Nov 21 2011

Flap’s California Morning Collection: November 21, 2011

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Santa Monica looking towards Malibu, California

The California Legislature is not in session.

On to today’s headlines:

Voters think teachers unions are too powerful, new poll finds

About half of California voters believe that teachers unions are too powerful, a new poll has found.

The bipartisan survey, conducted by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, also found that the views of voters aligned fairly closely with teachers unions on key issues, such as funding for schools. But that didn’t prevent many from having reservations about the role of unions in education and politics.

Overall, 52% of voters agreed with the statement that teachers unions are too powerful; 36% disagreed. And more voters took the position that teacher unions “are resistant to reforms that would improve schools.”

Dan Walters: California’s economic recovery is weak and rocky

Technically, California’s economy is recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But it sure doesn’t feel like it.

The housing market is still in the sewer, retail sales are weak, and more than 2 million California workers are unemployed – not counting tens of thousands who have given up looking for work or are getting by with off-the-books jobs.

With their families, an educated guess would be that recession still seriously affects a quarter or more of Californians.

While employment has stopped its decline, it’s now growing scarcely fast enough to keep pace with population (and labor force) growth, and thus only marginally affects the unemployment rate, which hovers around 12 percent.

It’s difficult to find an economist who is bullish about the state’s near-term future. The consensus seems to be that California, with the nation’s second-highest jobless rate, will be experiencing double-digit unemployment and other effects of malaise for at least several more years.

Catch up on Think Long’s California tax overhaul

The Think Long Committee for California is rolling out a sweeping proposal for fixing the Golden State, and it includes overhauling the tax system.

Read the full Think Long report here. (draft obtained by the Bee)

Shifting prisoners to counties could strain local services

California needs to pay attention to potential strains on county services as it implements Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shift nonviolent criminals and parolees to counties, a RAND Corp. study says.

The study [PDF], “Understanding the Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California,” released last week, said the plan to shift low-level offenders to county custody could strain local health care and social services programs that already have been ravaged by budget cuts.

California began sending low-level felony offenders and parole violators to county jails on Oct. 1.

“There’s no turning back,” Brown said at a Sept. 29 press conference. “The only way is forward in a collaborative way.”

Enjoy your morning!

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