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Tom Elias

Bipartisanship still can happen

Not even the revelation that dishonest state parks officials hid $54 million in reserve funds from budget writers and the public can dim the wider import of a park-rescue bill now working its way through the Legislature. This bill demonstrates that even before a possible few moderate politicians arrive in Sacramento after November’s runoff election, […]

August 22, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Dropout report still has holes

A combination of computerized tracking and public pressure have joined to make reporting of school dropouts in California the best in America, but those reports are still not good enough. For sure, we now have a more accurate idea of how many students drop out of school before they finish the 12th grade — in […]

August 16, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Bullet train slowed by indirect route

There’s little doubt the high-speed rail plan passed as Proposition 1A in November 2008 was designed to pander to voters in cities not exactly on the straight-line path between Los Angeles and San Francisco. As proposed and passed by a 53-47 percent margin, this route meandered first through the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles, […]

August 12, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Trying to put a fig leaf over ‘paycheck protection’

At least the conservative interests behind the latest move to limit or eliminate the influence of labor unions in California politics have heard what their critics said about their earlier efforts. Twice before, voters have rejected efforts by corporate lobbies like the state Chamber of Commerce to force unions to get signatures yearly from their […]

August 09, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Realignment gripes are about money

Complaints have been coming sporadically from around California ever since state prisons began dumping inmates back to counties last fall in a move designed to save money. Yes, the state has given cities and (mostly) counties hundreds of millions of dollars as compensation for housing the former state convicts and supervising their parole. But new […]

August 07, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

CSU trustees are way out of touch

It’s just not enough anymore to call the trustees of the California State University system insensitive or tone-deaf. Some of their recent actions indicate they border on the totally insensate. How else to explain the fact that in one 24-hour period this spring, this board first voted to accept virtually no new admissions for the […]

July 27, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Open debate would blow up secrecy

Much has been made — and rightly so — of the “budget trailer” bill passed swiftly and without public hearings earlier this summer that allows virtually complete secrecy to the new semi-governmental corporation that will administer California’s upcoming cap and trade program for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. That measure, known as SB 1018, […]

July 25, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Top ballot slot is no guarantee

Gov. Jerry Brown took great pains trying to ensure his tax increase proposition would be listed first on the November ballot, acting on the presumption that placement would make it more likely to pass. That’s about as flawed an assumption as exists in California politics. For nothing in the past history of California initiatives suggests […]

July 20, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Partnerships won’t work elsewhere

The many thousands who regularly use this state’s large and varied park system were among the most distraught of Californians when legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown last year imposed cuts and closures on the system, with 70 parks scheduled for shuttering early this summer. Some of those closures will come right on schedule, but not […]

July 17, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

More moderates? Wait and see

Will the instinct for survival trump ideological purity among California politicians? That’s the major question still remaining about the “top two” primary election system adopted by this state’s voters in 2010, which got its first full-scale tryout in the June primary election. Wolves have been out in force, baying their complaints from the moment the […]

July 13, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Pension votes a boost for Brown

If there was one message that went out strongly from the early June votes on local pension changes in San Jose and San Diego, it was this: Private sector workers are tired of seeing six-figure pensions go to some public employees while their own pensions are steadily cut or become increasingly uncertain. Some might call […]

July 11, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Fall brings emotional initiatives

All the emotional and intellectual energy in this spring’s primary election campaign focused on congressional and legislative races, where a rare combination of new rules and new district maps produced some entirely new kinds of results, with many upcoming runoff races featuring intra-party battles pitting Democrat against Democrat and Republican against Republican. It was difficult […]

July 08, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

CSU won’t stop offensive speech

California State University professors and other employees cannot engage in “discriminatory behavior, bullying or harassment,” nor may they display “offensive conduct of an unwelcome nature…” So says the Free Speech Handbook issued to every Cal State employee, faculty member and student. But if you examine both the recent and long-term behavior of the university’s most […]

July 06, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Whose UC is it going to be?

The more foreign and out-of-state students register at the University of California and the higher tuition and fees there are pushed, the more legitimate it becomes for taxpayers who built and still largely fund the 10-campus system to wonder whom it will belong to in the future. It’s a question that got new force early […]

June 29, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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