Economic Research and Analysis

Media Coverage of Squeezing the Middle Class
“U.S. Census finds more are poor.”

Jason B. Johnson.  San Francisco Chronicle, 31 August 2005.
More Americans fell into poverty in 2004, but the percentage of people without health insurance coverage was steady between 2003 and 2004 because more people were covered by government programs, according to two reports the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday.
The estimated national poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent of individuals in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2004, an increase of 1.1 million people, for a total of 37 million Americans living below the federal poverty level. The poverty level, which varies by household size, was $18,850 for a family of four in 2004.

“Californians make little progress in economic recovery.”

Business Journal staff.  Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 31 August 2005.
U.S. Census statistics show Californians made little progress in 2004 in being part of the overall national pickup in the economy. And a separate local analysis shows some Santa Clara County residents fell further behind.
The state and local reaction follows the release Tuesday of a report from the U.S. Census Bureau of 2004 economic trends.

“Report: Santa Clara County Incomes Falling.”

CBS5 staff.  CBS5, 31 August 2005.
Santa Clara County household incomes have dropped by more than 13 percent in the past three years in part due to the real estate bubble and the lingering effects of the dot-com crash, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a San Jose nonprofit.

Opinion Piece
“Our society’s middle is shrinking from view”

Louise Auerhahn.  San Jose Mercury News, 26 July 2005.
In the last two decades, Silicon Valley's economy has rushed through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. But one disturbing trend has remained constant; the middle class has grown steadily smaller. Even worse, the "new economy,'' both pre- and post-crash, is characterized by increasing inequality and by massive and perpetual insecurity.

Media Coverage of The Economic Effects of Immigration
“Immigrant importance to valley is touted.”

Jessie Mangaliman.  San Jose Mercury News, 23 September 2004.
A day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, immigrant advocates released a new report Thursday touting the contributions of immigrants to Silicon Valley's economy.

Other Media Coverage
“Labor survey takes on Stanford temp workers.”

Victoria Colliver.  San Jose Mercury News, 29 May 2003.
Nearly three-quarters of temporary workers at Stanford University earn below the minimum wage and more than two-thirds lack health insurance, according to a labor-backed survey released Wednesday.
The survey of 72 temporary workers was conducted by Working Partnerships USA, a nonprofit labor research group in the South Bay, and promoted by Service Employees International Union Local 715, which is in contract negotiations with the university.
Government Accountability and Reform

Accountable Development
“Coyote Valley Growth Triggers.”

Rodney Foo.  Mercury News, 14 August 2005.
When Coyote Valley task force members return to work Monday, they'll pick up where they left off in June: analyzing the criteria that will kick off the building of a community of 75,000 in South San Jose, a question that has lingered for decades.
And just as in 1993, the last time the growth triggers for Coyote Valley were revised, the task force faces the same old problem: How to meter growth in a way that won't sap the city's coffers in the midst of a recession.

“San Jose needs a high-rise option”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 16 August 2004.
It's ridiculous that in the 11th largest city in the United States, there's not a single opportunity for luxury high-rise living downtown.
San Diego has plenty. So do Los Angeles and San Francisco. But San Jose? Except for a few older buildings -- nearly all senior housing -- there are no apartments or condos more than six stories downtown and few more than four.

“San Jose's chance to 'get it right'.”

Barbara Marshman.  San Jose Mercury News, 6 June 2004.
Burnham's plan was one in a long line of attempts to bring order to willy-nilly growth in land-rich America -- a line that stretches to today and the ambitious plans to create a community from scratch in Silicon Valley's last frontier: San Jose's Coyote Valley.
The plan is still in its infancy -- construction couldn't begin until 2007 at the earliest. But the blueprint for what type of community it would be is rapidly taking shape. Its aim: to turn California's typical patterns of growth upside down. No suburban sprawl here. Instead, Coyote is envisioned more like an old-fashioned town with walkable streets, village squares and Main Street-style stores rather than strip malls.

“Another delay for jobs plan.”

Frank Sweeney.  San Jose Mercury News, 1 October 2003.
Despite Mayor Ron Gonzales' earlier push for immediate action, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday again changed and delayed the most controversial parts of his radical plan to make the city more business-friendly and create thousands of new jobs.

“Labor pushes policy changes: more public input sought on projects.”
Michelle Guido.  San Jose Mercury News, 19 August 2003.

“Transit agency OKs tax study.”

