Subject: Studies in the News 05-35 (October 11, 2005)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News


California -- One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

October 1855 - "There were no steamboats in California. The fleet which ventured up the Sacramento River was composed of sailing ships (sloops and schooners, barks, and brigantines). For many it was a final journey. Vessel after vessel was abandoned by its crew and stripped of all usable items for sale in the gold fields.... The 22-year-old Sterling might have passed away without notice on the Sacramento levee except for a valiant struggle against dismemberment.... The City of Sacramento contracted with various parities to remove the hulk, but increasing silts from the hydraulic mining upstream heavily encased her in mud. The work crew 'had called gunpowder to their aid,' but a note of realism escaped when they concluded 'If by means of powder, the Stirling (sic) cannot be thrown in fragments, it is hoped that it will have at least the effect of loosening her in her bed.' Democratic State Journal (Oct. 29, 1855). Near the foot of 'J' Street at a depth of 20 feet in the Sacramento River, less than a mile from California's restored Capitol building, large portions of a sailing ship's hull were found during an underwater archaeological survey in the summer of 1984. "  www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=23523  

October 11, 1855 - "In (Yosemite) Valley are several small lakes or ponds, through which the river runs. They abound in fish, and are resorted to by every variety of water fowl.... Fine timber for building or husbandry is abundant. Many varieties of berries are to be found, one of the principal of which is the strawberry. Acres and acres of the valley are covered with these. After examining all, or rather as much of the beauties as our time would allow; our party proceeded up the South Fork of the river to see the main falls.... Here allow me to state that our party made no effort to go beyond these falls; but I have learned that other parties have explored the river higher up, and they assert that above these falls is another, grander if possible, falling from a greater height [Ed. note: Nevada Falls.... Our guide informed us that the little stream we were then traversing was the channel, by which the Yo-Semity Lake was emptied..... After passing up the north fork of the river, a very fine view of the peaks is to be seen. The most prominent object at this point is Capitol Rock. (Place names have changed since this article was written: 'the main falls' is Vernal Falls, 'Yo-Semity Lake' is Tenaya Lake, and 'Capitol Rock' is North Dome.)"  Mariposa Gazette (October 11, 1855).  

Contents This Week

Introductory Material CALIFORNIA READER
   Regional economes
CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
   Private prison contracts
   Factors in death sentences
   Prosecution and plea-bargaining on drug charges
   Drug courts saving millions in prison costs
CULTURE AND SOCIETY
   Immigration rebounding
DEMOGRAPHY
   Life after high school
ECONOMY
   Extended vehicle emission warranties
   Foreign governments monetary reserves
   Inflation and price stability
   Rich and poor gap widens
   No increase in minimum wage in eight years
   Job growth in the United States
   Economic recovery and expansion
EDUCATION
   Affordable college for all
   High-cost journals threaten academic research
   Educational progress across immigrant generations
   Student aid and higher education
   Student aid scams
EMPLOYMENT
   Pay cards as payroll option
ENERGY
   States sue for energy efficiency rules
   Photovoltaic electricity benefits
   Benefits of solar electricity development
ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES
   Health of the Bay-Delta region
   Decline in arctic ice
   Colorado River's water and climate disruption in Arizona
   Global warming effects
   Changing trash to fuel
   Water conservation
GENERAL GOVERNMENT
   Nanotechnology and regulation
   E-government state rankings
   California spending plan
   Voter registration and welfare reform
   Post-registration laws affect voter turnout
HEALTH
   Parents prescription drugs harming teens
   Air pollution and mortality
   Medicaid costs shift to states
   How to lower prescription costs
HOUSING
   Housing market not in a bubble
   Higher-priced home loans
   Disparities in minority home loans
HUMAN SERVICES
   Poor relocated to affluent neighborhoods
   Child poverty
   TANF and domestic prevention guidelines
   Health care assistance to veterans after Katrina
INSURANCE
   Court overturns insurance discount law
STUDIES TO COME
   Immigrants in the 1990s
   Electonic voting
   Weight-loss surgery vs. pharmacological treatment
   Obese women and breast cancer treatment
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California's Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library's website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

CALIFORNIA READER

CALIFORNIA READER

Focus on Regional California. By Michael Bazdarich and others. Presented to the UCLA Forecast Seminar(The Seminar, Los Angeles, California) September 15, 2005. Various pagings.

[Includes: "Economy on Glide Path Lower," "A Chill in the Air," "Things Look Good But Don't Look Down," "Inland Empire Probably Better Than Current Data Indicate," "Sacramento and Central Valley Outlook," "Bay Area Economic Update," and "Mid-year Update: The Southern California Economy, and "Dead Man Walking."]

[Request #S53501]

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT

AUDITS AND INVESTIGATIONS

Department of Corrections: It Needs to Better Ensure Against Conflicts of Interest and to Improve Its Inmate Population Projections. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California September 2005. 62 p.

Full Text at: www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2005-105.pdf

["The Department of Corrections earlier this summer awarded contracts in a competitive bidding process to reopen several other private prisons.... California's state auditor, investigating the private prison contracts, found that one operator failed to disclose that two of its employees had been high-ranking state prison officials but cleared another firm of any conflict." Los Angeles Times (September 14, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53502]

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

"The Impact of Legally Inappropriate Factors on Death Sentencing for California Homicides, 1990-99." By Glenn L. Pierce, Northeastern University and Michael L. Radelet, University of Colorado, Boulder. IN: Santa Clara Law Review vol. 46.

Full Text at: www.aclunc.org/dp/death_penalty_study.pdf

["California murder convicts are much more likely to receive death sentences if their victim is white rather than black or Latino. The study ... found that people who kill whites are four times more likely to be sentenced to die than those who kill Latinos and three times more likely to get death sentences than those who kill African Americans." San Francisco Chronicle (September 22, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S53503]

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DRUG PROSECUTION

Just Cause or Just Because? Prosecution and Plea-Bargaining Resulting in Prison Sentences on Low-Level Drug Charges in California and Arizona. By K.Jack Riley and others. RAND. (RAND, Santa Monica, California) 2005. 90 p.

["This study set out to fill in gaps in our knowledge about the prosecution of imprisoned low-level drug offenders and how such prosecutions might be affected by diversion reform initiatives. It was designed to assess what proportion of offenders had merely 'smoked a joint' and had no or minimal prior record versus the proportion who had been charged with a more severe crime and engaged in plea-bargaining or who had a severe criminal record."]

[Request #S53504]

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Comprehensive Drug Implementation Act of 1999: Final Report to the Legislature. By the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. (The Department, Sacramento, California) 2005. 20 p.

Full Text at: www.adp.cahwnet.gov/DrugCourts/pdf/CDCI_FinalReportToLegislature_March2005.pdf

["Drug courts reduced substance abuse and saved taxpayers' more than $42.8 million in prison costs between January 2001 and July 2004. The study tracked more than 10,000 adult and juvenile offenders in 46 counties."]

[Request #S53505]

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CULTURE AND SOCIETY

IMMIGRATION

Rise, Peak and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigration 1992 - 2004. By Jeffrey S. Passel and Roberto Suro, Pew Hispanic Center. (The Center, Washington, DC) September 27, 2005.

["The flow of legal and illegal immigrants to the United States is rebounding after a post-2001 decline. Some 1.2 million migrants entered the country last year. While still 24 percent less than the all-time high reached in 2000, the tide is surging back to what it was in the mid-1990s. Illegal immigration, in particular, is on the rise again. Last year, the number of illegal immigrants outpaced the number of legal permanent resident migrants." Contra Costa Times (September 28, 2005) F4.]

Report. 56 p.
http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/53.pdf

Executive Summary. 5 p.
http://pewhispanic.org/files/execsum/53.pdf

[Request #S53506]

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DEMOGRAPHY

YOUNG ADULTS

Life After High School: Young People Talk About Their Hopes and Prospects. By Jean Johnson and Ann Duffett, Public Agenda. (Public Agenda, New York, New York) 2005. 50 p.

Full Text at: www.publicagenda.org/research/pdfs/life_after_high_school.pdf

["What roles do financial reality, family experience and social context play? Are there individuals who step in to help and encourage youth as they search for their own best path? Or do many young people fall into their futures as much by chance as by design? Given the long-lingering educational and income inequities that affect so many minority youth, we were especially interested in learning more about the expectations and experiences of young people in different racial and ethnic groups."]

[Request #S53507]

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ECONOMY

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

The Impact of Extended Vehicle Emission Warranties on California's Indendent Repair Shops. By Lloyd Dixon. RAND. (RAND, Santa Monica, California) 2005. 79 p.

Full Text at: www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2005/RAND_TR235.pdf

["This report examines the effects of extended vehicle warranties on the independent repair industry from 2003 to 2020. It also identifies options for reducing or mitigating adverse effects. As such, this report should be of interest to automakers, the vehicle repair industry, vehicle owners, and government agencies concerned with the economic impact of environmental regulations."]

[Request #S53508]

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BANKING

"What if Foreign Governments Diversified Their Reserves?" By Diego Valderrama. IN: FRBSF Economic Letter, no. 2005-17 (July 29, 2005) pp. 1-4.

Full Text at: www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2005/el2005-17.html

["What if foreign central banks diversified their reserves? A sale of dollar denominated reserves would depress the value of the dollar and raise import prices for U.S. consumers.... However, a sale of dollar denominated securities would also be costly to foreign economies. Foreign governments would be exposed to large capital losses, and an appreciation of their currencies would make their exports less competitive."]

[Request #S53509]

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"Policymaking on the Federal Open Market Committee: Transparency and Continuity." By Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. FRBSF Economic Letter. No. 2005-22 (The Bank, San Francisco) September 2, 2005) 4 p.

Full Text at: www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2005/el2005-22.html

["The Federal Reserve Act gives the Federal Open Market Committee a dual mandate -- to pursue maximum sustainable employment and price stability.... A numerical long-run inflation objective may help avoid both destabilizing inflation scares and pernicious price deflations. Indeed, a credible inflation objective could enhance the flexibility of monetary policy to respond to the real effects of adverse shocks."]

[Request #S53510]

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INCOME DISTRIBUTION

A Growing Divide: The State of Working California. Budget Brief. (California Budget Project, Sacramento, California) September 2005. 11 p.

Full Text at: www.cbp.org/2005/0509_laborday.pdf

["One million four hundred thousand Californians work at or near the state's minimum wage, with the majority of these workers working full-time. In 2004, the median hourly wage rose only 0.4 percent, after adjusting for inflation. The California gap between the highest and lowest-wage earners has deepened and is significantly wider than that for the nation." Early Education in the News (September 21, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53511]

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MINIMUM WAGE

Unhappy Anniversary: Federal Minimum Wage Remains Unchanged for Eighth Straight Year, Falls to 56-Year Low Relative to the Average Wage. By Jared Bernstein and Isaac Shapiro, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (The Center, Washington, DC) Septmeber 1, 2005. 5 p.

Full Text at: www.cbpp.org/9-1-05mw.pdf

["The federal minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour since September 1, 1997. So for eight straight years the value of the minimum wage has eroded due to the effects of inflation, and the wage standard has fallen further behind the wages of other workers. The minimum wage now equals only 32 percent of the average wage for private sector, non-supervisory workers. This is the lowest share since 1949."]

[Request #S53512]

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UNITED STATES

The Weak Jobs Recovery: Whatever Happened to "The Great American Job Machine"? By Richard B. Freeman and William M. Rodgers III, Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Economic Policy Review. (The Bank, New York, New York) August 2005. 16 p.

Full Text at: www.newyorkfed.org/research/epr/05v11n1/0508free.pdf

["Looking at job creation since the recovery began three years ago, the authors show that this is the worst recovery in all post-World War II recoveries. The analysis states that 17 months of job growth since August 2003 has barely kept pace with increases in population.... As much of 30 percent of all job growth since 2001 has been temporary-help services."]

[Request #S53513]

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U.S. Forecast 2005-2008. By Business Forecasting Center, Eberhardt School of Business, University of the Pacific. (The Center, Stockton, California) 2005. 27 p.

Full Text at: forecast.pacific.edu/usforecast/US_Forecast_Sept05.pdf

["Currently all eyes are on the Fed and how it will respond in the coming months and what actions it will take to navigate the economy to a soft landing. The Fed has been quite successful during the Greenspan era at keeping the economy growing with price stability and we expect that it will continue to navigate the economy along this path, though there are some potential icebergs beneath the surface that could severely damage the hull of this expansion."]

[Request #S53514]

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EDUCATION

HIGHER EDUCATION

Creating College Opportunity for All: Prepared Students and Affordable Colleges. By Southern Regional Education Board. (The Board, Atlanta, Georgia) 2005. 28 p.

Full Text at: www.sreb.org/main/Goals/Publications/05E02_Creating_College_Opportunity.pdf

["This report, helps us think about improving rates of success in schools and colleges for all groups, and what steps could make attending college a possibility for more young people. It takes a fresh look at college affordability from the perspectives of both students and parents. It helps us see that students from low-income families cannot afford college without state-funded financial assistance."]

