The week ahead: And the band(s) played on

150 150 Chris Nelson

The Lede

The first weekend of the long-running Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival came to a close last night with a rousing performance from Los Angeles rap-duo Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Their set on the gargantuan main stage included a holographic recreation of rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed on the Las Vegas strip after a Mike Tyson fight in 1996, and this time around served as a testament to the raw production value behind this event.

If you’re in the Indio area and not hungover, you’re probably the owner of a local business cashing in on the estimated 90,000 concert-goers (along with many more attending periphery parties) who descended on the region. The festival, which began humbly in 1999 as a one day affair, has since expanded to two days, and then three days and now for 2012, to two three-day weekends of the same lineup.

It’s no secret that the festival offers a massive boost to the local-area economy in Indio, acting as a sort of vitamin tonic for an agriculture-based region that is typically anemic for the rest of the year.

Not every region in California is lucky enough to have a guaranteed and ever-expanding annual injection of revenue waiting in the wings, however.

The California Economic Summit, with the help of California Forward, has just wrapped 14 regional forums held all across the state which were meant to delve into the economic issues specific to each area. What have we learned? Although there are reasons to be optimistic, joblessness still remains high and each region faces its own unique set of challenges that can’t be remedied with one wave of a magic wand in Sacramento.

For full regional breakdowns, you can head over to the Summit’s blog. You can also watch some of our most recent video content, including the below look at why the upcoming statewide forum in Santa Clara (the first of its kind) is so critical to our success as a state:

The music may have stopped in Indio, but there is still much work to be done across California.

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As Dr. Dre and Snoog Dogg pointed out in their Coachella performance, they first linked up in Long Beach 20 years ago. It’s no coincidence that we are 13 days away from marking another 20th anniversary: that of the L.A. Riots.

Hip-Hop and its corresponding culture are a linchpins of the American musical lexicon, but it ascended to that plateau so quickly as an outlet for the angst experienced by much the African-American community that lived in poor areas and felt repressed by society. That angst boiled over one weekend 20 years ago after four police officers were, in the eyes of many, let off the hook for the beating of Rodney King famously captured on video tape.

Twenty years later, we have an African-American president and many are quick to label this a “post-race society,” but if the recent controversy surroudning the Trayvon Martin shooting is any indication, the potential for fresh wounds and division is still very much a reality.

California Forward will be joining many other news outlets in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the riots by celeberating how far we have come and trying to determine how far we have to go. We are working with Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) and their Saigu 429 project as well as such stakeholders as L.A .County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas to delve deep into a such a watershed event in our past so that we might better understand our future.

Look for tons of great content in the lead-up to the actual 20th anniversary.

Quick Hits

On the national scene, despite a far-diffeerent electoral map that the one that gave Barack Obama a 365 vote victory in 2008, early polling still shows the Democratic incumbent with an advantage over presumed Republican nominee Gov. Mitt Romney…for now.

Public school students who must be taught English are at the center of a debate on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed weighted student formula, under which they stand to see a quadraupling of money spent to get them up to speed.

In an aytpical move for a California Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown told the state legislature to “man-up” and enact some necessary spending cuts to close the budget deficit. Will Grover Norquist endorse the millionaire tax next? Only time will tell.

Have a great week from all of us at California Forward.

Chris Nelson is the blog editor and the social media & content specialist for California Forward.


Chris Nelson

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