Conference to Examine Homeless, Crime, and Public Policy Feb. 9

February events at UCR School of Public Policy address California tax system, economic security, Latino health, and solar energy

homelessness collage

The School of Public Policy will present a conference on homelessness, crime, and public policy on Feb. 9.

RIVERSIDE, California – Researchers and policymakers will examine homelessness, crime, and public policy in a conference on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the University of California, Riverside.

The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Alumni & Visitors Center, 3701 Canyon Crest Drive. It is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The conference is co-sponsored by the School of Public Policy’s Robert Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies and the Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty.

“While homelessness is rampant throughout much of the United States, it is especially visible in the greater Los Angeles and Riverside areas, causing outcries from politicians, advocacy groups, and citizens,” said Sharon S. Oselin, associate professor of sociology and associate director of the Presley Center. As a result, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to encourage state lawmakers to seek a state of emergency to secure additional funding, a request ultimately denied by Gov. Jerry Brown, she said.

Spurred by these public debates on the homeless, the conference will cover empirical research on homelessness and a review of related laws and policies. “Specifically, panelists will draw on their own research to shed light on how the homeless navigate the law, the extent to which their survival and adaptive strategies involve criminal action, their entanglements with the criminal justice system, and the available resources intended to help them secure housing and leave the streets,” Oselin said. “These findings will provide the backdrop for further analyses of policy and legal efficacy.”

Discussions will be beneficial to academics, practitioners, government agencies, and concerned citizens, she added. “We hope this symposium will serve to foster greater discussion among attendees as well as synergistic connections between various groups invested in mitigating this pressing social problem to improve the lives of the homeless,” she said.

Expert scholars who will speak include: Nicole Esparza, University of Southern California; Teresa Gowan, University of Minnesota; David Harding, University of California, Berkeley; Thomas J. Main, City University of New York; David Snow, University of California, Irvine; and Forrest Stuart, University of Chicago.

Additional events presented by the School of Public Policy in February are listed below. All are open to the public and most are free.

Feb. 2, “California’s Tax System: Time to Rebalance the Portfolio?” – Mark Ibele, staff director of the California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, will examine California’s state and local tax system, describe the impacts of economic changes on that system, and discuss the pros and cons of various options to reform the state’s taxes. The event will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Interdisciplinary South 1109. Ibele has held positions over the last two decades with the California Legislature, Legislative Analyst’s Office, and state tax agencies, specializing in tax policy, public finance and local government.  He said the framework of California’s state and local tax system was largely established eight decades ago. “Since that time, the state’s dynamic economy has undergone profound and fundamental changes,” he said. “The impacts of these changes on the state’s revenue system have been significant, but have not generated corresponding changes in tax policy. The result has been a revenue system that may not reflect the underlying economy and, in addition, presents significant budgetary challenges for lawmakers.” Reservations are requested and may be made online.

Feb. 15, “We Have to Actually Fix Things!” – Joseph N. Sanberg, co-founder and chair of the board for online bank, will discuss opportunities to solve hard problems and heal suffering in our communities. “I’m tired of looking around and seeing the same problems I saw when I was a kid – except they are worse,” Sanberg said. “It’s time we get serious about harnessing every tool – from business-building to nonprofits to the academy to politics – in the pursuit of creating economic security for everyone and empowering everyone to live fully human.” The event will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Interdisciplinary South 1113. Reservations may be made online. In addition to co-founding, Sanberg is a founding investor of Blue Apron, a meal-kit delivery service, and Bright Funds, provider of software that supports charitable giving.  In 2015, Sanberg advocated that California launch an Earned Income Tax Credit, which brings over $1 billion of state and federal money to the lowest-income families.  He later launched CalEITC4Me to help ensure that all Californians get their Earned Income Tax Credit.  He also serves on the national board of the Sierra Club Foundation and the board of advisors of UCR’s School of Public Policy.

Feb. 27, “Metrics for Latino Wellness Management in an Increasingly Racially Ambiguous Population” – David E. Hayes-Bautista, distinguished professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will provide a conceptual framework for how to think about and measure health disparities in Latino populations. This lecture will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in HUB 355. Reservations may be made online. The use of racial/ethnic categories to track health disparities has a very limited future in California, Hayes-Bautista said. While it is estimated that less than 3 percent of the U.S. population is racially ambiguous, in California nearly 41 percent of the approximately 500,000 babies born in 2010 is so racially ambiguous as to threaten the internal validity of measures used to predict future health disparities based on race/ethnicity. Hayes-Bautista’s research focuses on linkages between culture, behavior, and health outcomes and has expanded to include the emergence of Latino population and society in California during the Spanish colonial, Mexican Republic and U.S. statehood periods. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Healthy Communities, UCR School of Medicine, UCR School of Public Policy, and Inland Empire Healthcare Plan

Feb. 23, “Solar Energy Directions for Inland Southern California: Where is it going?” – This third annual conference is designed for regional, county and city leaders, planners, council members, businesses, utilities, and the general public to learn about the state of solar energy. Among the topics to be discussed are the latest technology, public policy/regulations, economics, and associated environmental/sustainability issues. Attendees will learn about the challenges and opportunities for incorporating solar energy in their communities, including how the marketplace works, local policies, and initiatives already in place. The all-day conference begins at 8 a.m. at Bourns Technology Center, 1200 Columbia Ave., Riverside. Registration is required and may be made online. The cost is $85 for non-students; $40 for non-UCR students; and $25 for UCR students. This event is hosted by the UCR School of Public Policy’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, UCR’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research & Technology, and the Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy. Sponsors include Riverside Public Utilities, Western Riverside Council of Governments, City of Corona, and First Solar.

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