Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Some high-profile California politicians from both political parties are angrily asking the University of California to block or reverse its recent decision to increase student tuition after scathing revelations in an audit of the UC Office of the President were released this week.

Among the troubling findings, the audit, made public on Tuesday and disputed by UC President Janet Napolitano, called into question the UC system administrator’s spending on salaries and benefits to administrators, and tens of millions of dollars in reserve funds that state auditor Elaine Howle said the office kept hidden from public view.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Two years ago, one of my constituents was approached for his signature on a ballot proposal. He was intrigued; the proposal seemed important and promised to bring jobs to the community. While he wanted more time to discuss the idea with his friends, he thought it important enough for the community to decide. He signed the petition, figuring that by the time it came to a public vote, he would be more informed on its regional impact, where big projects can often mean hazy air and increased truck traffic.

But it never came to a public vote.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

For years, community college and university administrators have decried the lack of “college ready” students being fed into their systems and burning valuable resources on remedial math and English classes to get up to speed.

In California, many of those not-ready-for-college students have been Latinos and others of color. Research shows that students from groups that are historically underrepresented in higher education are more likely to take a remedial course at some point in college.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Thousands of Spanish names in California have been Americanized. Cañon Drive it's never to be found written "Cañón", and José is often written as Jose, with no accent. In an attempt to change that, Latino assemblyman Jose Medina recently introduced a bill aiming to overturn the ban on diacritical marks so that Spanish names can include accents and the distinctive letter ‘ñ’ in official documents.

“The State Registrar shall require the use of a diacritical mark on an English letter to be properly recorded, when applicable, on a certificate of live birth, fetal death, or death, and a marriage license,” says the bill. “The use of a diacritical mark on an English letter shall be deemed an acceptable entry on a certificate of live birth, fetal death, or death, and a marriage license by the State Registrar. For purposes of this section, a diacritical mark includes, but is not limited to, accents, tildes, graves, umlauts, and cedillas.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Assemblymember Jose Medina, who represents parts of Riverside County, is one of the caucus’ three associate members. He said he worked with Rabbi Suzanne Singer of Temple Beth El in Riverside to put together a meeting with UC Riverside officials over concerns about a class with an anti-Israel slant being taught there.

“I think the caucus does make a difference,” Medina said. “No matter what issues we’ve taken on — whether it be anti-boycott of Israel or meeting with the prime minister of Israel or talking about campus climate — I think all of us are stronger when we speak as a caucus.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside) says the Rams — and at least five other large developers whose projects were approved by similar means in recent years — have been able to spend significant sums of money to ignore state environmental laws. He’s authored new legislation to block future developers from doing what the Rams did, by prohibiting local governments from approving projects without an exhaustive environmental review.

“You shouldn't have such undue ability that money buys access,” Medina said.

The process the Rams used to secure approval for their stadium shows how the state’s election laws can trump environmental rules.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alarmed by the relatively low numbers of undocumented students applying for next year’s California Dream Act grants, California legislative and education leaders are urging students not to fear that filling out the college aid forms could trigger their deportation.

With a week left before the deadline, the number of applications for the state-funded Dream Act grants that help pay for college tuition is significantly lower so far than last year’s. Activists say students are reluctant to apply because they fear that personal information might be used to identify and deport undocumented young people and their relatives under the Trump administration’s new immigration policies. However, state officials emphasize that such data are not shared with federal immigration authorities and that the state will fight to keep any of it from being handed over.