Gary Richards.  Mercury News, 17 June 2005.
The Valley Transportation Authority gave the go-ahead Thursday to studying a plan for a new sales tax that would rank the BART extension to Silicon Valley as the agency's top priority but that could also result in decades-long delays for Caltrain and light-rail upgrades.
The plan by San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales will be debated by the agency this summer and go back to the board for approval this fall. It passed by a 10-2 vote and probably will lead to a quarter-cent sales tax being placed on the November 2006 ballot.

Measure A
“Santa Clara County voters defeat half-cent sales tax hike.”

Barry Witt.  Mercury News, 7 June 2006.
Santa Clara County voters decided Tuesday they're paying enough in sales taxes, soundly rejecting a proposed half-cent increase designed to rescue the financially imperiled BART extension to Silicon Valley and restore health services for the poor.
It was a stunning result for much of the county's political, business and labor establishment, which joined forces to promote a tax increase to address a variety of transportation and social service needs.

“Proponents, opponents grapple over Measure A.”

Barry Witt.  Mercury News, 19 May 2006.
Is Santa Clara County's proposed half-cent sales tax increase a vital revenue source to protect health services and build mass transit or an underhanded way to rescue a poorly run transportation agency?
In a nutshell, those were the two positions presented at a public forum Thursday night by a leading supporter and opponent of Measure A, which would take the county's sales tax rate to 8.75 percent if approved by a majority of voters in June.

“Santa Clara County sales tax hike is on June 6 ballot.”

Business Journal staff.  Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 1 March 2006.
The voters of Santa Clara County will have the opportunity June 6 to raise the county's sales tax by half a cent to 8.75 percent, but what the money from the tax would be used for is unspecified.

Opinion Pieces
“Add affordable-housing funding to bond plan to avert crisis.”

Chris Block, Jaime Alvarado and Sean Charpentier.  Mercury News, 1 March 2006.
Everybody knows there is an affordable-housing crisis in Silicon Valley. What many people don't know is how much worse the crisis will get unless we act now and support including $2 billion for affordable housing in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's massive proposed infrastructure bond.
Surprisingly, Schwarzenegger's bond plan does not include affordable housing. Fortunately for Silicon Valley, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, and Speaker of the Assembly Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, have been leading the charge to include up to $2 billion for affordable housing in the total bond package. The governor can show his commitment to keeping the California dream alive for thousands of families and to expanding our economic prosperity by agreeing to Perata and Núñez's proposal.

“State review distorts data on privatizing.”

Brian Darrow and Bob Brownstein.  Mercury News, 24 October 2004.
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger initiated his mammoth California Performance Review (CPR), he spoke of the need to increase accountability in government. In that spirit, accountability should be demanded of the California Performance Review document itself. Regrettably, a careful analysis of this gargantuan report, drafted largely behind closed doors, reveals so many distortions and critical omissions that it cries out for rebuke from elected officials.

“Bringing accountability to S.J. Redevelopment Agency.”

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Dave Cortese.  San Jose Mercury News, 25 August 2003.
Last week, a community and labor coalition announced a proposal to bring needed fiscal reform to the San Jose Redevelopment Agency's use of public dollars to subsidize private developments. This policy, the Community Benefits Initiative, would require a more inclusive and open decision-making process. Most important, it would require a specific assessment of the public's return on investment from the agency's use of taxpayer dollars.

Other Media Coverage
“Don’t borrow trouble: Silicon Valley campaign launched to prevent predatory lending practices.”

Freddie Mac Release.  Freddie Mac, 4 November 2005.
At a press conference here today, a coalition of 10 private and public organizations including the City of San Jose, Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE -News), Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley and the California Association of Mortgage Brokers launched a major public education campaign aimed at preventing predatory lending practices in Silicon Valley.
Health Care

Three-share health care program
“Health plan is a 'new concept'.”

Truong Phuoc Khánh.  San Jose Mercury News, 24 November 2006.
Santa Clara County, the valley's largest provider of health care for people without medical insurance, thinks it can get small businesses to do the right thing -- and make the county money in the bargain.
Under the ``Three Share Model'' plan, the county would make its health and hospital network -- and its 300 attending physicians -- available to low-wage workers of small businesses that currently do not offer health coverage. Participating employers and employees, in return, would pay monthly premiums.

“Plan aids uninsured, small business.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 16 November 2006.
The same coalition that brought you the successful Santa Clara County Children's Health Initiative is suggesting an experiment that could, over time, significantly reduce the number of uninsured working adults in the county.
In the process, it might even create additional revenue for the county's health system without additional costs.
Call it the no-brainer of all no-brainers.

