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Tom Elias

‘Anchor babies’ are unjustly reviled

It was bound to happen in a presidential campaign that’s provided more fodder for satirists than any in modern memory: One of the candidates reviling “anchor babies” and demanding an end to the birthright U.S. citizenship guaranteed by the Constitution would have to deny that he is one. That’s what happened the other day to […]

PG&E dodges the worst after fatal explosion

Some were mystified when, moments after the California Public Utilities Commission assessed the state’s largest utility company a record $1.6 billion fine for violating state and federal natural gas pipeline standards before the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced it would not appeal the decision. Even now, about […]

Arnold helped pave the way for Donald

Parallels between current presidential candidate Donald Trump and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are myriad and obvious to anyone who cares to look. Both are celebrities with no need to spend money on getting-to-know-you TV commercials like ordinary candidates for high office. Both went after political offices after pursuing lucrative careers not even slightly related to […]

Union dues foes still may win, despite three ballot losses

The common assumption in California politics is that labor unions will always be a major force because they have been for the past 30-plus years. But change may be coming, even though organized labor since 1996 has beaten back three ballot initiatives aiming to end its influence. The issue here is union dues paid by […]

Manson follower tests Brown on parole again

If this seems like déjà vu, that’s because it is. For the 29th time since he was convicted in two of the nine gruesome killings conducted by the cult-like Charles Manson “Family” in the late 1960s, 72-year-old Bruce Davis is up for parole. Gov. Jerry Brown has until the end of December to veto a […]

Anti-vaxxers threaten freedoms of others

Imagine a California where polio becomes a threat to children’s health as it was before the 1950s, when first the Salk vaccine and later the even more effective Sabin formula threw this dreaded and crippling disease and all its iron lungs into dormancy. Or a California where dozens of kids die every year from pertussis, […]

Federal regulators look as bad as state PUC

For many years before formal investigations by both state and federal authorities began, it was clear the California Public Utilities Commission consistently favored big utility companies over consumers at every opportunity. But until a court order produced tens of thousands of emails between utility commissioners and executives of the companies they regulate, no one could […]

Prop. 47 looking like a well-intentioned blunder

The more time goes by since last fall’s passage of the high-minded Proposition 47, the more it begins to look like a well-intentioned mistake. This was the ballot measure that turned some “minor” felonies into misdemeanor crimes, thus easing the crowding in state prisons and many county jails. It has unquestionably helped some ex-felons rebuild […]

Anti-Semitism issue again confronts UC regents

Back in June, the president of the University of California promised on national radio that the UC Board of Regents would vote at its next meeting — in July — on whether to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. It didn’t happen. There was no vote, no discussion, not even an agenda item. No regent — […]

September 08, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Canoe theory at work in gov’s CEQA exemption deals

Gov. Jerry Brown has never professed to be the model of political or ideological consistency. In fact, he’s a decades-long advocate of the “canoe theory” of politics, which goes like this: You paddle a little to the left and you paddle a little to the right, and you keep going straight down the middle of […]

September 06, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Huge oil company gains are a sign of gas price-gouging

The days when oil companies could easily deny they’ve gouged California motorists through much of this year should have ended with the second-quarter financial reports of Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., which together control about 40 percent of the California gasoline market. But their denials won’t end despite the humongous windfall financial gains they […]

September 01, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Marijuana harm ignored in push for legalization

Four potential ballot initiatives completely legalizing marijuana are in the works for California’s next general election, with pot advocates yet to choose the variation that will get their concerted push. But one thing for sure: Whichever one they send out for signature-gathering will say nothing about the detrimental effects of the mind-altering weed, well known […]

August 30, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged , ,

Lines blur further between citizens, non-citizens

Almost no one seemed to notice earlier this summer, when California’s new budget took effect, that yet another distinction between citizens and non-citizens was breached. Voting now is about the only area left with a clear line between legal immigrants and citizens. Even for the undocumented, there are few privileges or rights they can’t now […]

August 25, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Latino fears on loss of clout may be correct

  Fear and anxiety have been in the air around California’s Latino political leaders in the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments this fall in a Texas case challenging the 51-year-old legal and political doctrine of one person, one vote. These fears may turn out to be far more correct […]

August 19, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged , ,
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