Subject: Studies in the News 07-39 (June 27, 2007)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News


California -- One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

June 1857 - "Catching Salmon - The Indians on the Lower Trinity are diligently engaged in catching salmon on the Lower Trinity river. One man will catch from 200 to 300 lbs per day with a small dip net. They supply the neighborhood, and dry large quantities for winter use.” Sacramento Daily Union June 30, 1857, p. 2, col. 5. "    

1857 - "Indian Gifts - The Pitt River volunteers had returned to Yreka, carrying with them a number of [Indian] children, who were presented to different families in that place. The [Yreka] Union says that some of them are bright little specimens, and no doubt will be of much benefit to those who raise and take care of them.” Sacramento Daily Union, May 20, 1857, p. 2. col. 5. "    

Contents This Week

Introductory Material CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
   Preventing agricultural crime
   Hyperactivity as predictor of criminal behavior
   State reform of juvenile justice
   Adult literacy in prisons
DEMOGRAPHY
   Technology users survey
ECONOMY
   California trade with Canada
   Economics of illegal immigration
   Broadband access and economic growth
EDUCATION
   Measuring achievement under NCLB
   LAUSD could use funds better
   School disaster plans criticized
EMPLOYMENT
   Addressing state nursing shortage
   Recommendations for older workforce
ENERGY
   Problems with ethanol mandate
   Biofuels and the poor
ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES
   Safeguarding agricultural imports
   Recommendations for a cap-and-trade system
GENERAL GOVERNMENT
   Dealing with vote-count errors
   Rethinking redevelopment oversight
   Redistricting commissions in other states
   Privatizing the state lottery
   High taxes on communications services
HEALTH
   Palliative care in California
   SCHIP moves children from private to government insurance
   Transforming Medi-Cal
   Health care issues for aging female population
HOUSING
   Competition in the title industry
HUMAN SERVICES
   Need for higher foster family home rates
   Drop in number of families licensed for foster care
   Strategy for cutting poverty
TRANSPORTATION
   Infrastructure perspective
STUDIES TO COME
   Environmental impacts of wind-energy projects
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT

CRIME INITIATIVE

A Process and Impact Evaluation of the Agricultural Crime, Technology, Information, and Operations Network (ACTION) Program. AND: The Costs and Benefits of Agricultural Crime Prevention. By Daniel P. Mears, Florida State University, and others. (The Urban Institute, Washington, DC) May 2007.

["Agricultural crime, including theft of farming-related commodities, supplies, and equipment, causes billions of dollars of losses each year to farmers, insurers, and consumers. Drawing on analyses of law enforcement, farm survey, site visit, and interview data, this study evaluated the theory and impacts of a promising initiative in California aimed at addressing this problem. ACTION collects and analyzes agricultural crime data; encourages and enables information-sharing among law enforcement agencies and prosecutors within and across counties; educates the public and farmers about agricultural crime and how to combat it; marks equipment with owner applied numbers; and promotes aggressive law enforcement and prosecution."]

Process and Impact Evaluation. 190 p.
http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411455_ACTION_Program.pdf

Cost and Benefit Evaluation. 40 p.
http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311452_agricultural_crime.pdf

Policy Brief Summary. 44 p.
http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411456_Policy,Theory.pdf

[Request #S73901]

Return to the Table of Contents

CRIME PREVENTION

"A 30-Year Prospective Follow-up Study of Hyperactive Boys With Conduct Problems: Adult Criminality." By James H. Satterfield and others. IN: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 46, no. 5 (May 2007) pp. 601-610.

Full Text at: tinyurl.com/2y2od8

["Hyperactivity combined with conduct problems-but not hyperactivity alone-predicted later criminal behavior in adulthood in a 30-year prospective study of 179 boys in California who had been referred to a psychiatric outpatient clinic because of hyperactivity. One conduct problem in particular, lying, predicted both adolescent and adult criminal behavior. This suggests that this behavioral variable should always be included in ADHD childhood evaluations."]

