The voice of Public Advocates.
What we think, in our own words.

Five ways Gov. Jerry Brown should fix school funding law now

December 11, 2017 – The San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board wrote about making changes to California’s education funding law, the Local Control Funding Formula. The op-ed mentions [...]

Hans’ Daily Diary: Witnessing the Power of Youth & Parent Advocacy

By Hans Moore, Senior Staff Attorney On November 8, 2017, at 5:30 a.m., I woke up knowing that a very busy day lay ahead for me. What I didn’t imagine, was that over the next 12 hours I would [...]

The Air Resources Board has a Unique Opportunity to Ensure Polluter Fees Benefit the Communities Most in Need

The Air Resources Board has a Unique Opportunity to Ensure Polluter Fees Benefit the Communities Most in Need By Chelsea Tu, Staff Attorney While the California Legislature deliberates on how to [...]

More debt relief for former Corinthian College students

KPCC-FM’s Adolfo Guzman Lopez reports that CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that  about $51 million in student loan relief will be coming to former California students of the [...]

Displacement Becomes a Civil Rights Issue in San Jose

June 27, 2017 By David Zisser Fair housing and anti-displacement advocates won an important victory on April 25th in San Jose that may have repercussions at the regional, state, and even national [...]

California’s $5.2 billion transportation funding bill, in perspective

By Richard Marcantonio, Managing Attorney Public Advocates. SB 1 (Beall) won two-thirds approval and went to the Governor’s desk late Thursday night. What does this multi-billion dollar a year [...]

What Does Planning Have to do with Civil Rights and Income Inequality Part 1 – December 2013

Originally published in December of 2013 See Part 2 of this blog By Richard Marcantonio I’ve been asked more than once why, as a civil rights lawyer, I spend so much time working with community [...]

A One-Two Combo for 6 Wins and Regional Equity

A ONE-TWO COMBO FOR 6 WINS AND REGIONAL EQUITY By David Zisser Nearly two years of regional grassroots power-building and advocacy, with key victories along the way, culminated in one end-of-year [...]

Back to (Underfunded) School

By Guillermo Mayer   This fall, my wife and I joined millions of families across California in the annual tradition of taking our son to his first day of school. I wish you could have been [...]

California Legislature Delivers Good News for Underserved Communities

By Chelsea Tu The 2015-16 legislative session in Sacramento wrapped up with watershed victories for social and environmental justice. A series of bills, among them one that directs climate [...]

Developing a New State Accountability System

By  Liz Guillen and John Affeldt   Public Advocates continues to play a key leadership role with the LCFF Equity Coalition as we help shape a new public school accountability system for [...]

Facebook! Communities Aren’t Just Virtual

By  Sam Tepperman-Gelfant   Facebook’s corporate mission is to create community online, but the Menlo Park-based company is not always a good neighbor in the real world. Its environmental [...]

Keeping the Promise of LCFF: Transparency and Accountability of New School Finance Law

May 25, 2016 By Angelica Jongco California school districts are not providing the level of transparency and accountability promised in exchange for increased spending flexibility under the [...]

Volunteer Profile: Roxanne Alejandre

Date: May 25, 2016 Roxanne Alejandre joined Public Advocates a few months ago as a volunteer attorney on the Education Team. As you will read, when Roxanne isn’t volunteering her time to [...]

Get to Know Tia Nguyen: New Administrative Assistant

By: Tia Nguyen Date: May 11, 2016 Tia Nguyen recently joined Public Advocates as Administrative Assistant in our Sacramento office. A recent graduate of the University of California, Davis — Tia [...]

Public Advocates’ Oakland Campaigns Report

March 23, 2016 By David Zisser I am proud of the work that Public Advocates does throughout the Bay Area and California. But as an Oakland resident who loves my city, I’m especially proud of, and [...]

Public Advocates’ Oakland Campaigns Report

By: David Zisser Date: March 23, 2016 I am proud of the work that Public Advocates does throughout the Bay Area and California. But as an Oakland resident who loves my city, I’m especially proud [...]

Join Us on April 21 and Celebrate Local Leaders

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: March 23, 2016 If working for social justice locally inspires you, make sure to join us at our 2016 Voices of Conscience Celebration. The event will take place on [...]

Regional Displacement and Housing Forum

March 2, 2016 By David Zisser Terms like “regional equity” and “power building” took life at a Bay Area forum on displacement last week. Advocates for proactive regional strategies to prevent [...]

Regional Displacement and Housing Forum

By: David Zisser Date: March 2, 2016 Terms like “regional equity” and “power building” took life at a Bay Area forum on displacement last week. Advocates for proactive regional strategies to [...]

Governor’s Budget Proposal Sets Low Bar

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: January 26, 2016 Like rainstorms during a drought, signs that the economy is improving bring greater optimism about the future. In 2016 California is again looking at a [...]