“Contra Costa assesses rising health care costs.”

Marton Dunai.  Contra Costa Times, 13 October 2006.
Contra Costa health care and business leaders met in Concord Friday to discuss the problems that rising health care costs present the business community and the county's general population.
According to a recent study distributed at the conference, almost one in six Contra Costa County residents are uninsured, the majority of them working adults. Minorities, especially Latinos, are overrepresented among the uninsured, according to the report.

Media coverage of Kids At Risk
“Study sees decline in health coverage: Reduced job-based insurance may leave half of state's poorest children in publicly funded programs.”

Jon Ortiz. Sacramento Bee, 23 September 2005.
Half of California's poorest children will be covered by publicly funded health programs and one in five on the lowest economic rungs will be uninsured by 2010 if health costs are not curtailed, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
A decline in affordable job-based family insurance benefits is to blame, says the report by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and San Jose-based think tank Working Partnerships USA.

“Health premiums shifting: Fewer Children Covered By Employer Plans.”

Mark Schwanhausser. San Jose Mercury News, 23 September 2005
Rapidly rising premiums are shifting the burden of health insurance for California's children from employers to taxpayers, according to a study released Thursday.

“Shift Is Seen in Health Coverage for Kids: By 2010, employer plans could cover fewer than half of California's children, putting a strain on public agencies, studies say.”

Debora Vrana. Los Angeles Times, 23 September 2005.
Fewer than half of California's children will have health coverage through a parent's job by 2010 if current trends continue, according to a pair of studies released Thursday.

Media coverage of Falling Apart
“Worker health benefits shrink: Employer-paid insurance coverage rates increasing.”

Victoria Colliver. San Francisco Chronicle, 2 June 2005
Barely half of working Californians will have job-based health insurance in 2010 if rates keep rising at current levels, according to a study released Wednesday by UC Berkeley researchers.
Employer-paid coverage will drop to 53 percent of the state's working adult population in 2010 from 58 percent in 2004 if premiums continue to rise by 10 percent a year, researchers reported in the study, which was conducted by UC Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education and Working Partnerships USA.

“Study reports trend will swell ranks of uninsured.”

Sarah Skidmore. San Diego Tribune, 2 June 2005.
Rising health care costs are causing more companies to drop coverage for employees, a study has found.
Each 10 percent increase in premiums leads to roughly 1 million people nationwide losing their employer-provided insurance, according to the study released yesterday by researchers at the University of California Berkeley and Working Partnerships USA.

“More firms offering less in health care to work.”

Debora Vrana. Los Angeles Times (reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News), 2 June 2005.
The number of Californians lacking health insurance will grow by about 20% over the next five years as premiums rise and fewer jobs offer employer-sponsored coverage, predicted a study released Wednesday by UC Berkeley researchers.
Low- and middle-income adults in California will be most dramatically affected if current trends continue, concluded the study, conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the union-affiliated Working Partnerships USA, a San Jose-based nonprofit organization.

“Health care study sees more uninsured: Rising costs may put benefits out of reach for many by 2010.”

Lisa Rapaport. Sacramento Bee, 3 June 2005.
One in four adults statewide will be uninsured by 2010 if health premiums keep increasing by more than 10 percent a year, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hardest hit by rising health costs will be workers at the low and middle rungs of the wage ladder, predicted the study, released Thursday by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the Working Partnerships USA, a union-supported nonprofit think tank in San Jose.

“Study predicts growing coverage gap.”

Judy Silber. Contra Costa Times, 2 June 2005.
Only slightly more than half of Californians will have health care coverage through their employer by 2010, predicts a new study released today.
If premiums continue to increase by double digit rates, many people will lose their insurance, said the study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA, a collaboration between labor unions, religious groups, educators and other community-based organizations.

“Report warns fewer employers covering health.  Study at Berkeley predicts rising cost will force more workers to rely on government aid.”

Bernard J. Wolfson. Orange County Register, 2 June 2005.
The percentage of workers who get health coverage through their employers is declining as the cost of health care rises, according to a new study released Wednesday by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

“Number of insured declining.”

Bloomberg News. Detroit Free Press, 3 June 2005.
About 1.3 million adults in the United States lose their employer-sponsored health insurance with each 10% average rise in premiums, according to a study released Thursday by the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Children’s Health Initiative
“Missing a chance to help children: Governor Changes His Tune, Vetoes Statewide Health Insurance Program.”