[Request #S73902]

Return to the Table of Contents

JUVENILE JUSTICE

A Different Kind of “Crime Wave”: States Reform Juvenile Justice. By Sarah Steverman, National Conference of State Legislatures. (The Conference, Washington, DC) April 30, 2007. 2 p.

Full Text at: www.ncsl.org/programs/health/shn/2007/sn490a.htm

["Some ten years after adopting a ‘get tough’ approach toward juvenile crime, the pendulum is swinging the other way. Convinced that they’ll achieve safer communities and save money by providing youthful offenders with alternatives to prison, a growing number of states are reforming their juvenile justice systems by, among other things, increasing access to mental health services and substance abuse treatment."]

[Request #S73903]

Return to the Table of Contents

PRISONERS

Literacy Behind Bars: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. By Elizabeth Greenberg, American Institutes for Research, and others. (National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC) May 10, 2007. 170 p.

Full Text at: nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007473.pdf

[“The survey assessed the English literacy of incarcerated adults for the first time since 1992.... The prison population was larger, older, and somewhat better educated in 2003 than in 1992. The parents of prison inmates were also better educated in 2003 than in 1992. In 2003, some 3 percent of the prison population was considered to be nonliterate in English. Average prose, document, and quantitative literacy was higher for Black prison inmates and average quantitative literacy increased for Hispanic inmates.”]

[Request #S73904]

Return to the Table of Contents

DEMOGRAPHY

TECHNOLOGY

A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. By John B. Horrigan, Pew Internet & American Life Project. (The Project, Washington, DC) May 7, 2007. 65 p.

Full Text at: www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_ICT_Typology.pdf

[”Most Americans say they use the Internet or cellphones, and many have broadband connections, digital cameras and video-game systems. But only 8 percent of adults actually exploit the full extent of modern technology. On one side of the scale, there's the 8 percent called ‘omnivores,’ who have the most gadgets, which they use voraciously. On the other end of the spectrum are the people in the ‘off the network’ category. At 15 percent of the U.S. population, they don't have cell phones or Internet connectivity.” Seattle Times (May 7, 2007) C2.]

[Request #S73905]

Return to the Table of Contents

ECONOMY

CALIFORNIA

Shared Values, Shared Vision: California's Economic Ties with Canada. By the Bay Area Economic Forum. (The Forum, San Francisco, California) March 2007. 52 p.

Full Text at: www.bayeconfor.org/pdf/SharedValuesSharedVisionWebR2.pdf

["Both economies are highly diversified, emphasizing trade in agriculture, tourism, financial services and high technology. Both claim world-class universities and research institutes and skilled, productive workforces.... These shared characteristics have generated considerable cross-border economic activity and have enabled both sides to leverage important comparative advantages. Cultural similarities have placed the two economies on parallel tracks in their competitiveness strategies that create opportunity for new kinds of commercial, research and government-to-government partnerships."]

[Request #S73906]

Return to the Table of Contents

ECONOMIC POLICY

The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration. By Gordon H. Hanson, University of California, San Diego. (Council on Foreign Relations, New York, New York) April 2007. 52 p.

Full Text at: irpshome.ucsd.edu/faculty/gohanson/ImmigrationCSR26.pdf

["Hanson argues that guest worker programs now being considered by Congress fail to account for the economic incentives that drive illegal immigration, which benefits both the undocumented workers who desire to work and employers who want flexible, low-cost labor.... Unless policymakers design a system of legal immigration that reflects the economic advantages of illegal labor, such programs will not significantly reduce illegal immigration. Hanson concludes with guidelines crucial to any such redesign of U.S. laws and policy. In short, he has written a report that will challenge much of the wisdom (conventional and otherwise) on the economics behind a critical and controversial issue."]

[Request #S73907]

Return to the Table of Contents

TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY

The Broadband Factbook. By Larry Irving and Bruce Mehlman, Internet Innovation Alliance. (The Alliance, Washington, DC) April 2007. 29 p.

