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Apparently, Everyone’s Entitled to Comcast and Verizon’s Opinion

Apparently, Everyone’s Entitled to Comcast and Verizon’s Opinion

Before I get started: the incredibly awesome Environmental Equity team here at Greenlining just launched this ultracool campaign called UpliftCA. Go check it out.   Sometimes corporate interests make my job just too easy. Today’s example: net neutrality. Specifically, the net neutrality comments that members of “the public” have filed with the Federal Communications Commission over the past few months. A little background:  FCC proceedings generally include two rounds of public comments. The first round consists of opening comments—everyone is free to file a comment expressing their support of or opposition to a particular FCC rule or decision (for example, imposing new net neutrality rules), as well as offering suggestions…
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Climate Change, Pollution and the Truth

Climate Change, Pollution and the Truth

When I was in high school, my family lived in an affluent, very white neighborhood on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, several miles southwest of Los Angeles International Airport. On top of a hill, we were literally above the smog that shrouded most of L.A. From time to time we would drive down the hill from our upper middle class perch into Wilmington, a nearby town that was predominantly Latino and much, much poorer. You could literally watch the air change as you went down the hill, into an area where frayed-looking houses and apartments were tucked in between oil refineries and enormous fuel storage tanks. There were no oil refineries…
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What to Expect from Immigration and Health Care Reforms: Thanksgiving Edition

What to Expect from Immigration and Health Care Reforms: Thanksgiving Edition

The Thanksgiving holiday comes at an interesting time – to say the least – for immigration reform and health advocates, especially in California. After months of posturing, it seems like President Obama finally got the memo. The President’s recent executive order (issued on Friday, November 20, 2014) represented an opportunity for relief for millions of undocumented immigrants. For instance, these executive actions expanded the eligible population for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by allowing the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization. For health care advocates, discussions around the implications for Medi-Cal eligibility began almost immediately. Many expect undocumented…
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After Ferguson

After Ferguson

On Monday night the county grand jury investigating the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael  Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson decided not to indict the officer for the shooting.  For millions of black and Latino Americans, this was no surprise. The story isn’t over, of course. A federal civil rights investigation continues, and it could lead to action against Wilson or others for civil rights violations. Not having seen all the evidence, I’m reluctant to second-guess the grand jury’s decision, but I can’t help wondering whether the outcome would have been the same if Michael Brown had been white. Maybe it’s that over the weekend, another black kid,…
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Happy Illegal Immigrant Day!!!

Happy Illegal Immigrant Day!!!

All across the U.S., families are getting ready to stuff themselves silly on turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie to commemorate the arrival of our country’s first “illegal aliens.” Of course, we don’t say it that way, but it’s true, and it might be nice if we were honest about it – especially given the hysterical reactions to President Obama’s rather modest immigration reforms. Those early English settlers, the “Pilgrims” around whom we’ve constructed an elaborate Thanksgiving story that’s in fact largely myth, seem never to have seriously considered getting permission to settle here, even though it wasn’t a secret that the place was already inhabited. By pretty much all accounts,…
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#GetCovered Round 2: What to Expect from the Upcoming Covered California Open Enrollment

#GetCovered Round 2: What to Expect from the Upcoming Covered California Open Enrollment

The second Covered California open enrollment period starts on November 15. Despite initial glitches and obstacles, California quietly led the charge by enrolling 1.1 million people into qualified health plans with Covered California, the largest of any state by far. This time around, expectations are sky high, with 1.7 million expected to sign up through Covered California this next enrollment period, which ends on February 15, 2015. And where there were problems, Covered California has moved to fix them. For example, as we noted last June, limited-English proficient individuals were inadequately represented, and a large unmet health need remains for this population. Fortunately, the folks at Covered California have listened…
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Closing the Doors to the University of California

Closing the Doors to the University of California

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – Victor Hugo “…and as soon as the income of the University shall permit, admission and tuition shall be free to all residents of the State; and it shall be the duty of the Regents, according to population, to so apportion the representation of students, when necessary, that all portions of the State shall enjoy equal privileges therein.” – Section 14, U.C. Charter So, the University of California plans a 5% tuition increase each year for the next five years, UC’s way of staying sustainable and afloat.  UC President Janet Napolitano says this is necessary for the stability of the university, and…
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Hospitals, “Political Attacks” and Straw Men

Hospitals, “Political Attacks” and Straw Men

It’s not a surprise that the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California responded to our recent report on San Francisco hospitals’ community benefit spending and our San Francisco Chronicle column about it with its own column in the Chronicle. What is surprising – and telling – is that instead of addressing the substance of our questions, Hospital Association President Art Sponseller resorted to a series of straw man arguments designed to avoid the issue. Sponseller spends about a third of his column listing good things that SF hospitals do, as if we’d claimed these institutions do no good work in their communities. We said no such thing, of course.…
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Connecting the Dots: Federal Reserve Chair Yellen on Diversity and Policy

Connecting the Dots: Federal Reserve Chair Yellen on Diversity and Policy

I won’t lie to you: Being a diversity advocate in the financial sector can sometimes be maddening. I can’t tell you how many feel-good speeches I’ve sat through, shallow diversity trainings I’ve heard about, or rainbow posters I’ve seen as “evidence” of an organization’s commitment to diversity & inclusion. These intentions, though well meaning, miss the real point: Diversity is more than “brown faces in high places.” Diversity is about integrating a full understanding of the consumer base, typically gained through lived experiences, into decision-making. And when diversity is adequately and strategically realized, all communities equitably benefit —from how a company markets products, to how the government regulates the economy.…
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Greenlining, Hospitals, and Sunlight: Why Transparency Matters

Greenlining, Hospitals, and Sunlight: Why Transparency Matters

It’s not easy to find a direct analogy that describes the work Greenlining has done to hold not-for-profit hospitals accountable to their community benefit promises. To most, these hospitals seem like the last institution you’d want to criticize, particularly in comparison to the predatory behaviors of banks, insurance companies, and large corporations. However, it’s exactly this type of complacency that lulls so many into overlooking the ways in which not-for-profit hospitals don’t hold up their end of the bargain. And that’s where the Greenlining Bridges to Health team comes in. In the fall of 2013, Greenlining published its first community benefit report detailing a lack of clarity, coupled with large…
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