[Request #S53515]

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Limited Knowledge: How the High Cost of Academic Journals Limits Public Access to Research. By the California Student Public Interest Research Group. (The Group, Los Angeles, California) September 2005. 11 p.

Full Text at: calpirg.org/reports/limitedknowledge.pdf

["The problem can be summarized in three parts: one, academic journal prices are rising; two, university budgets are decreasing; and three, the current tenure system encourages faculty to publish in high cost journals.... Therefore, it is vital that we examine new and innovative methods to promote and publish academic research. The benefits of doing so have the potential to expedite future advances in research, benefiting everyone."]

[Request #S53516]

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IMMIGRANTS

Educational Progress Across Immigrant Generations in California. By Deborah Reed and others. Public Policy Institute of California. (The Institute, San Francisco, California) 2005. 87 p.

Full Text at: www.ppic.org/content/pubs/R_905DRR.pdf

["California's immigrant populations are consistently attaining higher levels of educational achievement than their parents and grandparents did. But some immigrant groups in these younger generations, notably those from Mexico, still lag significantly behind others -- in part because they have so much more ground to make up. Policymakers in the state may wish to consider specifically targeting youth whose parents have low education levels to raise their educational prospects and further strenghen the skills of the state's workforce."]

[Request #S53517]

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STUDENT AID

Student Aid and Higher Education. By Tim Ransdell and Shervin Boloorian. Public Policy Institute of California. (The Institute, San Francisco, California) 2005. 93 p.

Full Text at: www.ppic.org/content/pubs/FF_905TRFF.pdf

["The federal government uses formula grants to distribute more than $400 billion annually to state and local governments to help them implement federal policies in such areas as health, transportation, and education. How much each government receives is determined by complex formulas that consist of many factors such as state population growth and per capita income. This series of reports provides detailed information on California's current and historical funding under the major federal grants and on the formulas used to determine California's share of funding under various specific grants."]

[Request #S53518]

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The High Cost of Student Aid Scams: How Fraudulent Companies Rip Off Financially Needy Students and How to Stop Them. By the California Student Public Interest Research Group. (The Group, Los Angeles, California) August 2005. 11p.

Full Text at: calpirg.org/reports/studentaidscam.pdf

["A new report informs students, parents, high school counselors and policy makers about common student aid scams and how to protect students and their parents from being ripped off.. Scholarship scams are services by companies that prey on students' and parents' unfamiliarity with the financial aid application process. According to FinAid, scholarship scams defraud hundreds of thousands of students and parents."]

[Request #S53519]

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EMPLOYMENT

WAGES

Pay Cards as a Payroll Option. By Raymond Hora, California Research Bureau, California State Library. CRB-05-003. (Sacramento, California) September 2005. 24 p.

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/crb/05/03/05-003.pdf

["There are a number of fees associated with pay cards that may be levied on employers and employees, as well as issues such as replacement costs and ensuring access to the full amount stored in the card. Several states have allowed pay cards but required full disclosure of fees to the employee."]

[Request #S53529]

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ENERGY

ENERGY CONSERVATION

State of New York, The People of the State of California, et al. v. Samuuel W. Bodman, et al. U.S. District Court, Southern District of California. CV 05-7807. Complaint for Declaratory and Injuctive Relief. September 7, 2005

["Attorney General Bill Lockyer joined 14 other states in suing the U.S. Department of Energy, accusing Bush administration officials of stalling efforts to boost energy-efficiency standards for large appliances.... They claim the Department of Energy is six to 13 years behind schedule in updating standards for some appliance categories and has failed to adopt any new efficiency standards at all since January 2001.... The states appear to suggest that tax credits would be unnecessary if Department of Energy officials simply adopted the tougher standards already dictated by law." Sacramento Bee (September 8, 2005) 1.]

Complaint. Various pagings.
complaint

Press release. 1 p.
press release

[Request #S53520]

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SOLAR POWER

Build-up of PV Value in California. By Lori Smith Schell, PhD, Shirley Neff, Steve McClary. (Testimony), Americans for Solar Power before the California Energy Commission, San Francisco, California April 13, 2005. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.forsolar.org/?q=node/98

["Americans for Solar Power's team of energy economists released the most comprehensive analysis to date of the value of distributed solar electricity. This path-breaking economic study demonstrates that distributed generation of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity, especially when reducing high-cost peak loads, is more valuable than the average alternative power generation and distribution options."]

