Jackie botts journ

Jackie Botts

Economic Inequality Reporter for CalMatters

Location icon United States

I cover economic inequity and survival in California for CalMatters. Send tips to jackie@calmatters.org.

I've previously written for Reuters News, Pacific Standard, SFGate, Public Radio International, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Santa Barbara Independent and more. My multimedia and investigative stories have touched on a wide range of topics, including criminal justice, immigration, wildfires, labor, the arts and more.


Data, investigative and enterprise reporting

Shot by cops, thwarted by judges and geography

For years, the words "qualified immunity" were seldom heard outside of legal and academic circles, where critics have long contended that the doctrine is unjust. But outrage over the killing of George Floyd and incidents like it have made this 50-year-old legal doctrine - created by the U.S.

For cops who kill, special Supreme Court protection

Effective barrier Aldaba's lament has become an increasingly common one. Even as the proliferation of police body cameras and bystander cellphone video has turned a national spotlight on extreme police tactics, qualified immunity, under the careful stewardship of the Supreme Court, is making it easier for officers to kill or injure civilians with impunity.

Statehouse coverage

Economic indicators mask pandemic's true toll | CalMatters

On paper, the Golden State appears to have escaped 2020 without a personal debt crisis. Despite an unprecedented 2.4 million jobs lost in the spring, Californians joined their fellow Americans in paying down interest-heavy debt such as credit card bills while acquiring wealth-building loans by taking out mortgages.

Unpaid water bills top $1 billion in California | CalMatters

The first thing Deborah Bell-Holt does each morning is check whether water still flows from her bathroom faucet. It always does, thanks to an April executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom banning water disconnections during the pandemic. But that didn't stop her utility debt from snowballing to nearly $15,000.

How California's budget depends on staggering wealth gap | CalMatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom's $227 billion California spending plan is setting records in more ways than one. Were his budget proposal approved by lawmakers as is, the state would spend an unprecedented amount to fend off poverty, eviction and K-12 education loss for California's most vulnerable residents in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Finally, rent relief for a graduate starting out in the job market | CalMatters

By late December, Maya Brady and her girlfriend owed Sacramento Property Management Services about $4,000. The company sent regular matter-of-fact texts to remind them that they're late on rent. Brady imagines the same text arrives to many of her mostly working class neighbors in the apartment complex.

Will COVID spur California to ease food stamp applications? | CalMatters

A new bill could make it easier for seniors and people with disabilities to apply for CalFresh, California's version of food stamps, and allow people to enroll entirely over the phone by 2024. "California's food insecurity crisis is worse than ever, and we have a moral responsibility to make CalFresh benefits easier to access," said Sen.

Why few farmworkers isolate in California's free COVID-19 hotel rooms | CalMatters

Lea este artículo en español. In the first days of August, Fresno farmworker Brenda Yamileth, lined up for a COVID-19 test alongside her mother and brother. Feverish and headachy, she held her 10-month-old daughter. Soon, all four tested positive. She quarantined with her baby in one bedroom of her Mendota house while her husband and 2½-year-old son slept in the other.

Newsom weighs aid for undocumented Californians with no safety net | CalMatters

Lea este artículo en español. Out of work for months in the spring, Mariana, who cleans houses, and her husband Gerardo, who is a door-to-door salesman, paid their landlord just $300 of their $1,200 rent for a one-bedroom apartment they crowd into with their 2-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, in National City.

Why won't counties report workplace COVID outbreaks to the public? | CalMatters

Lea este artículo en español. Napa County doesn't collect data about coronavirus outbreaks in workplaces. Sonoma County does, but won't identify them because it would compromise the county's working relationship with employers. Alameda County won't share outbreak locations to protect privacy and to guard against what one health official called undue stigma.

Exclusive: Kaiser cited for failing to treat COVID-19 as airborne | CalMatters

Lea este artículo en español. California workplace safety officials issued a serious citation against a Kaiser Permanente psychiatric facility in Santa Clara, accusing the center of failing to provide workers with N95 masks and other protection against COVID-19. But the problems facing the health care giant may run much deeper.

Overlooked Pacific Islanders hit hard by coronavirus | CalMatters

Pacific Islander communities in California have long faced economic and health disparities that make them uniquely vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. Often overlooked by public health officials, community leaders are mounting their own response. For two weeks in March, Dr. Raynald Samoa fought to move air through his lungs.

How one man found freedom from his struggle to survive in the Bay Area | CalMatters

By Jackie Botts In January, I sat among dozens of other reporters in California's Capitol as we peppered Gov. Gavin Newsom with questions about his spending plan for the year, a bulging $222 billion budget full of progressive proposals: $1.4 billion in new funds for homeless services, expansion of the state's health insurance for low-income residents, a proposal that the state manufacture generic drugs to bring prices down.

Orange County Register
New laws could make life a little easier for low-income Californians

Lawmakers have passed a suite of bills that aim to ease financial burdens for Californians living paycheck to paycheck. While several new California laws have sparked national attention - such as the law that will convert gig economy workers into full employees and another to cap large rent increases - state legislators quietly approved dozens of other bills that address challenges faced by California's poor.

Getting food stamps to poor Californians is surprisingly difficult | CalMatters

Pressure is increasing on counties to sign up more people for food stamps since the state's participation rate is one of the lowest in the nation. But greater enrollment may require more money or more state intervention. In May 2017, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors set an ambitious goal: enroll 70,000 new families in food stamps in two years.

California could get $1.8 billion in food stamp funding. It just needs people to sign up

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a food assistance program that aids millions of low-income families and individuals. California, a state with the nation's highest poverty rate, consistently ranks near the bottom when it comes to enrolling low-income people in CalFresh, the state's name for the federal food stamp program.

US News & World Report
ABCs of LGBTQ History Mandated for More U.S. Public Schools

Charley Parkhurst, a legendary stagecoach driver during California's Gold Rush, also known as "One-Eyed Charley" is seen in this illustration image, released by Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, California, U.S., on May 2, 2019.

Public Radio International
After the California wildfires, community leaders are trying to rebuild homes - and trust in...

On Oct. 21, when wildfires in Northern California were still smoldering, about 150 people gathered at a middle school gymnasium. Thousands more watched the livestream on Facebook. Officials in Sonoma County, the region most devastated by the fires, had put together a Spanish-language community forum to address the concerns of the Latino community - the first of its kind in the county.

Multimedia Storytelling

Local: In The Peninsula
Experience Bay Area capoeira in 360 degrees

The fighters circle around each other, eyes locked. One throws a swift kick at her opponent, who spins and ducks away. The pattern continues: spin, kick, escape. They're ringed by onlookers who clap and sing to the rhythm of tall drums and the , a musical bow with one string that produces a thick twang.

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