Op-Eds

January 17, 2020

While the wealth of each of our families was very different, we both grew up during a time when most families could live comfortably on what they took home after working a 40-hour-a-week job. In those days, a middle-class salary could cover a household’s needs. And the company boss didn’t make that much more than the people who worked for them.

Today, the paycheck from the same middle-class jobs that supported a family when we were growing up can barely make ends meet.

January 15, 2020

The NCAA’s announcement late last year that it would take steps toward allowing college athletes to benefit from the their name, image and likeness was a welcome turnaround from its earlier threats to penalize our state, California, for passing the Fair Pay to Play Act.

Likely, the NCAA realized it had to change course. Not only was the bill signed into law, but lawmakers from other states announced plans to pass or consider similar legislation. We welcome and encourage each of these additional states to take action.

 

November 3, 2019

After decades of secrecy surrounding police misconduct, California has a new law that is designed to restore trust in our criminal justice system. And what we’ve seen since Senate Bill 1421 took effect in January has been both illuminating and deeply concerning, demonstrating why the measure was necessary to ensure that law enforcement is both transparent and accountable.

August 30, 2019

The destructive fires that roared through California over the last two years have displaced tens of thousands of people, creating a humanitarian crisis as well as a housing crisis. One of those fires provided valuable lessons on how to solve emergency housing shortages in the state — the Tubbs fire that ravaged the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in 2017.

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.