[Request #S53521]

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Draft Report of the Solar Task Force: [Staff report]. By the Diversified Energy Advisory Committee, Western Governors' Association. (The Association, Denver, Colorado) September, 2005. 63 p.

Full Text at: www.westgov.org/wga/initiatives/cdeac/Solardraft9-15.pdf

["The development of 8 gigiwatts of solar electricity --enough to power 4 million homes -- would generate 32,500 new well-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction and installation. Deployment on this scale would also bring down solar costs to a point competitive with power produced from fossil fuels. The task force envisioned half of deployment coming from central concentrating solar power plants and half coming from distributed photovoltaic generation." Renewable Energy Access (September 20, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53522]

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ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES

BAY DELTA

The Bay Institute Ecological Scorecard: San Francisco Bay Index 2005. By the Bay Institute. (The Institute, Novato, California) September 2005.

["A new report from an environmental research group says an ongoing ecological crash in the Delta has spread into the upper reaches of the San Francisco Bay. The overall environmental health of the San Francisco Bay has improved modestly in the past two years. Biologists working in the Delta are increasingly alarmed by a population collapse among a wide range of open-water fish and food organism species. The collapse appears to have begun about three years ago, and scientists do not know what is causing it." Contra Costa Times (September 30, 2005) 1.]

Report. 15 p.
http://www.bay.org/Scorecard/2005.Bay.Index.Report.pdf

Expanded Report. 31 p.
http://www.bay.org/Scorecard/2005.Bay.Index.Expanded.Report.pdf

[Request #S53523]

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Sea Ice Decline Intensifies. By the National Snow and Ice Data Center. (The Center, Boulder, Colorado ) September 28, 2005. 10 p.

Full Text at: www.nsidc.org./news/press/intensifies/SeaIceDeclineIntensifies.pdf

["The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in at least a century of record keeping, continuing a trend toward less summer ice, a team of climate experts reported. That shift is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming. The change also appears to be headed toward becoming self-sustaining." San Francisco Chronicle (September 29, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S53524]

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GLOBAL WARMING

Less Snow, Less Water: Climate Disruption in the West. By Stephen Saunders and Maureen Maxwell. (The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, Louisville, Colorado) September, 2005. 36 p.

Full Text at: www.rockymountainclimate.org/website%20pictures/Less%20Snow%20Less%20Water.pdf

["Runoff from mountain snow provides as much as 70 percent of the region's water, including as much as two-thirds of the water used in Arizona's largest cities. Warmer weather can result in less snow, which directly reduces the water supply, or it can melt the snow too early. When that happens, reservoirs can't store it all, and some of the runoff will be lost... A warmer winter is a signature pattern in global warming. Runoff from snow hit a record low in 2002, the driest year in more than 500 years." Arizona Republic (September 29, 2005)."]

[Request #S53525]

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"Climate Modelling: Northern Hemisphere Circulation." By Nathan P. Gillett. IN: Nature, vol. 437 (September 22, 2005) p. 496

["Present climate change models -- computer representations of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface -- have underestimated the changes in air pressure, leading to an underestimate of the impact of global warming on weather patterns."] While observations reveal that air pressure has dropped 4 millibars over Iceland in the past 50 years and risen by up to 3 millibars in the sub tropics, climate model trends were less than 1 millibar." Science Daily (September 22, 2005) online.]

[Request #S53526]

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SOLID WASTE

Evaluation of Alternative Solid Waste Processing Technologies. By URS Corporation. Prepared for the Bureau of Sanitation, City of Los Angeles. (The Bureau, Los Angeles, California) September 2005.

["Los Angeles could build a plant to convert household trash into compost, ash, electricity or gas within the next five years, said a study on alternatives to Sunshine Canyon Landfill.... But residents in the northeast San Fernando Valley wonder what alternative technologies could mean for their community - which already is home to the city's two landfills, a dozen recycling facilities, and much of the heavy-industrial and commercial zoning needed for conversion plants." Los Angeles Daily news (September 29, 2005) 1.]

Report.
http://www.lacitysan.org/alternative-technologies-final-City-report.pdf

Summary. 37 p.
http://www.lacitysan.org/alternative-technologies-summary-report.pdf

[Request #S53527]

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WATER CONSERVATION

California Water 2030: An Efficient Future. By Peter H. Gleick, and others, Pacific Institute. (The Institute, Oakland, California) September 2005.

