Looking for the latest stories? We're now at cironline.org

Future State is a new series of public events produced by California Watch, the groundbreaking nonprofit news organization founded by the Center for Investigative Reporting. As one of the largest watchdog news organizations in the country, California Watch is uniquely positioned to draw on a diverse range of critical thinkers, opinion leaders and the public to bridge political and regional divides and address the major challenges facing our state.

Over time, Future State is designed to build connections among communities that don’t have a forum for real, thought-provoking communication: rural and urban, the wealthy and impoverished, new arrivals and established families. We will expand these connections into open networks capable of generating solutions for the challenges we face.

The Center for Investigative Reporting is committed to helping communities find solutions to the problems about which it reports. This series will aim to drive solutions-oriented dialogue based on fact and data – not politics or special interests.


Public forum: What’s the future of Sonoma’s developmental center?
Wednesday, Jan. 30
Ramekins, 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma

California Watch is inviting the public to share its thoughts, insights and experiences about the troubled Sonoma Developmental Center, the state’s largest board-and-care facility for the severely disabled.

Few people in California are more vulnerable than the patients at the Sonoma center. The people who live there suffer from cerebral palsy, severe autism, and other mental, intellectual and physical disabilities. Many have no family to take care of them.

For more than a year, California Watch reporter Ryan Gabrielson has been investigating the Sonoma facility. The stories have revealed widespread problems with the center’s treatment of patients by staff members and a little-known state police force charged with investigating crimes at the facility. Patients at one unit in Sonoma suffered clear evidence of sexual assault, but their cases were never properly investigated. 

Now, the Sonoma facility is facing severe sanctions and possible closure of its largest housing units. The center employs more than 1,000 people from the region.

What does this new development mean for the city of Sonoma, the developmental center and its patients, and the people who live in surrounding communities?

We invite you to a forum that will feature a panel discussion with community members and experts. The panel will be moderated by Phil Bronstein, the executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the parent organization of California Watch. Gabrielson will also outline his stories and answer questions.

Please come and share your thoughts, insights, experiences and questions with the community. Learn more about the entire investigation here, and read about what happened in Sonoma on our website.

View The Future State - Jan. 30 in a larger map


RSVP on Eventbrite

When: Jan. 30

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Where: Ramekins, 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma

*This event is free, but space is limited and registration is required. It is part of California Watch's Future State – a series of public events that aims to drive solutions-oriented dialogue based on fact and data on issues facing California's future.

Past Events

Event and Screening: ‘California State of Mind’
Co-presented by The California Film Foundation
Wednesday, Dec. 5
The California Museum and Rio Americano High School, Sacramento

California has long embodied the American Dream: a place where creativity, innovation and possibility prevailed. But today, public schools have gone from first to worst, universities are overcrowded and financially failing, and roads are congested and crumbling. Water and environmental resources are shrinking as demand increases and pollution spreads. The political process seems to be in a state of paralysis, and the massive budget crisis has created real gridlock.

California Watch will spotlight the documentary “California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown” as a starting point to engage audiences. This all-day event will bring together investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking and fresh content to provide a compelling framework for exploring today’s key issues. The award-winning film is much more than an examination of the past – this entertaining biography of Gov. Pat Brown is a provocative portrait of a man whose bipartisan can-do optimism can re-energize a critical dialogue.

Topics will range from Brown’s legacy to the future of our state, with the day culminating in a special screening and panel discussion of “California State of Mind.”

View The Future State - Dec. 5 in a larger map

9-11:30 a.m.:
Morning workshop: Telling Your Own Story at The California Museum - OPEN TO PUBLIC
MORE INFO + REGISTER HERE: Led by director Sascha Rice, this workshop will include participation from local filmmakers and community members.

The California Museum
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Noon-1:30 p.m.:
Luncheon co-hosted by the Pat Brown Institute at The California Museum - BY REQUEST: EMAIL KCRAWFORD@CIRONLINE.ORG
Featuring professor Corey Cook, Director of University of San Francisco's Leo McCarthy Center for the Public Good
Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at CSU Los Angeles, will open this moderated discussion.

The California Museum
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

2-4 p.m.: 
K-12 leadership activity at Rio Americano High School - CLOSED TO PUBLIC
Moral Compass – Using Your Own Value System

5:30- 9:00 p.m.
Reception, Screening and panel discussion at The California Museum - REGISTER HERE

The screening will feature a special 56-minute version of “California State of Mind.” A panel discussion will follow, exploring Brown’s legacy, the film, and the current state and future of California.

The California Museum
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you would like further information please contact Kristin Crawford at kcrawford@cironline.org

Higher Education in the San Joaquin Valley and Implications for California
Thursday, Nov. 8
Merced and Merced College campuses

Over the past decade, the San Joaquin Valley has emerged as one of California’s most dynamic regions. From its prolific agricultural topography to its growing and diverse population, the Valley's future development has the potential to remold the state. You are invited to participate in the first of a series of interactive community conversations exploring the critical role the valley will play in key areas defining the future of our state.  

On Thursday, Nov. 8, representatives from California Watch, UC Merced, The Campaign for College Opportunity, the Merced Sun-Star and Merced College will dive deeply and compellingly into one of the most important issues in the San Joaquin Valley and the state as a whole: higher education. 

Topics will cover a broad range, including lifelong learning and professional development, the state of K-12 education, and the future of and access to higher education.

View The Future State - Nov. 8 in a larger map

If you would like further information or would like to join us for any portion of either event, please contact Kristin Crawford at kcrawford@cironline.org.

9:30-11:30 a.m.:
Morning sessions at UC Merced
Students and faculty will meet with staff from California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Noon-1:30 p.m.:
Lunch at UC Merced
We’ll discuss the character, challenges and opportunities of the Central Valley community.

2-4:30 p.m.: The Current State of K-12 
Panels at Merced College Business Resource Center, 630 W. 19th St.

Panel 1: The State of K-12 in the San Joaquin Valley
What is happening within the school community of the valley? What are the challenges and opportunities? Where are there important examples of success that can be scaled?

Panel 2: Developing Pathways to Sustainable Futures
What is the ladder of success for students completing high school? How does the community college provide an innovative and crucial connection among students, families and opportunities? What role does education play in the economic development of the valley?

5-7:30 p.m.: The Higher Education Reward
Reception and panels at UC Merced’s California Room, 5200 Lake Road

Reception: 5-6 p.m.

Panel 1: The Return on Investment for Education in California
Hear a presentation and key findings from a recent report by The Campaign for College Opportunity, “California’s Economic Payoff.”

Panel 2: Big Bets: Colleges and the Future State
What are the dynamics California colleges face? What does the future of higher education look like? How do UC Merced and other valley institutions of higher education provide California with an opportunity to continue to invest in education as a key driver for the state? How is UC Merced developing leaders for the future state?

© 2013 California Watch   /  development:  Happy Snowman Tech   /  design: