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CRB partners with think tanks to educate Capitol policymakers 

The California Research Bureau (CRB), the California State Library’s own think tank, provides its clients – the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s cabinet, California legislators, other elected officials and their staff – with information and analysis on a broad range of issues.  CRB publications range from confidential memos to public reports that customers can access on the California State Library website.  CRB also consults on legislation and educates through policy seminars, and provides policymakers “up close and personal” learning experiences through environmental field trips.


Speakers at the PPIC presentation on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta policy options.
Left to right: Joe Grindstaff, Director, California Bay-Delta Authority; Alf Brandt, Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife; Dr. Jeff Mount, Geology Dept., UC Davis, and Chair, CALFED Independent Science Board; Dr. Jay Lund, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UC Davis; Dr. Peter Moyle, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and Geology Departments, UC Davis, and Associate Director, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences; Dr. Richard Howitt, Dept. Chair, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; Dr. Ellen Hanak, Director, PPIC Economy Program; and Dr. William Fleenor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UC Davis.

In addition to CRB, several other research organizations are publishing important work that impacts state policy about which California decision-makers should hear.  The research organizations though, don’t enjoy CRB’s access to an audience that includes Governor’s Office staff, agency and department staff, legislative consultants and advisors, legislative counsel members, Legislative Analyst’s Office staff, Little Hoover Commission members, and other members of oversight agencies. As a result, CRB Director Dean Misczynski has entered into an “inter-policy” relationship with other research organizations or thinks tanks.  CRB provides an entrée to the CRB audience and, in return, CRB’s clients receive additional opportunities to become informed.

How the think tank partnership works

Today, organizations such as the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) turn to the CRB to get the word out about their policy seminars and to provide space (magnificent Room 500 in the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building is a favorite among speakers) for those events.  The think tanks also borrow CRB’s successful seminar formula for busy staff: a noontime program with a free lunch  (I have to eat so I might as well learn something while I do…).   

To PPIC, one of CRB’s long time partners, presenting research results “live” to influential audiences is key to its work.  After PPIC conducts large-scale public opinion surveys on the social, economic, and political attitudes of Californians throughout the state, PPIC researchers regularly report on these survey results and election issues.  PPIC’s recent policy luncheons with CRB have included in-depth looks at the state’s business climate, policy options on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and California’s community college students.

Another CRB think tank partner, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), presents a noontime series with CRB that features California’s leading marine scientists sharing information and new findings.  In the past year, COMPASS has presented seminars on the projected impact of climate change on coastal communities and marine ecosystems, the impact and use of oilrigs, and the impact of bacteria on beaches.


PPIC speakers discuss Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta policy at CRB luncheon.
Left to right: Joe Grindstaff, California Bay-Delta Authority; Alf Brandt, Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife; Dr. Jay Lund, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UC Davis; and Dr. Ellen Hanak, Director, PPIC Economy Program.

More policy seminars on the horizon

Dean Misczynski continues to forge new relationships with research organizations.  New America in California, part of the New America Foundation, recently joined CRB’s noontime policy seminar circuit.  They have presented seminars on a citizen’s assembly for political reform, prescriptions for health care reform, and the dangers of globalization.  The University of California, Sacramento Center has offered policy seminars on global competitiveness, California’s information technology policies, and on the changing characteristics of immigration.  Stanford University has shared findings on global warming, and Hastings Law School faculty has discussed flood control policy.

These policy events are getting increasingly popular…and crowded.  The regulars are beginning to come early to make sure they get a seat and the caterers’ famous beer bread.

For more information, or to be notified about CRB lunchtime policy seminars, please contact Dean Misczynski at dmisczynski@library.ca.gov.

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