["California can reduce water use a staggering 20 percent over the next 25 years -- despite adding 11 million more residents -- without harming the economy, farms or quality of life. The answer isn't brown lawns or shorter showers. Instead, politicians and business leaders must relentlessly spread technology that is already in place, from low-flush toilets to drip irrigation on farms" San Jose Mercury News (September 14, 2005) 1.]

Report. 48 p.
http://www.pacinst.org/reports/california_water_2030/ca_water_2030.pdf

Press Release. 2 p.
http://www.pacinst.org/reports/california_water_2030/ca_water_2030_release_final.pdf

[Request #S53528]

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GENERAL GOVERNMENT

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Informed Public Perceptions of Nanotechnology and Trust in Government. By Jane Macoubrie, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC) September 2005. 31 p.

Full Text at: www.wilsoncenter.org/news/docs/macoubriereport.pdf

["Public perception and understanding of science and technology can be a difficult and daunting subject. This latest report... explores public attitudes toward the growing field of nanotechnology. The report shows that people are concerned about the general lack of consumer awareness of the field and the potential lack of government oversight of this rapidly emerging technology." The Scout Report (September 23, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53530]

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State and Federal E-Government in the United States, 2005. By Darrel West. (Taubman Center for Public Policy, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island) September 2005. 25 p.

Full Text at: www.insidepolitics.org/egovt05us.pdf

["44 percent of federal sites and 40 percent of state sites meet the World Wide Web Consortium disability guideline, up slightly from last year. Seventy-three percent of state and federal sites have services that are fully executable online, compared to 56 percent last year. One percent of government sites are accessible through personal digital assistants, pagers, or mobile phones, the same as last year.... The highest ranking states include Utah, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Delaware, and Massachusetts." Conclusions of the study. p. 3]

[Request #S53531]

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STATE BUDGET

California Spending Plan: 2005-06: The Budget Act and Related Legislation. By the Legislative Analyst's Office. (The Office, Sacramento, California) September 2005. 68 p.

Full Text at: www.lao.ca.gov/2005/spend_plan/0905_spend_plan.pdf

["This report summarizes legislative action on the 2005-06 budget, including expenditure highlights by program area.... The budget package contains almost $6 billion in solutions, eliminating a shortfall, prepaying some debt, and establishing a $1.33 billion year-end reserve.... The state still faces large operating deficits in 2006-07 and beyond, absent additional actions."]

[Request #S53532]

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VOTER REGISTRATION

Voter Registration Requirements, Voter Turnout, and Welfare Eligibility Policy: Class Bias Matters. By James M. Avery and others. IN: State Politics and Policy Quarterly, vol. 5 no. 1 (Spring 2005) pp. 47-67.

["The 1990s saw some of the most dramatic changes in the American social welfare system in recent decades at both the national and state levels. [The study] found that in states where lower-class voter turnout was comparable to that of the upper class, lawmakers were less likely to pass restrictive welfare eligibility rules."]

[Request #S53533]

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How Post-registration Laws Affect the Turnout of Citizens Registered to Vote. By Raymond E. Wolfinger and others. IN: State Politics and Policy Quarterly, vol. 5 no. 1. (Spring 2005) pp. 1-23.

["[This study] assesses post-registration costs and state policies that can make it easier for registered citizens to vote. These policies include mailing each registrant a sample ballot and information about the location of his or her polling place, providing a longer voting day, and requiring firms to give their employees time off to vote.... [This study] estimates if every state adopted these best practices, overall turnout of those registered would increase approximately three percentage points."]

[Request #S53534]

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HEALTH

ADOLESCENTS

Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: Teens 2004. Partnership for a Drug-Free America. (The Partnership, Washington, DC) 2005. 25 p.

Full Text at: www.drugfree.org/Files/Full_Report_PATS_TEENS_7th-12th_grades_2004

["The nation's teenagers are increasingly trying prescription drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin to get high. Generation Rx often raids their parents' medicine cabinets, according to the latest national study by Partnership for a Drug-Free America."]

[Request #S53541]

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AIR POLLUTION

"Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality in Nine California Counties: Results from CALFINE." By Bart Ostro and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives. September 1, 2005. 27 p.

Full Text at: ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2005/8335/8335.pdf

["Scientists have found what appears to be a significant association between the daily health-related death rate in Sacramento and other populous counties in California and the amount of haze in the air that day.... Health-related deaths in Sacramento County averaged 22 a day during the 1999-2002 study period." Sacramento Bee (September 26, 2005) 1 p.]

