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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: March 13, 2014

Professor Brian Gray, Research Fellow Brian Pascal, Noah Frigault '13, 2L Joy Siu, 2L Emily Goldberg.
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Brian Gray

Professor Brian Gray co-authored a report showing how critical funding shortage are damaging the state’s already fragile water system.

Brian GrayReleased by the Public Policy Institute of California, the report details how California faces critical funding gaps in five key areas of water management. These areas include safe drinking water in small, disadvantaged communities; flood protection; management of storm water and other polluted runoff; aquatic ecosystem management; and integrated water management.

The report identifies the overall funding gap in these five areas at $2 billion to $3 billion annually. Filling this gap would require a spending increase of 7–10 percent—or $150 to $230 per household—for a water system with annual spending of more than $30 billion.

Experts identified how best to spend general obligation bonds, and what new state fees and taxes might help alleviate the water crisis.

"California will need to better align its funding laws with the goals for modern water management to address funding gaps and prevent new ones from forming,” Gray said.

The report was picked up by several outlets, including KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. Read more here. Read the full report here.

Brian Pascal

What’s in our nation’s telephone metadata? Plenty, if a new study sampling is any indication.

Researchers culled information from an app, called MetaPhone, on Android phones. Study participants knew their calls were being tracked.

Brian PascalThe software turned up call information that has civil libertarians and privacy activists in a tizzy. Data showed calls from specific phone numbers to Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, NARAL Pro-Choice, labor unions, divorce lawyers, sexually transmitted disease clinics, strip clubs, and more.

Research Fellow Brian Pascal, of UC Hastings’ Institute for Innovation Law, told Ars Technica that it’s surprising that even those who knew they were being monitored appeared to not “skew calling habits towards the bland.”

“For example, 2 percent of participants called ‘adult establishments,’ knowing that their calling metadata was being recorded. It’s not difficult to imagine that some users, knowing that MetaPhone gathers this information, might change their calling habits. Without a control group, though, it’s impossible to know just how much MetaPhone (or surveillance in general) changes behavior. Admittedly, MetaPhone focuses more on illustrating just how powerful metadata can be, rather than on the impact of surveillance on personal choice, but it’s an interesting implication nonetheless.”

Read the full story here.

Noah Frigault

Noah Frigault ’13 authored an op-ed in the Daily Journal about new city legislation, the Fair Chance Act, aimed to prevent discrimination based on Noah Frigaultconviction history in both private employment and affordable housing.

Frigault worked on the legislation with city leaders as part of his work as a Bridge Fellow with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

“The growing number of those with arrest and conviction records, mostly for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, means more and more qualified individuals are shut out of work, housing and public benefits,” Frigault wrote. Yet, “it is widely accepted that steady employment and stable housing are vital factors in determining whether a person with a criminal record will reoffend.”

Read the full op-ed here (subscription required). Read more about the legislation here.

Joy Siu, Emily Goldberg

2L Joy Siu and 2L Emily Goldberg have founded Women of UC Hastings. The group hosted its first speed networking event with Ms. JD March 6.

"As a 1L, it can be challenging to envision how your strengths and interests in law school will best translate to a legal career,” said Lesley Hamilton, who attended the event. “Opportunities like the Women of UC Hastings event to candidly engage with inspiring legal professionals has been instrumental in honing my career goals while cultivating a network of support among women in the legal community."

Read more about the event here.

Read more Thinkers & Doers here.

--March 13, 2014

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