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Podcast: Talk Policy To Me

Posts from November 2018

Episode 207: Talking UBI, part 1

How Universal Basic Income could decrease the stigma of social safety nets

Professor of Economics Hilary Hoynes and UC Berkeley MPP Student ‘20 Sarah Edwards probe whether work is a solid foundation on which to build the welfare of American society. Can and should income from working really provide a stable base for all Americans? And can more universal coverage social safety nets for non-working adults alleviate the stigma of government support?

While welfare reform of the 1990s resulted in spotty coverage from the coupling of assistance and working, the universality of UBI could be an attractive counterproposal to extend coverage to those without it and reduce the stigma of government support. But untargeted programs risk becoming prohibitively expensive or overstretched.

In this episode of Talk Policy to Me, find out why loosening the bind between working and government support opens a new space where new possibilities for policy solutions can come forward.

Tune in to next week’s episode on the specifics of one experiment in Stockton, California.

Speakers featured on this epsiode

Hilary Hoynes is a Professor of Public Policy and Economics and holds the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities at the University of California Berkeley where she also co-directs the Berkeley Opportunity Lab. She is a member of the American Academy of Art and Sciences and a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. She has served as Co-Editor of the American Economic Review and the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and is on the editorial board of the American Economic Review: Insights.

Her research focuses on poverty, inequality, food and nutrition programs, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. Current projects include evaluating the effects of access to the social safety net in early life on later life health and human capital outcomes, examining the effects of the Great Recession on poverty, and the role of the safety net in mitigating income losses.

Episode 206: Talking Dockless Scooters

Dockless scooters: last-mile mobility solution or temporal tech experiment?


Streets littered with bicycles and scooters represent the latest skirmish between Bay Area city administrators and the technology sector. In a region ready to confront carbon emissions and ready to embrace pedestrian-friendly streets, scooters have become the next item in an evergreen local debate on what mode of transport should dominant city streets, who should decide, and how to keep city residents safe.

San Francisco’s proximity to the hub of the technology sector makes it a “petri dish” for experimentation, says Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, transportation reporter for the San Francisco Examiner in conversation with UC Berkeley public policy student Reem Rayef about the issues that surround scooters. But—while Bay Area tech companies seek to be a major player in urban transportation with its disruptive technologies, municipalities often have other goals in mind.

Tune into this lively conversation on how cities are responding to scooters, how companies are trying to get around city regulation, when local residents revolt against new technologies—and whether scooters really are a better way to get around.

Speakers featured on this epsiode

Brianne Eby is a policy analyst for Eno, where she conducts research on various topics related to the transportation industry. She has written at length about what dockless scooters mean in the context of reduced carbon emissions, disruption of car culture, equity in public transit, and increased investment in public transportation infrastructure. Prior to joining Eno, Brianne conducted research on transportation behaviors as a graduate student, and on helping cities and metropolitan regions achieve inclusive and sustainable growth as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution. Brianne earned her B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University and her M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Follow her on Twitter: @brianne_eby.



Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez covers transportation for the San Francisco Examiner. Joe is a long time San Francisco resident and pretty obsessed with transit, so he has followed (and written about) the scooter issue closely. He also writes the weekly political On Guard column. Reach him at joe@sfexaminer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzTheReporter.  

Episode 205: Talking Housing Re-segregation

The color of housing in the Bay Area


As rents continue to skyrocket in the Bay Area, housing displacement is disproportionately affecting people of color. A “geography of racialized inequality” has long been set in the region—but today’s segregation is taking a new configuration as new housing market preferences take root. 80 percent of neighborhoods in the East Bay experiencing gentrification were previously redlined, according to a finding from UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project is providing research and data tools to characterize the nature of this displacement in the Bay Area. In this episode, UC Berkeley public policy student Spencer Bowen and urban planning alumnus Philip Verma discuss some of the data analysis and what it reveals about the the Bay Area’s housing market today. Tune in here.

Are you interested in getting engaged with housing issues in the Bay Area? Here are three suggestions from Philip Verma:

  1. Read Evicted by Matthew Desmond
  2. Read more about California housing policy. You can start with SPUR and the Terner Center.
  3. Every neighborhood has slightly different challenges. Find out what challenges your neighbors are facing by talking to your local council member.
  4. Learn more about Urban Displacement Project’s data tool.

Speakers featured on this episode

Philip Verma is a Master of City Planning student interested in the intersection of housing policy and environmental health, especially for low-income renters. He has worked as a housing advocate in New York and Oakland, helping tenants fight evictions, harassment, illegal rent increases, and substandard conditions. He also spent two years as outreach director for a sustainable transportation NGO in Bogotá. Philip graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History.