[Request #S53535]

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MEDICAID

Medicaid Commission to Report. By Federal Funds Information of States. FFIS Issue Brief 05-35. (FFIS, Washington, DC) August 30, 2005. 6 p.

["Many of the options presented to the Commission at its outset represented savings by the federal government that would have resulted in cost shifts to the states. Many others represented Medicaid program reductions that would create savings both for the federal government and the states.... Most of the savings are expected to accrue in the last two years of the period."]

[Request #S53536]

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PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

The Prescription Drug Crisis and Strategies for Reform. By Moving Ideas: The Electronic Policy Network. (The Network, Washington, DC) September 14, 2005. Various pagings.

Full Text at: www.movingideas.org/content/en/report_content/pharma.htm

["With the number of uninsured on the rise and the cost of prescription drugs escalating at an astronomical rate, Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for the medications they need. This special report provides details on the prescription drug crisis, the money and influence exerted by the pharmaceutical industry to protect their profits, and reforms proposed by consumer protection advocates."]

[Request #S53537]

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HOUSING

HOUSING

Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions. By Charles Himmelberg, Christopher Mayer and Todd Sinai. (The Author, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) September 2005. 42 p.

Full Text at: rider.wharton.upenn.edu/~sinai/papers/Housing-Bubble-Himmelberg-Mayer-Sinai-wp-09-07-2005.pdf

["San Francisco's housing market doesn't suffer from bubble mania. The recent, rapid price increases stem not from a speculative frenzy but from basic economic factors, including low interest rates, strong income growth and abnormally low prices in the mid-1990s.... The authors found that the annual cost of owning a home relative to renting in San Francisco and other expensive cities -- including Boston, Los Angeles and New York -- is lower than it was in the late 1980s, just before the last major downturn in housing prices. The ratio of housing costs to income is also more favorable than at other times during the past 24 years in these cities. Other markets, where those ratios hover near peak levels, appear more vulnerable to price declines. San Diego show signs of being overvalued." San Francisco Chronicle (September 21, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53538]

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REAL ESTATE LOANS

"New Information Reported under HMDA and its Application in Fair Lending Enforcement." By Robert B. Avery and Glenn B. Canner. IN: Federal Reserve Bulletin, Summer 2005 pp. 344-394.

Full Text at: www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2005/3-05hmda.pdf

["Lenders deny only about 15 percent of applications for home-purchase loans on one to four-family site-built homes.... In contrast, about 30 percent to 36 percent of refinancings and home-improvement loan applications involving first liens are denied, as are about 50 percent of the applications for manufactured homes.... For every loan category, American Indians, Blacks, Hispanic whites, and the group for which race was missing have higher unadjusted mean denial rates than non-Hispanic whites.]

[Request #S53539]

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"The High Cost of Credit: Disparities in High-priced Loans to Minority Homeowners in 125 American Cities." By Acorn Fair Housing. (Acorn, Washington, D.C.) September 27, 2005. 29 p.

Full Text at: www.acorn.org/fileadmin/Afforable_Housing/hmda/High_Cost_of_Credit_Report.doc

["A new study compares the percentage of higher-cost loans in minority communities with that of non-minority neighborhoods within the same metro areas. L.A. had the highest disparity rate of all the areas studied, with minority communities here 9.3 times more likely to get higher-cost loans to refinance their homes than residents of a nearby white-majority neighborhood." Los Angles Times (September 29, 2005) online.]

[Request #S53540]

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HUMAN SERVICES

LOW INCOME

"Fifteen Years Later: Can Residential Mobility Programs Provide a Long-term Escape from Neighborhood Segregation, Crime, and Poverty?" By Micere Keels and others. IN: Demography, vol. 42, no. 1 (February 2005) pp. 51-73.

["We examined whether the Gautreaux residential mobility program, which moved poor black volunteer families who were living in inner-city Chicago into more-affluent and integrated neighborhoods, produced long-run improvements in the neighborhood environment of the participants. We found that although all the participants moved in the 6 to 22 years since their initial placements, they continued to reside in neighborhoods with income levels that matched those of their placement neighborhoods."]

[Request #S53542]

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POVERTY

Child Poverty in Rich Countries: 2005. The Proportion of Children Living in Poverty has Risen in a Majority of the World's Developed Economies. By the Innocenti Research Centre, UNICEF. (The United Nations Non-Governmental Liason Service, New York, New York) 40 p.