Full Text at: www.internetinnovation.org/iia/downloads/IIA_Fact_Book.pdf/

["The economy grows faster, jobs are more plentiful, and pay is higher in areas where broadband is easily accessible. Economists project that universal broadband deployment could add 1.2 million jobs and $500 billion to the U.S. economy...About 45 million Americans took advantage of the Internet to work from home at least some of the time in 2006, saving energy and reducing pollution by cutting back on drives to work.... The U.S. continues to run behind many other countries -— large and small -— in broadband deployment and the speed of broadband services. The U.S. is ranked 15th in the world in broadband penetration,"]

[Request #S73908]

Return to the Table of Contents

EDUCATION

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Answering the Question That Matters Most: Has Student Achievement Increased Since No Child Left Behind? By Naomi Chudowsky, Center on Education Policy, and others. (The Center, Washington, DC) June 2007. 104 p.

Full Text at: www.cep-dc.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=document.showDocumentByID&nodeID=1&DocumentID=200

["Most states have seen dramatic improvements in math and reading test results since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act five years ago, but it’s too early to tell whether the gains can be tied directly to that landmark law. [The report] also found that more states are narrowing the achievement gap between minority and white students, a major objective of NCLB. Still, the magnitude of the gaps is often substantial." Stateline (June 5, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73909]

Return to the Table of Contents

LOS ANGELES

Strategic Review of FY06 District & School-Level Resources: In Fulfillment of a Memorandum of Understanding Between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Unified Teachers of Los Angeles. By Stephen Frank and Jonathan Travers, Education Resource Strategies. (ERS, Boston, Massachusetts) May 2007. 24 p.

Full Text at: www.educationresourcestrategies.org/documents/ERSLAUSD-UTLAPhaseIIFinalReport.pdf

[“The school district gets more of its money into the classroom than most urban school systems, but doesn't use those funds nearly as well as it could.... Teachers unions have long insisted that the district is top-heavy with bureaucracy.... The district spends more on professional development of teachers than just about anybody, but it's not a coherent strategy. The researchers offered no judgment on which urban school system is getting the best value for its dollars, but Los Angeles, they said, clearly could do better.... The study is unlikely to settle the debate over how much truly goes into the classroom, or whether, for example, independent charter or private schools operate more efficiently.” Los Angeles Times (May 25, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73910]

Return to the Table of Contents

SCHOOL SAFETY

Orange County Schools Disaster Plans: A Disaster Waiting to Happen? By the Orange County Grand Jury, 2006-2007. (The Jury, Santa Ana, California) May 23, 2007. 10 p.

Full Text at: www.ocgrandjury.org/pdfs/oc_schoolsdisasterplans.pdf

[“A majority of Orange County schools don't have plans in place to adequately deal with a wide range of disasters. Among the shortcomings cited were ‘skeletal’ plans that dealt with only fires and ‘earthquake duck-and-cover’ strategies and poor communication between district administrators and individual schools. The grand jury reviewed disaster-response plans for 27 districts and 58 campuses. It found 44% of the districts and nearly two-thirds of the schools failed the panel's expectations.” Los Angeles Times (May 24, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73911]

Return to the Table of Contents

EMPLOYMENT

HEALTH CAREERS

Ensuring an Adequate Health Workforce: Improving State Nursing Programs. By Paul Steenhausen, Legislative Analyst's Office. (The Office, Sacramento, California) May 2007. 21p.

Full Text at: www.lao.ca.gov/2007/nursing/nursing_052907.pdf

["California faces a shortfall of 12,000 full-time registered nurses in seven years unless state universities and community colleges admit more nursing students and reduce dropout rates. The report urged lawmakers to award 'completion bonuses' that would increase the nursing school budgets of community colleges that improve graduation rates from nursing programs. It also called for increasing the number of educational loan grants offered to lure additional nursing faculty. The [report] also recommended community colleges use merit-based application procedures to reward nursing applicants for professional experience, language skills and other qualifications." Sacramento Bee (May 30, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73912]

Return to the Table of Contents

OLDER WORKERS

The New Agenda for an Older Workforce. By Manpower, Inc. (Manpower, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin) April 2007. 28 p.

