The California Report Magazine: Chasing the Original California Dream

29 min

How California Went From Anti-Illegal Immigration to 'Sanctuary State'

This week, California put itself on the map again as a center of resistance to the Trump Administration's immigration policies. Protesters came out in force when the President visited Los Angeles and San Diego, where he inspected prototypes of his proposed border wall. But this kind of aggressive stance from California— its role as a sanctuary state, its laws to protect undocumented immigrants — it’s relatively new. In fact, California has a long history of trying to restrict immigration, even more aggressively than the federal government, dating back to before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. California was even waging its own fight against immigrants as recently as the 1990s. Voters backed Proposition 187, which would have denied undocumented immigrants most public services. The courts struck it down, but the fight over that proposition transformed the state’s politics, and some people's identities as Californians. We're launching a new series about the "California Dream" and what that dream means to people. It's part of a collaboration with public media organizations across the state. Today, KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero has the story of how a protest against Proposition 187 changed lives in a community near San Jose.

Paradise Isn't Lost, It's In Butte County

The Gold Rush shaped a lot of California towns, including the place that claims to be home to the largest gold nugget ever found. And that takes us to the next town in our series about California places with unusual or surprising names called “A Place Called What?!” A lot of us in the Golden State are pretty sold on the good qualities of the places where we live. But not too many can make the claim that they live in Paradise. Mark Thorpe is one of the 26,000 people who live in Paradise, California. The town is in Butte County, about 10 miles east of Chico, and he tells us how it got its name.

A Modern-Day Gold Miner

Some of the first people coming to California to chase a dream came here looking for gold. Back in 1848, a sawmill worker first found some precious nuggets near Sacramento. Then 300,000 prospectors poured into California, hell-bent on striking it rich. The Gold Rush helped transform the state into an economic powerhouse, and established its reputation as a place where fortunes could be made overnight. Of course, these days most people are chasing other dreams, other riches. But as KQED's Matthew Green tells us, there’s a rare breed of Californian still out there looking for gold.

Birdsong Clues to Climate Change

This coming week marks the official start of Spring — at least according to the calendar. Trouble is, if you’re a migrating bird, you don’t have a calendar. And California’s changing climate is jumbling up the timetable for migration and breeding in California. That can spell real trouble for some species. KQED Science Editor Craig Miller introduces us to a scientist who is measuring just how much trouble — by listening.

'The Poetry of Jazz' A Union of Music and Verse

An album out this week pairs the poetry of former US poet Laureate Philip Levine with the music of saxophonist and composer Benjamin Boone. The two met when they were teaching at Fresno State, and although Levine died three years ago, Boone kept working on the album called “The Poetry of Jazz.” Levine is the godfather of Fresno's thriving poetry scene and his poems speak to the struggles of working people — people trying to just make ends meet.

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