Full Text at: www.un-ngls.org/UNICEF-child-poverty-in-rich-countries-2005.pdf

["U.S. ranks second worst among 26 OCED countries in terms of child poverty. At the current child poverty rate of more than 20 percent, the U.S. has a long way to go to meet the recommendations of UNICEF to bring child poverty rates at least below the 10 percent level." Child Development Policy Institute. (June 26, 2005) 1 p.

[Request #S53543]

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TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES

TANF: State Approaches to Screening for Domestic Violence Could Benefit from HHS Guidance. By Government Accountability Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) August 2005. 46 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d05701.pdf

["Given states' broad discretion in implementing the TANF program, including most aspects of marriage and responsible fatherhood programs, this report examines 1) how states identify victims of domestic violence among TANF recipients, 2) how states address domestic violence among TANF recipients once they are identified, and 3) the extent to which states spend TANF funds on marriage and responsible fatherhood programs, and how, if at all, these programs are addressing domestic violence."]

[Request #S53544]

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VETERANS

VA Post-Katrina Health Manual: Information for Health Care Providers and Patients. By Department of Veterans Affairs. (The Department, Washington, DC) September 2005. 65 p.

Full Text at: www.publichealth.va.gov/documents/Katrina_Patients_Clinicians_Guide-final.pdf

["This manual contains documents and information designed to help provide rapid assistance for veterans' health care and other needs as a result of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In the weeks and months during our nation's recovery from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, veterans who use the health care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will need focused VA health care for consequences of the events caused by the hurricane as well as for their own acute and chronic health needs unrelated to the hurricane."]

[Request #S53545]

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INSURANCE

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, et al. v. v. John Garamendi, et al. California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District. B173987. September 27, 2005. 21 p.

Full Text at: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B173987.PDF

["An insurer-backed state law offering discounts to millions of California drivers -- which opponents said would be subsidized by rate increases for largely lower-income motorists -- was overturned by a state appeals court.... The appeals court said Prop. 103 required insurance rates to be based primarily on driving records and prohibited insurers from making drivers' lack of past coverage a basis for denying a good-driver discount. SB841 conflicts with the initiative by allowing insurers to impose surcharges on previously uninsured drivers to pay for discounts for other drivers, the court said." San Francisco Chronicle (September 28, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53546]

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STUDIES TO COME
[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]

DEMOGRAPHY

IMMIGRANTS

"New York City Immigrants: The 1990's Wave." By Rae Rosen and others. IN: Current Issues in Economics and Finance, vol. 11 no. 6 (2005) pp. 1-7.

["Fueled by steady influx of immigrants, New York City's population turnover in the 1990s was almost double the average for the nation's 100 largest cities. A close look at the city's new foreign-born residents suggests that they are a very diverse group, showing marked differences in education level, English language fluency, and other characteristics that help determine labor market skills and performance."]

[Request #S53547]

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GENERAL GOVERNMENT

ELECTION REFORM

Asking the Right Questions About Electonic Voting. By Richard Celeste and others. The National Academy Press. (The Academy, Washington, DC) 2005. 126 p.

Full Text at: www.nap.edu/books/0309100240/html/1.html

["Electronic voting is controversial today.... Policy makers are caught in the mist of a controversy with both political and technological overtones.... A first meaningful step in such an examination should be the articulation of important questions and issues that election officials, policy makers, and informed citizens should ask concerning the use of computers and information technology in the electorial process."]

[Request #S53548]

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HEALTH

OBESITY

"Pharmacologic Treatment of Obesity." And "Meta-Analysis: Surgical Treatment of Obesity." By Z. Li and others. Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 142 no. 7. (2005) pp. 532-546; 547-559.

["Weight loss surgery is more effective than diet and exercise in helping severly obese people lose weight.... Surgery is associated with improvements in some obesity-related conditions.... People who lost weight using (FDA-approved) drugs were less likely to develop diabetes; and weight loss has been associated with improvements in high blood presure, blood sugar, and cholesterol level."]

[Request #S53549]

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"Undertreatment of Obese Women Receiving Breast Cancer Chemotherapy." By J. J. Griggs and others. IN: Achives of Internal Medicine, vol. 165 no. 11 (2005) pp. 1267-1273.

["Obese and overweight women received intentionally reduced doses of chemotherapy for breast cancer more frequently than women of healthy weight. Severly obese women had fewer severe side effects from chemotherapy, whether they received full or reduced doses."]

[Request #S53550]

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