Full Text at: files.shareholder.com/downloads/MAN/104744225x0x91548/2f7a48b1-1b86-4006-90b7-f6cc2057ccf9/OlderWorkforce_Global_US_Letter.pdf

["A sustainable and growing economy will not be possible in the talent-poor future without a strong and vibrant labor market that includes older workers and other groups that are currently under-represented in today’s workforce. National governments need to focus their attention on talent development and utilization strategy if they want to have a competitive labor market that will help to strengthen the country’s economy for the future. The challenge for national governments is to determine how to align the interests and abilities of mature adults with the interests and requirements of employers, and to do this before the pension bubble bursts, wreaking havoc on other areas of society."]

[Request #S73913]

Return to the Table of Contents

ENERGY

ALTERNATIVE FUELS

The Ethanol Mandate Should Not Be Expanded. By Ben Lieberman, Heritage Foundation. Backgrounder, No. 2020. (The Foundation, Washington, DC) April 11, 2007. 4 p.

Full Text at: www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/upload/bg_2020.pdf

["The 2005 energy bill mandated that 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel (mostly corn-based ethanol) must be added to the gasoline supply in 2006. That amount rises to 4.7 billion gallons for 2007 and 7.5 billion in 2012. These targets represent a large percentage increase in ethanol use but are still only a small fraction of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline that the U.S. currently uses every year. This mandate comes on top of other pro-ethanol provisions, most notably a 51 cent per gallon tax credit. The current ethanol mandate will supplant only 1.1 percent of petroleum imports by 2012, without taking into account the petroleum inputs in ethanol production and use."]

[Request #S73914]

Return to the Table of Contents

“How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.” By C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer. IN: Foreign Affairs, vol. 86, no. 3 (May/June 2007) pp. 41-53.

Full Text at: www.foreignaffairs.org/20070501faessay86305/c-ford-runge-benjamin-senauer/how-biofuels-could-starve-the-poor.html?mode=print

["As ethanol becomes an increasingly popular fuel alternative, the industry's demand for vast reserves of corn threatens to drive up the price of food staples worldwide and therefore the number of people living in poverty. The amount of corn it would take to fill the 25-gallon tank of an SUV with pure ethanol contains enough calories to feed a person for a year. Consumers in poor, developing countries will experience a 'double shock' if both oil and food prices stay high. At the same time, the 'green virtues' of biofuels, are only modest when these fuels are made from corn and soybeans.“ Chronicle of Higher Education (May 3, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73915]

Return to the Table of Contents

ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES

AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT

U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues. By Geoffrey S. Becker, Resources and Sciences Division, Congressional Research Service. (The Service, Washington, DC) May 21, 2007. 6p.

Full Text at: fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/85615.pdf

[“U.S. officials continue to assert that the U.S. food supply, including the portion provided through imports, is among the safest in the world. One challenge has been the rapid increase in imports, a result of globalization and consumer desire for a wider variety of nutritious and inexpensive foods year-round.... Although all food products imported into the United States must meet the same safety standards as domestically produced foods, international trade rules permit a foreign country to apply its own, differing regulatory authorities and institutional systems in meeting such standards, under an internationally recognized concept known as 'equivalence.'”]

[Request #S73916]

Return to the Table of Contents

CLIMATE CHANGE

Recommendations for Designing Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade System for California: Draft. By the Market Advisory Committee to the California Air Resources Board. (The Board, Sacramento, California) June 1, 2004. 104 p.

Full Text at: www.climatechange.ca.gov/events/2007-06-12_mac_meeting/2007-06-01_MAC_DRAFT_REPORT.PDF

["The Global Warming Solutions Act sets a timeline for the adoption of regulations to achieve required emissions targets. By June 30, 2007, CARB must create a list of early emission reduction measures that can be adopted by 2010.... The Market Advisory Committee has focused on the design of a mandatory cap-and-trade program for California.... The Committee has an advisory role: it is not incumbent upon the Air Resources Board to adopt the recommendations of this report. However CARB chooses to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act, the intent of this report is to provide information that is helpful to the Board’s decisions."]

