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Statewide Region Explainer Articles


Image caption: Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, California.
Nuclear Power in California: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

California may soon shut down its last nuclear power plant, but Gov. Gavin Newsom who once championed the closure has had a change of heart. Federal funds may now keep the plant running.


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Governor, legislators won’t budge in high-speed rail dispute

Lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom have different opinions on what the next steps for California’s high-speed rail project should be.


Image caption: The scene of the K Street shooting in downtown Sacramento, in which six people were killed.
Covering the Sacramento Mass Gang Shooting

Following the K-Street shooting, a freelance journalist's thoughts about reporting on the deadliest single episode of gun violence in Sacramento history.


Image caption: Elon Musk says he wants to buy Twitter to protect ‘free speech.’
Billionaires Buy the Media: Elon Musk is Only the Latest

Elon Musk may be the latest, but billionaires have been buying media outlets for decades. What does that mean for the control of news and information at a time when a free press is more important than ever?


Image caption: Seemingly minor code violations can cost struggling homeowners thousands.
Code Violations and ‘Excessive Fines’: Californians Battle Cities

Code violations, even after they're fixed, can cost struggling homeowners their homes. Some have seen fees and fines into the six figures even after repairs. Here are some of the horror stories. But what can be done about it?


Image caption: With drought getting worse, California needs to increase water use efficiency.
How California Can Increase Water Savings By 30 Percent

California can increase water savings in urban and suburban areas by 30 to 48 percent using nothing but existing technology, a new report from the Pacific Institute says.


Image caption: Gov. Newsom’s new SMARTER plan anticipates that COVID will move from pandemic to endemic.
California’s New ‘Endemic’ COVID Plan

California has a new plan for dealing with COVID as the disease becomes endemic. But does that mean the pandemic is over? Here’s what Gov. Newsom is proposing.


Image caption: A ban on assault weapons is just one of 107 California gun control laws.
California Gun Control Laws and Mass Shootings

California has more gun laws than any other state. Here's how it took a series of mass shootings to make the state the toughest in the country on guns.


Image caption: Black Panthers at the California Capitol in 1967, an incident that sparked the gun control movement.
California Gun Control, Reagan, and the Black Panthers

The modern gun control movement started in California. Surprisingly, it was the work of Ronald Regan and the Black Panther Party. Here’s what happened.


Image caption: State Sen. Steve Glazer speaks at a hearing of the Governmental Organization Committee on March 29.
Calling Emergency to Save Journalism

California has lost 25 percent of its newspapers and seen a circulation plummet over the past 15 years. A bill in the State Legislature, SB 911, could help.


Image caption: The California mental health crisis is tied to both homelessness and rising crime.
California’s Mental Health Crisis: How We Got Here

How the California mental health crisis emerged out of the state’s history of deinstitutionalization and laws designed to protect the mentally ill, as well as the communities around them.


Image caption: Momentum may be building for California to pay reparations for slavery.
California’s Reparations Task Force: What Is It?

Should California pay reparations to descendants of enslaved African-American people? A state task force studying the topic is ready to issue its first report in June.


Image caption: César Chávez in 1979, originally photographed for U.S. News & World Report.
What’s the Best Way to Celebrate César Chávez Day?

Californians have the perfect opportunity to remember César Chávez by making March 31 a day of service.


Image caption: The Reaper drone is manufactured by a major California defense contracting firm.
California Defense Contracting: The Rise and Decline

The defense industry built modern California. Though military dollars have declined, the military-industrial complex still plays a major role in shaping the state. Here’s how.


Image caption: After nearly four decades, California has still failed to complete a single high speed rail line.
Will High Speed Rail Ever Happen in California?

The effort to bring high speed rail to California has been an epic tale of ambition and failure—a story of endless delays and bloated cost overruns. Where does it stand now, and will the state ever see its own bullet …


Image caption: California transportation history runs from railroads to today’s car culture.
California’s History of Transportation: From Railroads to Highways

The history of transportation in California has shaped the state, from the railroads to today’s highways, making the need for planning increasingly urgent. Here’s how it all happened, and where we stand today.


Image caption: Businesses in California must adapt to a slate of new laws in 2022.
5 New California Laws That Change How Business Does Business

California put hundreds of new laws into effect for 2022. Here are 5 that will change how business operates in the state.


Image caption: Legally betting on football and other sports is possible thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.
How California Became the ‘Holy Grail’ for the Sports Betting Industry

How a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling created a national, legal sports gambling industry which now sees California as its own 'Holy Grail.'


Image caption: Betting on sporting events such as the Super Bowl may soon be legal in California.
California’s Four Sports Betting Initiatives

In 2022, California voters may see as many as four ballot initiatives to make betting on sporting events legal. Here’s how they would change sports gambling, and who's behind each separate measure.


Image caption: Over two weekends last October, residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville  participated in demonstration rides aboard an electric streetcar on rails.
The ‘Rail Trail’ Movement, Explained

Thousands of miles of railroad track, including some in Santa Cruz County, now sit idle. The fate of those largely abandoned tracks has become a burning controversy.


EXPLAINER

Long form articles which explain how something works, or provide context or background information about a current issue or topic.