Op-Eds

August 14, 2019

Despite recent efforts to reduce California’s prison incarceration rates, severe racial disparities persist in our criminal justice system. According to a report last month by the Public Policy Institute of California, African-American males account for 28.5 percent of the state’s male prison population, despite the fact that black men make up just 5.6 percent of the state’s adult males.

African-American women and Latinos are also significantly over-represented in state prisons.

August 9, 2019

Here in the Bay Area, we pride ourselves on being environmental trailblazers. Our achievements include pioneering curbside recycling, prohibiting the use of ozone-depleting Styrofoam, and leading the effort to ban plastic bags, straws, and utensils.

California, likewise, has long been a global leader on environmental and climate change issues. But there is still much work to do, particularly when it comes to reducing air pollution, meeting our renewable energy goals, and slashing the amount of plastic trash that litters our beaches, parks, and waterways.

August 7, 2019

One year ago, when the Alameda County Sheriff's Office released Jessica St. Louis from Santa Rita Jail at 1:30 in the morning, her prospects were bleak. Alone in the darkness, the 26-year-old faced a 40-minute walk, along desolate roads, past about a dozen vacant lots, to the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station. And then once at the station, she would have to wait three hours for the trains to start running.

She never made it to a train. She was found dead at 5:30 a.m., July 28, 2018, of an opioid overdose, just outside the BART station.

July 2, 2019

In January, California ended a decades-old legal doctrine that put numerous people behind bars for murders they did not commit. 

Yet six months after the new state law—Senate Bill 1437—took effect, some prosecutors are trying to overturn it, resorting to scare tactics and false distortions.

We are the legislators who wrote and supported this critical reform, and we need to set the record straight about it. 

For the full op-ed, click here.

June 10, 2019

Under SB 206, California college athletes would be able to earn income from their name, likeness, and image — also known as endorsements and sponsorships — starting in 2023. The bill would afford college athletes the same financial opportunity as Olympic athletes.

SB 206 has strong bipartisan support in the California Legislature. It has both Democratic and Republican co-authors, and it won overwhelming approval from the state Senate on May 22, garnering a 31-5 vote. In short, SB 206 won in a blowout.

April 22, 2019

As Californians honor Earth Day 2019, the state’s beaches, waterways and parks remain littered with disturbing amounts of trash, especially plastic pollution. And the problem promises to get worse, despite the fact that California has a recycling goal of 75 percent of our solid waste by 2020.

April 15, 2019

As Californians sit down to complete their tax returns by today’s deadline, hundreds of thousands of middle-class households are realizing that the Trump tax cut was no tax cut at all. In fact, it was a huge tax increase.

According to a 2018 analysis by the California Franchise Tax Board, the 2017 Trump tax overhaul will cause more than 750,000 middle-class households in California to pay more to the Internal Revenue Service, costing California residents about $12 billion a year in higher taxes.

March 11, 2019

Tucked into neighborhoods throughout Oakland, Berkeley and many other Bay Area cities are small, beautiful duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. These multifamily residences tend to be more affordable than single-family homes and were a major housing type in U.S. urban areas before World War II. But since the 1960s and ’70s, this type of essential housing has become illegal in neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area and nation because it exceeds the density allowed. That’s why it’s now called “missing middle” housing. It’s time we brought it back.

February 26, 2019

The truth is, the NCAA operates a deeply unfair system. That’s why I have introduced Senate Bill 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, in the California State Legislature. Under SB 206, college athletes in California would finally be able to receive compensation for their work via corporate sponsorship deals — much like Olympic athletes are allowed to do.

For my full op-ed, click here.