[Request #S73917]

Return to the Table of Contents

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

ELECTIONS

The Analysis and Mitigation of Electoral Errors: Theory, Practice, and Policy. By Edward B. Foley, Ohio State University. (The Author, Columbus, Ohio) April 2007. 32 p.

Full Text at: moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/election06/documents/Foley.pdf

["Errors will always plague the counting of votes and, periodically, errors will be big enough to undermine the outcome of a close election.... This article closely examines the way five different states would endeavor to redress four basic types of error that, based on recent experience, might arise. In light of this analysis, this article proposes specific procedural mechanisms that would tend to protect the legitimacy of an election even when its vote counting is irreversibly infected with error."]

[Request #S73918]

Return to the Table of Contents

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Rethinking Redevelopment Oversight: Exploring Possibilities for Increasing Local Input. By Grant Boyken, California Research Bureau, California State Library. CRB-07-004. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) April 2007. 42 p.

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/crb/07/04/07-004.pdf

[“For local governments in California, redevelopment is one of the principal tools available for revitalizing areas that are physically or economically blighted. In recent years, however, critics have raised questions about the value of some redevelopment projects, the use of tax increment financing which diverts increases in local property taxes away from other local taxing entities, the use of eminent domain to support private development, and questionable declarations of blight made by redevelopment agencies. Some have called for increased oversight of redevelopment agencies. This report examines possible solutions that might increase local input.”]

[Request #S73919]

Return to the Table of Contents

REDISTRICTING

Informational Hearing: Redistricting Commissions: How are They Formed and Who are the Commissioners: Commissions in Other States and Proposals in California. By the California State Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee. (The Committee, Sacramento, California) May 30, 2007. 20 p.

[“Twelve states give first and final authority for state legislative redistricting to a commission. The composition of the commissions varies greatly from state to state. Most permit legislative or political party leaders to appoint some or all of the members. No state currently requires its commission to be chosen at random or from lists of retired judges.”]

[Request #S507]

Return to the Table of Contents

STATE LOTTERY

Gambling on the Future: Should California Privatize the State Lottery? By Jonathan Kaplan, California Budget Project. (The Project, Sacramento, California) June 2007. 5 p.

Full Text at: www.cbp.org/pdfs/2007/0706_bb_lottery.pdf

["If the lottery were to be privatized, a private contractor would likely encourage low-income Californians to spend more of their limited dollars on the lottery. Furthermore, increased lottery sales would likely reduce state sales and/or other consumption-based tax revenues. While the Governor promises that a long-term lottery lease would maintain education funding at present levels, it is unclear whether potential increases in lottery revenues would result in increases in education funding."]

[Request #S73921]

Return to the Table of Contents

TAX REFORM

Taxes and Fees on Communication Services. By David Tuerck, Beacon Hill Institute, and others. (The Heartland Institute, Chicago, Illinois) May 2007. 48 p.

Full Text at: downloads.heartland.org/21104.pdf

["The average household pays approximately $250 a year in taxes and fees on cable TV and telephone services, and would save $126 a year if taxes and fees on communication services were no higher than retail sales taxes on other goods...Many of these taxes and fees are hidden in phone and cable bills. Because they are so high, they distort consumer decisions and business investment decisions, costing billions more every year in lost consumer benefits. The research team collected information on cable television, wireline and wireless telephone, and Internet access for 59 U.S. cities." Elites TV (May 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73922]

Return to the Table of Contents

HEALTH

DYING

Palliative Care in California: An Overview of Hospital-Based Programs. By Steven Z. Pantilat and others, University of California, San Francisco, Palliative Care Program. (California Healthcare Foundation, Oakland, California) May 2007.