Mercury News Editorial. San Jose Mercury News, 11 October 2005.
So much for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's self-styled image as guardian of California's children.
When he was running in 2003, Schwarzenegger said in a debate, "I think it is important that we take care of our children. And we have to make sure that every child in California is insured. That is the most important thing.''
Friday he had the chance to make it happen, and he whiffed. He vetoed Assemblywoman Wilma Chan's AB 772, which would have created the California Healthy Kids Insurance Program and given 800,000 uninsured children access to medical care.

“Silicon Valley County finds health coverage for almost all kids.”

Phil Galewitz. Palm Beach Post, 11 September 2005.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, the message is a simple one to the low- to moderate-income parents of children without health insurance: Sign up your child for the Santa Clara Family Health Plan and your son or daughter will be covered. Nomatter what.

“Prescription for healthy kids: AB 772.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 1 September 2005.
If California voters could see the proven benefits of Santa Clara County's Healthy Kids insurance program, they would be demanding that the state pass Assemblywoman Wilma Chan's bill to implement it statewide.

“Healthy Kids Shines Brighter: Santa Clara County’s Model Program For Needy Families Still Growing.”

Mercury News Editorial. San Jose Mercury News, 10 July 2005.
The cost of health care and the number of families without health insurance grows day by day across California.
But in the midst of that gloom, Santa Clara County's Healthy Kids insurance program stands as a beacon of hope for low- to moderate-income parents and their children.

“Health plan for children expands, Funding Increased; 1,000 More to Get Low-Cost Coverage.”

Karen de Sá. San Jose Mercury News, 30 June 2005.
This week, Santa Clara County moves one step further on its march toward universal health care for children.
On Friday, the Santa Clara Family Health Plan will be insuring an additional 1,000 children now on a waiting list -- providing coverage for kids whose parents make too much to qualify for public assistance but too little to pay for health care themselves.

“State's push to insure children has its roots in Silicon Valley.”

Michael-Ray Mathews and Debbie Weatherspoon.  San Jose Mercury News, 2 May 2005.
California is trying to launch a historic new campaign to provide health insurance for all low-income children in the state. Sound familiar? It should. This bold idea started right here in Santa Clara County, initiated by People Acting in Community Together (PACT) and Working Partnerships USA.

“Reaping healthy rewards.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 4 March 2005.
Imitation being the highest form of flattery, the founders of the Children's Health Initiative should feel flattered indeed. The program they got rolling four years ago in Santa Clara County not only has helped 77,000 children here, but also is inspiring similar plans across the state that are helping additional hundreds of thousands of kids.
Give the credit to Working Partnerships, the South Bay Labor Council's policy arm, and the community activists known as PACT for this vision. It was a struggle to get everybody on board in 2000, but what a reward.

“Mayor Gonzales finds $300,000 in compassion.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 15 June 2004.
“Success story for kids’ health.”
Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 1 August 2001.

“Kids’ insurance program proves a healthy success.”

Michelle Guido.  San Jose Mercury News, 31 July 2001.

“City shouldn’t give up on kids’ health insurance.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 15 June 2000.
The idea of using tobacco settlement money to offer health insurance to all children is too good to give up on, even though a majority of the San Jose City Council rejected setting money aside for it.
The plan was conceived by Bob Brownstein of Working Partnerships USA, a labor-affiliated research group. For $6 million, he says, all 37,000 uninsured children in San Jose could have medical coverage. Some will need private health plans, but for most, it's just a matter of getting them enrolled in existing programs like Healthy Families.

“If we don’t do it, no-one will.”

Mercury News Editorial.  San Jose Mercury News, 13 June 2000.
If we act boldly today, the San Jose City Council can win an unprecedented victory for our children: access to health insurance for every child in the city. Repeatedly, studies show that children who lack insurance don't get the regular medical care they need.  They falter in school.  They develop serious problems that are difficult to treat.  If their parents are among the working poor, the hospital bills can be devastating.
Two creative local organizations -- Working Partnerships, a research institute, and People Acting in Community Together (PACT), a church-affiliated coalition -- have developed a plan to make sure that health insurance is available to 100 percent of our kids without imposing high costs on city government. No other single program can do as much to benefit our community's health.

Opinion piece
“Health Savings Accounts Hurt Workers, Families.”