Do California Students Have a Constitutional Right to Education of a Certain Quality?

January 25, 2016 By Angelica Jongco he California Court of Appeals in San Francisco will take up this very question when it hears oral arguments on January 27th in the twin cases Campaign for [...]

Do California Students Have a Constitutional Right to Education of a Certain Quality?

By: Angelica Jongco Date: January 25, 2016 The California Court of Appeals in San Francisco will take up this very question when it hears oral arguments on January 27th in the twin cases Campaign [...]

Giving Thanks

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: December 17, 2015 As 2015 comes to a close, we want to thank you for standing with Public Advocates and helping us make rights real for low-income families and [...]

Giving Thanks

December 17, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer As 2015 comes to a close, we want to thank you for standing with Public Advocates and helping us make rights real for low-income families and communities of [...]

Sacramento County Office of Education and Public Advocates Team Up to Train School Districts

By: Erin Paxson, Public Advocates Law Clerk Date: December 16, 2015   The training session on a rainy December 10th was a collaborative effort between the Sacramento County Office of [...]

In Exchange for Local Flexibility, Accountability Plans Will Require Work

November 24, 2015 By John Affeldt I have a thought for the school district staff and the board members and others out there characterizing the process for developing Local Control Accountability [...]

Reconnecting Across Continents

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: October 28, 2015 Pictured left to right: Angelica Jongco, Guillermo Mayer, Dimitri Holtzman, Titi Liu and John Affeldt Imagine suddenly discovering a distant relative [...]

Reconnecting Across Continents

October 28, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer Imagine suddenly discovering a distant relative that you never knew existed—a person who despite living half way across the world has a common experience or [...]

A Dream Deferred — Again?

By: Angela Perry Date: October 27, 2015 Earlier this month Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill, AB 573, which would have given desperately needed legal aid to the students who attended one of the [...]

6 School Districts and 4 Cities in 12 Days: Back to School with Public Advocates

By: Angelica Jongco Date: September 22, 2015 Back to school is a busy time for most families, and we are no different here at Public Advocates. The past month has been a tornado of activity for [...]

6 School Districts and 4 Cities in 12 Days: Back to School with Public Advocates

September 22, 2015 By Angelica Jongco  On January 21, 2015, California legislators from both houses gathered to look back on challenges and opportunities implementing the state’s landmark school [...]

16k Students Conned and What Did They Get? – Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

By: Angela Perry Date: August 27, 2015 Tiffany Johnson, a mother of two, was a first time college student at one of Corinthian Colleges’ campuses in Hayward, California. By the day Corinthian [...]

Challenging the Vestiges of Jim Crow

By: Kate Gomez-McKeon Date: August 18, 2015 Civil rights aren’t merely rights to live free of malice; they are affirmative and substantive rights, like mobility and the freedom to choose where [...]

Meet Our 2015 Summer Interns

Date: June 23, 2015 Public Advocates is thrilled to introduce this summer’s fantastic group of interns! This year we have a very fun, active group who has been contributing in all areas of law or [...]

A Hot Summer: From School Funding to Climate Investments to Affordable Housing

June 11, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer School may be out for summer recess, but our offices are bustling with activity as our legal staff moves full steam ahead with our community partners to win [...]

To the Mountaintop

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: May 21, 2015 Last month, we celebrated our 44th anniversary in the cheerful company of friends and allies. The night was filled with vivid images and ideas about the [...]

To the Mountaintop

May 21, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer Last month, we celebrated our 44th anniversary in the cheerful company of friends and allies. The night was filled with vivid images and ideas about the beauty and [...]

Coalition Strong: Winning a Coliseum City that Puts People First

By: David Zisser Date: May 12, 2015 A lot has happened since we last reported on the campaign for a Coliseum City that creates lasting benefits for low-income residents of East Oakland. A dozen [...]

7 Steps to Size Up Your School District’s Local Control Accountability Plan

April 27, 2015 By Angelica Jongco We’re heading into the home stretch of the school year. That means that school districts (and charter schools) throughout the state are releasing drafts of their [...]

Community Organizing and Legal Advocacy in Action: My Visits to San Jose and Richmond

By: Laura MacInnis, Law Clerk, Education Equity Team Date: March 17, 2015 Four weeks ago, I started volunteering at Public Advocates, curious and eager to explore how this nonprofit law firm [...]

Strategic Choices Ahead

February 17, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer Over the next six to eight months, we intend to answer some pretty big questions about Public Advocates’ future: How will we evolve to better combat poverty [...]

Strategic Choices Ahead

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: February 17, 2015 Over the next six to eight months, we intend to answer some pretty big questions about Public Advocates’ future: How will we evolve to better combat [...]

Public Advocates to State Legislators: Don’t Flex Equity in School Funding

February 16, 2015 By Angelica Jongco On January 21, 2015, California legislators from both houses gathered to look back on challenges and opportunities implementing the state’s landmark school [...]