[”California's hospitals generally offer patients the most advanced treatments to cure illness, but state-of-the-art care to manage complex symptoms and to ease suffering is often unavailable or underused. As a result, many patients receive unwanted, invasive care while their pain and discomfort are not adequately managed. Hospitals can, however, provide patients and their families with support through the interdisciplinary approach of palliative care, which focuses on relieving both physical and emotional suffering. And, unlike hospice, palliative care can be provided along with curative treatment." Press Release, California Healthcare Foundation (May 2007) 1.]

Overview of Hospital-Based Programs. 24 p.
www.chcf.org/documents/hospitals/PalliativeCareOverview.pdf

Fundamentals of Hospital-Based Programs. 40 p.
http://www.chcf.org/documents/hospitals/PalliativeCareFundamentals.pdf

Innovations in Hospital-Based Programs. 38 p.
http://www.chcf.org/documents/hospitals/PalliativeCareInnovations.pdf

[Request #S73923]

Return to the Table of Contents

INSURANCE

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program. By Noelia Duchovny and Lyle Nelson, Health and Human Resources Division, Congressional Budget Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2007. 31 p.

Full Text at: www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/80xx/doc8092/05-10-SCHIP.pdf

[“The government's creation of a health insurance program for children in 1997 has caused them to leave -- or lose -- private insurance. But the reasons for the phenomenon, called "crowd-out" by health policy experts, are unclear. For every 100 children who enrolled in the State Children's Health Insurance Program, between 25 and 50 left private health insurance plans. The report said available evidence suggests the main reason for the shift is that the government program is cheaper, or offers better benefits.” Congressional Quarterly Today (May 10, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73924]

Return to the Table of Contents

MEDI-CAL

A Smarter Way to Care: Transforming Medi-Cal for the Future. By the Little Hoover Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) May 2007. 84 p.

["The Medi-Cal program, on track to spend $37.7 billion this year, simply is too big to be an afterthought in the debate on how to untie the knot of rising health care costs, the lack of affordability and the growing burden of cost-shifting to business.... For far too long, the state has focused on what Medi-Cal is paying for health care, not on what it is buying.... A better approach is to focus on what the state is buying for its billions -- better for accountability to taxpayers and better for delivering promised health benefits to the millions of low-income and disabled Californians enrolled in the program. Major purchasers of health care in the private sector have used this strategy for years, measuring results and demanding value and quality." Sacramento Bee (June 3, 2007)1.]

Report. 99 p.
http://www.lhc.ca.gov/lhcdir/187/Report187.pdf

Executive Summary. 11 p.
http://www.lhc.ca.gov/lhcdir/187/ExecSum187.pdf

[Request #S73925]

Return to the Table of Contents

WOMEN

Women, Health and Aging: Building a Statewide Movement. Papers Commissioned by the California Endowment. (The Endowment, Los Angeles, California) May 2007. 122 p.

Full Text at: www.calendow.org/reference/publications/pdf/cultural/WomenHealthAging.pdf

[“This anthology of papers follows earlier efforts since 2000 to engage a number of stakeholders, including grantees, community leaders, policymakers and academics, on the issue of healthy aging. The culmination of research and early discussions led to a focus on women due to higher poverty rates, longer life expectancy, and a greater dependence on California’s safety net. More significant is the pivotal role that women play in the care of family members as caregivers and their unquestionable ability to be passionate agents of social change.”]

[Request #S73926]

Return to the Table of Contents

HOUSING

HOMEBUYING

Title Insurance: Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of the Title Industry and Better Protect Consumers. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-07-401. (The Office, Washington, DC) April 2007. 74 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d07401.pdf

["Certain factors raise questions about the extent of competition and the reasonableness of prices that consumers pay for title insurance. Consumers find it difficult to comparison shop for title insurance because it is an unfamiliar and small part of a larger transaction that most consumers do not want to disrupt or delay for comparatively small potential savings. In addition, because consumers generally do not pick their title agent or insurer, title agents do not market to them but to the real estate and mortgage professionals who generally make the decision. This can create conflicts of interest if those making the referrals have a financial interest in the agent."]

