Gary Cohn

The Rise of Corporate Democrats in California

Marin County is one of California’s most liberal regions and, with its iconic redwoods and stunning coastline, it is also a power center for environmental activism. And so, when a bill to give the state Coastal Commission authority to levy fines against shoreline despoilers came for a vote in the state Assembly in 2013, it was taken for granted that Marin’s new Assemblyman, Marc Levine, would vote for passage. That didn’t happen. Instead, the San Rafael Democrat sat out the single most important vote for his constituents that year — which helped doom the measure.

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Obama Is About to Get a Lot More Cozy with the Corporate Education Racket

The nomination of Californian Ted Mitchell to the number two position at the U.S. Department of Education is the latest indication that proponents of school privatization are continuing to gain influence over the Obama administration’s education policy.

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A Great Divide: The Election Fight for California's Schools

This article originally appeared at Capital and Main and is reprinted here with their permission.

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School Privatization Battle Heats Up in California: David Welch is the Man Behind Vergara v. California

This article originally appeared at Capital and Main, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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Careless: How Governor Brown Is Harming California's Seniors and Disabled - and the People Who Care for Them

This article originally appeared on Capital and Main, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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'Unfathomable': Why Is One Commission Trying to Close California's Largest Public College?

This article originally appeared on Capital and Main, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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DOA: Behind the Chamber of Commerce's 'Job Killers' List

The California Chamber of Commerce represents more than 13,000 businesses, from companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney, to local companies with small numbers of employees. From its K Street headquarters in Sacramento, the “Cal Chamber,” as it’s colloquially known, analyzes some 3,000 pieces of legislation every year. In the past 10 years, 341 of 353—nearly 97 percent—of the bills identified by the California Chamber of Commerce failed to become law. The vast majority of these were never passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. Instead, they were killed in committee or voted down by the Legislature or amended to take out provisions opposed by the chamber.

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"I Never Thought I'd Be Working In My 70s": Three Distressing Retirement Stories

It’s official: America has entered a retirement crisis. Or, as Forbes understatedly put it, “the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world.”

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Pension Cutters: Bipartisan Slogans, Right-Wing Money

Last week San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed delivered his usual speech about the benefits of slashing the retirement benefits of his city’s public employees – and why he is now pushing for a statewide ballot measure that could dramatically change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians. Reed’s initiative – which he characterizes as a bipartisan effort and which hasn’t yet qualified for the 2014 ballot — would allow the state and local governments to reduce retirement benefits for current employees for the years of work they perform after the measure’s changes go into effect. What was not usual about Reed’s speech was its setting: The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, 3,000 miles from California.

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Secret Ballot Initiative Would Slash Retirement Benefits for Public Employees

In a move to slash the retirement benefits of public employees in California, a group of mostly conservative policy advocates has been working behind the scenes on a possible 2014 ballot initiative. A copy of the still-secret draft initiative, which could dramatically impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians and send a signal nationwide, has been obtained by Frying Pan News. (See the document’s text following this article or click here.)

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A Hedge-Fund Billionare From Texas is Waging War On California Pensions

Benjamin Gamboa doesn’t know John Arnold, but they are linked by a shared concern over the fate of public-employee pensions in California.

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What If You Couldn't Understand Your Doctor? A New "Interpreter Bill" Would Save Lives Lost In Translation

Maria Guevara had been trying to get pregnant for three years when she saw a doctor at Los Angeles County General hospital in 2008. She was understandably thrilled, then, to learn she was indeed three months pregnant at the time of her visit. As Guevara later recalled, when the doctor asked her in English if she wanted to keep the baby, “without hesitation I replied ‘yes’ to his question. Before leaving the hospital, the doctor prescribed me medication that I thought was prenatal care. That lack of communication between the doctor and me has changed my life forever.”

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California Court Case Could Cripple ALL Public Employee Unions

Last November unions won a resounding victory when voters defeated Proposition 32, a ballot measure that would have crippled labor’s political influence in California, partly by barring public-employee unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. The initiative, which enjoyed a huge lead in early opinion polls, was heavily funded by wealthy conservatives and far-right groups.

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How Charter Schools "Co-Locate" with Public Schools and Tear Them Apart

The following was originally published in Frying Pan News

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Tax Credits for Strip Clubs? How Enterprise Zones Are Undermining California's Economy

John Thomas and Hans Burkhardt have a lot in common. For more than 17 years each man had a good paying union job, with health and pension benefits, near San Francisco Bay. Thomas worked as a warehouseman for VWR International, a medical supply company with a warehouse in Brisbane, south of Candlestick Park. Burkhardt also worked as a warehouseman, for BlueLinx, a building products company with a facility across the bay in Newark.

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Public Schools, Billionaire Agendas: The Threat of the 'Parent Revolution' Campaign

The following is a "California Exposé," a new column by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Gary Cohn that will appear regularly on Frying Pan News.

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