. In addition, a related report,  summarizes states’ approaches to serving this population in fall 2006, and  the changes states anticipate in the near future to help recipients move into work and off the caseload."]

[Request #S07-100-655]

Hard-to-Employ Parents. 40 p.



                    Policies for the Hard to Employ. 56 p.





African American Children in Foster Care: Additional HHS Assistance Needed to Help States Reduce the Proportion in Care. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-07-816. (The Office, Washington, DC) July 2007. 87 p.




["A higher rate of poverty is among several factors contributing to the higher proportion of African American children entering and remaining in foster care. Families living in poverty have greater difficulty accessing housing, mental health, and other services needed to keep families stable and children safely at home. Bias or cultural misunderstandings and distrust between child welfare decision makers and the families they serve are also viewed as contributing to children’s removal from their homes into foster care….  As an alternative to adoption, subsidized guardianship is considered particularly promising for helping African American children exit from foster care. States were concerned about the lack of flexibility to use federal foster care funds to provide services for families."]

[Request #S07-100-639]








Issues Pertaining To The Proposed NAFTA Cross-Border Trucking Demonstration Project. By the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation. (The Office, Washington, DC) September 6, 2007. 48 p.




["The final roadblock for a controversial program to allow Mexican trucks to operate beyond a 25-mile strip north of the U.S.-Mexico border was a set of concerns raised by the Department of Transportation's own inspector  general…It found fault with plans to inspect Mexican drivers and trucks, which are required to meet the same standards applied to U.S. truckers...Several states lack procedures for enforcing regulations that prohibit Mexican trucks from making point-to-point deliveries within the United States, while permitting them to haul cargo back to Mexico." San Diego Union Tribune (September 8, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-648]




Federal Highway Administration's Oversight of Structurally Deficient Bridges: Testimony. By Calvin L. Scovel III,  Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation. Presented to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives. (The Department, Washington, DC) September 5, 2007. 18 p.




["The inspector general, said that, though his office is in the beginning stages of auditing the state of federal bridges and funding, there are some steps the Federal Highway Administration can take immediately. For example, Scovel said, many bridges' load ratings -- or how much weight they can bear -- need updating, which could be done immediately He also cited some issues raised in a 2006 report by his office that remain outstanding, including the need for a system that would help prioritize bridge funding based on hard data and risk assessments." Congressional Quarterly Today (September 5, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S07-100-661]