[Request #S73927]

Return to the Table of Contents

HUMAN SERVICES

FOSTER CARE

They Deserve a Family: Higher Foster Family Home Rates Could Lead to Better Outcomes, Including More Adoptions, for California’s Foster Children. By Jenna Leyton, Children’s Advocacy Institute, University of San Diego School of Law. (The Institute, San Diego, California) May 2007. 28 p.

Full Text at: www.cwda.org/downloads/CAIReport.pdf

["California has not increased reimbursement rates for foster family home placements since 2001 despite both a legislative mandate to do so —- as well as a 24.9% increase in the cost of living since that time.... The Institute is proposing that California take three crucial steps in an effort to improve outcomes for foster youth: the Legislature should, 1) increase basic foster care rates by 25%, 2) establish a new office within the Department of Social Services dedicated solely to recruiting and retaining foster parents, and 3) create a community college certification program aimed at preparing individuals to properly care for foster children with varying backgrounds and needs."]

[Request #S73928]

Return to the Table of Contents

No Family, No Future: Greater Investment in Family Caregiver Recruitment & Support Is Essential to Improve Outcomes for California’s Foster Children. By the County Welfare Directors Association of California and the Legal Advocates for Permanent Parenting. (The Association, Sacramento, California) May 2007. 14 p.

Full Text at: www.cwda.org/downloads/FamCarePolicyRep.pdf

[“The number of families licensed to take in foster children has plummeted as much as 50 percent in some California counties. The [researchers] found that the number of families has fallen 30 percent statewide since 1996. The report blames the shortage of foster families on low foster care payments. California pays families $494 a month on average, while the monthly cost of raising a child is $709.” San Francisco Chronicle (May 22, 2007) 1.]

[Request #S73929]

Return to the Table of Contents

POVERTY

From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half. By Mark Greenberg and others, the Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty. (The Center, Washington, DC) April 2007. 80 p.

Full Text at: www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/04/pdf/poverty_report.pdf

["With one in eight Americans living in poverty, and inequality at record highs, the time for action is now. The report recommends that the United States set a goal of cutting poverty in half over the next 10 years. This strategy should be guided by four principles: 1) promote decent work; 2) provide opportunity for all; 3) ensure economic security; and 4) help people build wealth."]

[Request #S73930]

Return to the Table of Contents

TRANSPORTATION

INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure 2007: A Global Perspective. By Jonathan D. Miller. (Urban Land Institute, Washington, DC) May 2007. 69 p.

Full Text at: tinyurl.com/2gxq24

["The United States’ relatively low investment in virtually all aspects of mobility-related infrastructure—airports, public transit, railway systems, roads and bridges—is an 'emerging crisis' that will compromise the ability of the nation’s cities to compete globally.... America is more of a follower and no longer a world leader when it comes to infrastructure. Other countries marshal vanguard strategies and provide the contemporary lessons for developing best practices in public/private finance, intermodal transport, congestion pricing and high-speed rail.... Too often (in the U.S.), projects focus on restoration rather than rethinking the model and finding possible efficiencies… There is a tendency to invest in the infrastructure we have instead of the infrastructure we will need.”]

[Request #S73931]

Return to the Table of Contents


STUDIES TO COME
[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]

ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects, By the Committee on the Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects, National Research Council. (National Academies Press, Washington, DC) 2007. 346 p.

Full Text at: books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11935#toc

["Wind facilities can have certain adverse environmental effects by damaging habitat and killing birds and bats that fly into turbines. However, the committee saw no evidence that fatalities from existing wind facilities are causing measurable changes in bird populations. A possible exception is deaths among birds of prey near Altamont Pass, Calif. -- a facility with older, smaller turbines that appear more apt to kill such birds than newer turbines are.... The report outlines a process to help communities and developers assess a project's likely aesthetic effects, and suggests ways to minimize them.... Governments at the state and local levels should provide developers and the public with guidance to help them plan for wind-energy development."]

[Request #S73932]

Return to the Table of Contents