(illustration: Lily Therens)

Pan’s Problems

Push for state contracting legislation fizzles

In May we reported on efforts by Assemblyman Richard Pan, who represents the 9th district covering parts of Sacramento and San Joaquin counties, to curb outsourcing of government projects to the private sector (“Relationship Troubles,” by Russell Nichols, May 2014). Assembly Bill 906, which required all personal service contracts to be approved by the Legislature, went into effect last January. At the time of our story, Pan had proposed an additional package of bills: AB 1574, 1575 and 1578.

Here’s a look at how the bills have progressed:

Nov 3, 2014 Allison Joy
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Reform Prop. 13

Is a discussion possible?

After all these years since California voters passed Proposition 13, what will it take to have a rational discussion about amending the way commercial property is assessed?

Oct 30, 2014 Lenny Goldberg
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In Support of Measure L

Why a strong mayor will make for a stronger Sacramento

I’ve watched, listened and learned as the debate over Sacramento’s “strong mayor” initiative has progressed over the past several years. Like many people, I was surprised and a little disappointed when Kevin Johnson started advocating for the strong mayor form of government within months of election to his first term.

But this time it’s different.

Oct 28, 2014 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Dave Jones is the California Insurance Commissioner. Jones is a former Sacramento City Councilmember, having represented the 6th District covering southeast Sacramento and College Greens. He represented California's 9th Assembly District from 2004 to 2011.

Restraining the Titans

California's insurance commissioner on the importance of veto power over rate hikes

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has spent much of the past decade looking to enact rate regulations on the health insurance industry, first as an Assemblymember and now as the state’s top insurance regulator. We sat down with him recently to talk about Proposition 45, a November ballot measure he supports that would give him the power to reject health insurance rate hikes.

Oct 27, 2014 Rich Ehisen
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Underhanded Dealings

The dark side of the “shadow economy”

Unscrupulous vendors are a small part of the so-called shadow economy – the unlicensed contractor for sure, but also a vast black market of businesses, often cash-only, working out of homes or garages, that don’t pay the taxes or licensing fees their competitors do. While profitable for the person getting away with it, this underground economy hits all of us right where it hurts – in the pocketbook.

Oct 24, 2014 Rich Ehisen
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Putting Children First

What to expect when dealing with Child Protective Services

A report was made to Child Protective Services about our young nephew, claiming an abusive environment created by neglect due to my sister-in-law’s drug addiction. My sister-in-law is obviously very upset, and doesn’t know what to do. We’ve never been through anything like this; what should we expect?

Oct 14, 2014 Coral Henning

A Message for California’s GOP

Acuity with Kaitlyn MacGregor

At 25-years-old, Kaitlyn MacGregor is the new director of communications for the California Republican Party, and she has her work cut out for her. New data from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California shows that young voters aren’t registering Republican and neither are moderates, African Americans or Latinos. With elections just weeks away, MacGregor will need to make strides quickly. 

Oct 10, 2014 Christine Calvin
(Zuza Hicks)

In the Dark?

6 steps to navigating Title 24’s new lighting standards

The updated Title 24 energy efficiency standards will greatly impact how property owners design, construct and renovate buildings. Bernie Kotlier, co-chair of the nonprofit California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, shares the best ways to navigate the changes:

Oct 9, 2014 Russell Nichols

Juris Prudence

Changes to the legal market are motivating attorneys to bootstrap

Alex Medina and Brandon McKelvey’s new law firm looks more like a bootstrapped tech startup than a high-end legal practice. It’s one model among the boutique firms whose numbers have taken off in the region this year. The improving economy, a buyer’s market for legal services, and the lures of startup culture have upended Sacramento’s legal landscape.

Oct 7, 2014 Steven Yoder
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Touchscreen to Table

West Sacramento to address food access with Code for America

Code for America works with cities around the country, using open-source software to improve the scalability and reach of government services. Starting next year, Code for America fellows will work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the city of West Sacramento using technology to tackle issues related to health care and food access in the city.

Sep 30, 2014 Allison Joy
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Missing Pieces

Is California's latest disability access law causing more lawsuits?

With California leading the nation in ADA lawsuits, two years ago state legislators enacted a reform designed to thread the needle between those positions by educating more businesses about their responsibilities so they would make required access changes. Today, no one can say whether compliance has increased. But the number of ADA lawsuits has soared.

Aug 27, 2014 Steven Yoder

Patent Trolls

What are they, and what's being done to stop them?

Patent infringement lawsuits have long been the business version of a first world problem — a thorny matter for the Googles and Samsungs of the world. But in recent years, so-called patent trolls, shell companies that exist only to sue other companies for allegedly violating patents the shell company owns, have been going after much smaller businesses, from coffee shops to real estate offices.

Jun 30, 2014 Rich Ehisen