Paying for the Transportation Low-Income Families – and All Californians – Need

February 16, 2015 By Richard Marcantoni0 When the 6 Wins Network persuaded the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to study our “Equity, Environment and Jobs” scenario as an alternative to [...]

Paying for the Transportation Low-Income Families – and all Californians – Need

By: Richard A. Marcantonio Date: February 16, 2015 When the 6 Wins Network persuaded the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to study our “Equity, Environment and Jobs” scenario as an [...]

Plan Bay Area, Round 2

January 22, 2015 By Richard Marcantonio and David Zisser It’s time to develop the next iteration of Plan Bay Area. Regional planning is an important arena for long-range thinking, planning and [...]

Plan Bay Area, Round 2

By: David Zisser, Richard A. Marcantonio Date: January 22, 2015 It’s time to develop the next iteration of Plan Bay Area. Regional planning is an important arena for long-range thinking, planning [...]

Governor Brown’s Budget Misfires

January 21, 2015 By Guillermo Mayer California has turned a corner. Our state’s economy has emerged from years of back-to-back budget deficits and steep spending cuts. Decades of organizing [...]

Governor Brown’s Budget Misfires

By: Guillermo Mayer Date: January 21, 2015 California has turned a corner. Our state’s economy has emerged from years of back-to-back budget deficits and steep spending cuts. Decades of [...]

Students, Parents & Advocates Win Meaningful Changes to Permanent School Funding Rules

December 17, 2014 By Angelica Jongco On November 14, 2014 the State Board of Education unanimously approved regulations that codify student and parent voice and provide for greater accountability [...]

Regional Oversight of County Transportation Planning: Why it Matters and How We Won

November 24, 2014 By Richard Marcantonio Among its other important roles, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is charged with overseeing the local transportation agencies within its [...]

Coliseum City: (Not) Planning for People

October 21, 2014 By David Zisser As part of its plans to keep the city’s three sports teams, the City of Oakland has drafted a Specific Plan that aims to create almost 8 million square feet of [...]

The Suburban Squeeze: Protecting Low-Income in High-Opportunity Areas from Displacement

September 17, 2014 By Sam Tepperman-Gelfant Skyrocketing rents fueled by a seemingly unquenchable demand for housing from highly-paid workers and real estate “investors” are threatening [...]

SB 1247: Improving State Oversight of For-Profit Higher Education Businesses

September 2, 2014 By Rigel Massaro For-profit education businesses have been in the news a lot recently, and it’s not good news. Education giant Corinthian Colleges now faces bankruptcy for [...]

Education Round-up

March 18, 2014 By Rigel Massaro Our Education Team has seen developments in a number of areas recently. Here’s a quick update. LCFF Regulations Public Advocates submitted comments on proposes [...]

The Unfulfilled Promise of the Environmental Justice Executive Order

February 11, 2014 By Richard Marcantonio Twenty years after President Clinton signed Executive Order 12898, many environmental justice advocates are dissatisfied. The Clinton Executive Order [...]

What’s Planning Got to Do With Civil Rights and Income Inequality (Pt. 2)

January 17, 2014 By Richard Marcantonio In my last blog, I talked about planning as an important form of law-making. Here, I turn to the question of why it’s also an important frontier in today’s [...]

What’s Planning Got to Do With Civil Rights and Income Inequality? (Pt. 1)

December 16, 2013 By Richard Marcantonio I’ve been asked more than once why, as a civil rights lawyer, I spend so much time working with community groups to affect the outcome and implementation [...]

A Fair Share?

November 12, 2013 By Richard Marcantonio  Civil rights and environmental justice laws ensure that low-income communities and minority populations share fairly in the benefits of public policy and [...]

A Tale of Two Bay Areas

October 28, 2013 By Sam Tepperman-Gelfant Skyrocketing rents in core Bay Area neighborhoods are once again forcing long-time residents from their homes. This displacement not only uproots [...]

Watchdogging the Watchdog

August 9, 2013 By Sam Tepperman-Gelfant This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) — a self-appointed “watchdog organization that litigates for limited government” — sued to block Plan Bay [...]

LCFF: An Historic Day!

June 14, 2013 By John Affeldt The Legislature has passed the budget and the trailer bill encompassing the LCFF funding reform proposal. It only awaits the governor’s inevitable signature to [...]

200 Students and Parents Rally in Sacramento: Our Futures Can’t Wait, Reform School Finance Now!

May 6, 2012 By Liz Guillen Every year since 2003, members of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE), including Public Advocates, have rallied in Sacramento for our Education “Day of Action.” [...]

Safeguarding Against the Displacement of Low Income Communities

December 7, 2011 By Sam Tepperman-Gelfant Few question that public transit and infrastructure investments can bring a range of benefits to communities. Such investments increase access to jobs, [...]

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