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Tom Elias

Bad choices haunt hydrogen highway

The mid-January announcement from the chief executive of Toyota Motor North America about his company’s new hydrogen-powered Mirai luxury car received almost no attention outside a few trade newsletters. “We have asked (dealers) not to make deliveries until we have a station open (near them),” Jim Lentz said on the sidelines of an automotive show […]

Campus anti-Semitism festers while UC dithers

There has been little more than dithering from the University of California and its top officials in the year or so since anti-Semitic episodes occurred on several of its best-known and highest-ranked campuses. Even faculty members — including some without tenure for whom public protests are risky — complain that the university has “become a breeding ground […]

Bottleneck report: Transit only a partial traffic fix

Many of America’s worst traffic bottlenecks are holding up commuters for hours each week even where there’s plenty of mass transit nearby. That’s the upshot of a new report titled “Unclogging America’s Arteries,” which offers a few nostrums that don’t really figure to solve the problem anytime soon. (Read the report at www.highways.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/unclogging-study2015-hi-res.pdf) The most prominent […]

One PUC embarrassment gone, but probes continue

Here’s the bottom line on the significant but under-publicized retirement of Melanie M. Darling, the California Public Utilities Commission judge who fined a huge utility $16 million late last year for not reporting secret contacts with PUC officials including herself: The PUC is rid of a major embarrassment, but is still under criminal investigation. Why? […]

New degrees lifting state’s educational level

Every forecast of California’s future insists this state will need far more college-educated workers than now live here if it’s to avoid losing out when established businesses expand and seek places with qualified potential employees. This is true in almost every field, from filmmaking to making computer chips and hunting knives. That’s why a community […]

Tom Elias: Could Porter Ranch be a new San Bruno?

A flood of lawsuits began within weeks after a huge, still-ongoing leak of natural gas arose in late October from a Southern California Gas Co. storage facility 1,200 feet above the Porter Ranch area in the northern reaches of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. There’s a class action on behalf of many residents and a […]

Tom Elias: Why lies don’t hurt Donald Trump

There’s a simple answer to the question of why the seemingly constant lying of presidential candidate Donald Trump has not cost him much, if any, of his standing among Republicans likely to vote in this spring’s primary elections. There’s also a complex answer. The simple answer is that because Trump — billionaire businessman and television personality […]

January 08, 2016 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Major highway repairs unlikely in 2016

  It will be no surprise if Californians don’t see many desperately needed highway repairs getting underway in the next year. The Jerry Brown administration says it will take $59 billion to repair state roads and another $78 billion to fix those maintained by cities and counties. This magnitude of repair money is not available […]

January 03, 2016 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

What’s a pension? And who should get one?

Ballot initiative campaigns don’t usually center around definitions, but the question of what’s a pension and what’s not is one battle over definitions that very likely will face voters this fall. After years of frustration caused mainly because of failed efforts to change and reduce the pensions that are or will be paid to past […]

December 29, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

State GOP knows how bad off it is

Rarely has a political party flailed in as many futile ways as California’s branch of the Republican Party. In a state where Latinos are plainly on their way to becoming the largest voting bloc, the GOP until this fall maintained a platform plank stating that “allowing illegal immigrants to remain in California undermines respect for […]

December 22, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

No surprises in latest school test scores

There was good news and bad news — and in other ways no news at all — in the latest results of standardized tests given each year to California public school students. It was, for example, no news at all that even though this year’s test was more rigorous than ever before and based on new Common […]

December 20, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

UC heeds its critics, will take more Californians

After more than three years of steadfastly denying the increased enrollment of foreign and out-of-state students could endanger the very California identity of the University of California, it’s stunning and encouraging to see the 10-campus system do an about-face. The switch came late last month, when UC regents voted overwhelmingly for a plan to increase […]

December 15, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

All-mail elections are in our future

At about 8:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, anyone in San Mateo County who cared knew that its (almost) all-mail election was a resounding success. That’s when the county published the results from 68,988 ballots that arrived by mail before that Election Day began. The election wasn’t completely over, but those votes amounted to just over […]

December 09, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Anti-Semitism issue becomes test for UC chief

It’s rather doubtful that Janet Napolitano worried much when she first heard that vandals scrawled swastikas and the message “Jews to the gas chamber” inside a restroom on a University of California campus. Or, later, when she learned “grout out the Jews” and “Hitler did nothing wrong” had been daubed on other campus walls. Just […]

December 04, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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