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California Dream

Traffic sign of CA interstate 1 highway.

You became a Californian because someone in your family believed in a dream. A strong public education. The promise of a job. The weather. (Ahhh, the weather.) In its long history, the California Dream has meant different things to different people. Today, the state’s identity is in marked contrast to the rest of the country. The dream may still be alive, but it’s challenged at every corner.

What does it mean today?

KPBS and mission-driven media organizations around the state will explore the California Dream starting this year. Reporters and producers will tell the personal stories and discuss the ideas that make up the history, future and current state of the California Dream.

Special Series

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What Can Tenants Do When Rent Jumps?

Jan. 16
By Amita Sharma

It depends on where you live, but in many parts of California, there’s not a lot of recourse for renters who are priced out.

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Could Anti-Price Gouging Laws Slow Rising Rents?

Jan. 14
By Amita Sharma

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

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Roundtable: San Diego Labor Leadership Change

Dec. 21, 2018
By Kris Vera-Phillips, Mark Sauer

San Diego sees big changes within the labor movement, authorities respond to Del Mar's crumbling bluffs and losing out on the California Dream.

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The Risks Of Energy Efficient Loans

Nov. 28, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Lenders are selling seniors on the idea of home renovation work; sometimes homeowners don’t realize they’ve taken on debt until it’s too late.

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Pricey Real Estate Prompts Scammers To Target Senior Homeowners

Nov. 27, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Amid California’s record-shattering housing prices, the state’s senior homeowners are sitting on a gold mine. That’s made them marks for con artists.

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What Questions Do You Have About How California Cities Are Addressing Homelessness?

Nov. 16, 2018
California Dream

Join us Friday, Nov. 16, for a wide-ranging conversation with the mayors of four of California's largest cities about our crisis in homelessness and housing. Hear what they're doing at a local level and what else they think California can do to help those struggling to get by.

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2018 Midterm Election Results: Join In On A Statewide Discussion

Nov. 7, 2018
By KPBS News

In collaboration with the California Dream project, join us for a live, statewide call-in radio show on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon. We’ll get reaction to the 2018 midterm election results from political reporters around the state and from listeners like you.

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The New Normal In California’s Direct Democracy Process: Ballot Measures As Leverage

Nov. 5, 2018
Ben Adler/Capital Public Radio

A 2014 state law opened up California’s direct democracy process to negotiations with the governor and Legislature. In doing so, it created a powerful new tool for interest groups.

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How California Initiatives Went From “Power To The People” To A Big Money Game

Nov. 2, 2018
Meghan McCarty Carino/KPCC

The story behind the California Lottery tells us a lot about the role of special interests in our direct democracy process.

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A Proposition On November’s Ballot Renews The Prop. 13 Debate

Nov. 1, 2018
Scott Shafer/KQED

According to a 2016 analysis from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Prop. 13 has led to vastly different property tax assessments within counties, or even blocks, depending on how long the home has been owned.

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Who To Thank (Or Blame) For California’s Version Of Direct Democracy

Nov. 1, 2018
Meghan McCarty Carino/ KPCC

How California came to have one of the most powerful, and least flexible initiative processes in the world.

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Proposition 13: Should Businesses Pay More?

Oct. 31, 2018
David Wagner/KPCC

In 2020, California voters could raise property tax bills for their business-owning neighbors.

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Too Few Homes: Is Prop. 13 To Blame For The State’s Housing Shortage?

Oct. 30, 2018
Matt Levin/CALmatters

California, and particularly the Bay Area, hasn’t built enough housing to keep up with demand. By one estimate from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the state needs to build 1.8 million units over the next seven years just to keep pace with population growth. Right now, California isn’t close to building that quickly.

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Proposition 13: Public Schools, Public Trust

Oct. 29, 2018
Vanessa Rancaño/KQED

When Sarah and Charles Woodson moved into their middle-class North Oakland neighborhood, their son was just a baby, but their new neighbors already had questions about his education.

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California Dream Takes Center Stage In Governor’s Race

Oct. 29, 2018
By Amita Sharma

The state’s affordability crisis has prompted vows from gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox to reignite the California Dream.

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