Berkeley in the News

Berkeley in the News is a daily selection of articles and commentaries in the news media that mention UC Berkeley. The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

1. To Reduce Racial Inequality, Raise The Minimum Wage
The New York Times (*requires registration)

Two UC Berkeley economists, Ellora Derenoncourt and Claire Montialoux discuss a flurry of promises to combat systemic racism after a summer of protests over the killing of George Floyd, and argue that recent American history shows that raising and expanding the minimum wage could reduce the persistent earnings divide between white workers and Black, Hispanic and Native American workers. Though legislation to raise the wage floor would be a universal program in name and application, in practice it would be a remarkably effective tool for racial justice.
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2. Gov. Gavin Newsom Alleges Racial Bias in Opposing a Death Penalty Case
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

Governor Newsom has thrown his support behind the appeal of a man on death row convicted of murder, arguing in an amicus brief that "racial discrimination infects the administration of California's death penalty." The governor's brief to the state Supreme Court was filed by law professor Elisabeth Semel of the UC Berkeley School of Law Death Penalty Clinic and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley School of Law. "Race is such a pernicious influence in the way the death penalty is administered in California," Semel said Monday. "We need certain safeguards that we know help reduce the influence of racial discrimination and ... determining verdicts beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimously demonstrably reduce the influence of racial discrimination." Another story on this topic appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.
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3. Poll: California's Prop. 16 in Deep Trouble, Prop. 22 and Prop. 15 in Tight Races
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

One week before Election Day, a poll released by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies shows two ballot measures in tight races, and another two appear likely to fail. The poll found that Proposition 15 (split-roll property taxes) and Proposition 22 (app-based driver classifications) are currently in highly competitive races, with the "yes" side leading narrowly for both. The poll finds that Proposition 16, which would allow race, gender and ethnicity to factor into public employment, education and contracting decisions, is underwater by 10 percentage points and seemingly unlikely to pass. The rent control measure Proposition 21, which would allow local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago, is also 10 points underwater among survey respondents.
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4. Biden Headed for Historic Margin in California, Poll Shows
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

With one week to go before the 2020 campaign ends, California remains on track to hand former Vice President Joe Biden a victory by the largest margin for a Democratic presidential candidate in state history, the final UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll indicates.
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5. Opinion: We Now Have a Far-Right Supreme Court. Democrats Can't Abandon the Battle
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

With the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the U.S. Supreme Court is now deeply conservative. UC Berkeley School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky writes about the possibility of expanding the Supreme Court, and imposing term limits.
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6. Will You Get a Coronavirus Vaccine? Many Don't Trust It, and Low Vaccination Levels Could Hinder Pandemic Recovery
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

In a recent poll, 58% of Americans say they would get a vaccine as soon as one is available, down from 69% in August. "I remain hopeful that once appropriate committees and experts have reviewed things, and are sure of the safety of the product, that we can do much better than (50% of people getting vaccinated), that many people will be reassured," said Dr. Art Reingold, a professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley and chair of the state vaccine review group. "But to the extent that people don't accept vaccination, then clearly we'll have a harder time assuring the population in general is immune to this virus, and we'll be relying on masks and social distancing and other measures even longer."
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7. 'Stealth' Volcanos Feed Atmosphere on Magma-Filled Jupiter Moon
Forbes (*requires registration)

The surface of Jupiter's moon Io has active volcanos that are spewing hot sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a new study. "As soon as Io gets into sunlight, the temperature increases, and you get all this [sulfur dioxide] ice subliming into gas, and you reform the atmosphere in about 10 minutes' time, faster than what models had predicted," said astronomer and lead author Imke de Pater, at the University of California, Berkeley. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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8. If You Soak the Rich, Will They Leave?
The Atlantic (*requires registration)

Cities and states across the country are facing a conundrum: They are desperate for cash because of the ravages of the COVID-19 recession. Rich people are pretty much the only ones who have any, because of both the recession and the yawning inequality that long predated it. But if cities and states raise taxes on the 1 percent, they worry that rich families might simply leave. Given that the federal government can borrow limitlessly, for cheap, and given states' and cities' desperate need to funnel more money into constituent services, a bailout is a great idea.  "States have balanced-budget requirements, so absent federal aid, they need extra taxes for short-run revenue purposes," said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at UC Berkeley. The federal government "has no short-run revenue need in the current low-rate environment," as Uncle Sam functionally borrows cash for free.
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9. Pressure Builds for U.S. Police to Change Military Mindset
The Christian Science Monitor

The current paramilitary mindset of American policing has led to unnecessary trauma and death. Now the public and politicians want to change that. Military equipment and tactics can be used appropriately, such as responding to active shooter and hostage situations, but they have increasingly been wielded in more proactive circumstances like drug raids and mental health crises. "Police violence is associated with mental health concerns that goes beyond the individual. [It] is experienced at the community level," says Denise Herd, an associate professor of behavioral sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, who is researching the public health effects of the criminal justice system.
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