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Louise Auerhahn and Sarah Muller. Modesto Bee, 28 April 2006.
Ads for new prescription drugs often promise the sky, but small-print admissions about nausea and incontinence usually bring consumers back to earth.  It’s too bad schemes to solve the nation’s health insurance crisis don’t also require full disclosure.
Organizing and Leadership Development

Support for Worker Organizing
“High Tech Firms Should Hire Worker-Friendly Contractors.”

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Bruce Raynor.  San Jose Mercury News, 29 January 2007.
South Bay biotech and high tech companies make frequent appearances in those "best companies to work for'' lists in the media. But for many people who work on these campuses, the bright public relations image conceals a darker picture of unfairness and hardship.

“Clergy group urges rental-car firms to boost wages.”

Tracey Kaplan.  San Jose Mercury News, 29 April 2005.
In an effort to cast their cause as a moral crusade, about 100 people from an interfaith group of clergy rallied Thursday night at Mineta San Jose International Airport to urge the city council to require rental-car companies to pay workers at least $10.72 an hour.

“Clergy leading call for humane immigrant laws.”

Jessie Mangaliman.  San Jose Mercury News, 2 April 2006.
In the boiling congressional debate over the future of 12 million undocumented immigrants, a new, critical player has emerged to reshape the arguments and the issue: the nation's churches and religious leaders.
Religious groups, led by the Roman Catholic Church, have joined business, labor and immigrant advocacy groups to galvanize surprisingly widespread support for protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants. Already, their efforts -- punctuated by national rallies, hunger strikes and walkouts -- have undercut an effort to criminalize illegal immigration.

“Religious leaders rally against proposed immigration bill.”

Jessie Mangaliman.  San Jose Mercury News, 14 March 2006.
Dozens of Bay Area religious leaders -- priests, nuns, rabbis, ministers, and Buddhist monks -- gathered on the steps of Mission Church at Santa Clara University this morning to denounce proposed legislation that they say threatens to turn millions of illegal immigrants into felons.
"There is a hew and a cry from the religious community on this,'' said the Rev. Carol Been, a Lutheran minister and director of the Interfaith Council on Religion, Race, Economic and Social Justice.

The Interfaith Council
“New shepherd to guide the Interfaith Council.”

Robin Evans.  San Jose Mercury News, 17 January 2005.
You'll never hear Don DeLeon saying, ``I don't do windows.''
The man who has shepherded the Santa Clara County Interfaith Council for the past three years -- and is now leaving to possibly pursue post-doctorate work -- is as happy making lunch for a 25-person retreat as setting up meetings between pastors and CEOs over labor issues.

“Moving theater: A ‘Christmas Carol’ takes to the streets.”

Robin Evans.  San Jose Mercury News, 18 December 2004.
The ghost of Christmas present will walk the streets of San Jose on Tuesday night in a ball gown bearing the images of working people -- the full bottom holding the majority, the lean middle a lesser number and the trim top a rare few.
In a modern twist on Charles Dickens' timeless story of a heartless employer who learns compassion, a coalition of faith and labor leaders is capitalizing on the traditions of Christmas and street theater to link the Christian message of caring for the poor with the issues facing Silicon Valley employers and workers.

“Labor gets message across at churches.”

David L. Beck.  San Jose Mercury News, 6 September 2004.
When Andrew Andaya was baptized Sunday at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in San Jose, the 4-month-old boy had even more going for him than the usual spiritual and temporal blessings. He had the AFL-CIO as well.
In a Labor Day weekend tradition, St. Maria Goretti joined dozens of South Bay churches, temples and synagogues in hearing a message on a social issue. This year: health care.

“A lot of pastors' most common complaint is -- people are sick, they can't afford to go to the doctor,'' said Don de Leon of the Santa Clara County Interfaith Council, which coordinates the speakers. It's not a political issue, he said, but a moral and ethical one.

“Smiles light up gift giveaway.”

Rodney Foo.  San Jose Mercury News, 23 December 2004.
A heartwarming exchange of holiday gifts took place Wednesday when thousands of underprivileged children from around the county received free toys inside the cavernous pavilion at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds.
In return, the 200 volunteers who helped stage the event got something back: endless smiles and laughter -- confirmation they had made someone's holidays a little brighter.
"This is one of the most satisfying days of my year,'' said Steve Preminger of Working Partnerships USA, a labor think tank affiliated with the South Bay Labor Council, which sponsored the event.

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