Gaining Control of Pensions

Public pensions are draining public coffers

When it comes to the California public pension system, one thing is crystal clear: it absolutely must and will change. The question is when and how. Practically every expert who has analyzed the state’s pension figures uses the word “unsustainable” to describe the system.

Jan 1, 2012 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

Compensation Boomerang

An overcorrected workers' comp system seeks balance

In 2003, California’s workers’ compensation rates led the nation, setting off a debate about the cost of doing business here. Enter former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his sweeping 2004 reforms to the system — everything from disability payments to medical care guidelines to return-to-work benefits got an overhaul.

Jan 1, 2012 Samantha Bronson

Judgment Day

The fate of federal healthcare

From the moment President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010, observers predicted the law’s fate would ultimately be determined by the Supreme Court. Now, almost two years later, the court is indeed preparing final arbitration of the most sweeping and controversial health law in a generation.

Dec 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Working Lunch with Bradley Hudson

Bradley J. Hudson, 53, was hired as the Sacramento County executive in mid-August. With more than 25 years of administrative experience in civic government, he most recently served as the city manager of Riverside.

Dec 1, 2011 Douglas Curley

Past & Present Danger

A historied economist imparts warning

Peter Lindert is one of the preeminent voices in the “deep history” field of economics, which looks at the world economy over the scope of all human history. We recently talked with the UC Davis professor about the U.S. and global economies and the penchant for both to experience exhilarating highs and devastating lows.

Dec 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Up in Smoke

The fate of the marijuana industry

In the past few months, Sacramento County’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry has been slashed by two-thirds. Federal and local officials are slapping landlords with fines and criminal charges if they lease or rent to such establishments. In August, Sacramento County was home to 99 medical marijuana dispensaries. By November, more than 63 had closed.

Dec 1, 2011 Carol Crenshaw

Voted Off the Island

Dream studio for filmmakers dissolves amidst Vallejo debate

Carissa Carpenter had her eye on Mare Island for the location of a state-of-the-art movie and television studio plus production company. Headed by Carpenter and studio president Howard Kazanjian, renowned producer of blockbuster films such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” the studio aimed to be an alternative to Hollywood’s heavily booked and expensive movie sound stages.

Nov 1, 2011 Carol Crenshaw

A Taxing Tug of War

The Amazon tax hits retailers where it hurts

In the past 10 years, Alzada Knickerbocker of independent bookseller The Avid Reader has seen her revenue cut in half. To help businesses like hers that suffered during the e-commerce boom, earlier this year lawmakers introduced the Assembly Bill X1 28, the so-called Amazon tax law.

Nov 1, 2011 Andrea Kennedy

Creating a New Economy

Call it a recession, a realignment or a downturn. Whatever you call it, our current economy is experiencing convulsions most of us have not seen in our lifetimes. Our nation, our state and our region continue to suffer from a sputtering economy and painfully high unemployment.

Oct 1, 2011 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Photo by UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

The ABCs of the ACA

As health care administrators around the country prepare to implement the Affordable Care Act, educators are also tasked with preparing the next generation of managers — for the unknown.

No one knows yet just how health care reform is going to change the daily routine for practitioners and administrators, but all agree that business decisions, from purchasing supplies to the cost of follow-up care, are going to look different.

Oct 1, 2011 Stephanie Flores

Renovation Realities

One business owner's quest to get compliant

Kevin Straw can restore a car to its original state. He can fix a dent, smooth rough spots, put on a fresh coat of paint and make a clunker look new.

But over the next couple years, Straw will have to learn the ropes of another craft, using unfamiliar tools to restore his business, fix the dents inflicted by a legal attack, smooth over the rough spots of his shop’s accessibility to wheelchairs and paint blue stripes in the parking lot.

Kevin Straw can restore a car to its original state. He can fix a dent, smooth rough spots, put on a fresh coat of paint and make a clunker look new.

But over the next couple years, Straw will have to learn the ropes of another craft, using unfamiliar tools to restore his business, fix the dents inflicted by a legal attack, smooth over the rough spots of his shop’s accessibility to wheelchairs and paint blue stripes in the parking lot.

Oct 1, 2011 Anne Gonzalez

Working Lunch with Marty Keller

The politics of small business

There is a distinction between being pro business and being pro small business, at least according to Marty Keller. He hopes to use this distinction to unify a mostly silent force of 3.5 million small-business owners and give them a voice — and perhaps the ability — to dramatically reshape the California Legislature in 2012.

Oct 1, 2011 Douglas Curley

Reformation Nation

The pros, cons and political climate of federal health care reform

In a nation full of hot-button issues, few are as torrid as federal health care reform. More than a year and a half since its passage, the law — officially dubbed the Affordable Care Act but derisively called “Obamacare” by its critics — is still being fought in the courts, Congress and statehouses across the country. But for all the political and legal wrangling, the law is marching forward.

Sep 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen