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Tom Elias

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 ,

Again, GOP primary means little

Never again. That should be the determined motto of California legislators who will set dates for this state’s future primary elections, now that it’s perfectly clear the June 5 California Republican presidential primary election will mean little or nothing, just like all other June primaries contested here since 1972. This became clear after Illinois voted in […]

May 01, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Brown, GOP give Dems tough pension choices

Do the Democrats who dominate the state Legislature side with a governor of their own party or do they go the way of their colleague Republicans, who fought with party mate Arnold Schwarzenegger most of the seven years he spent as governor? Do Democrats try to keep feeding ever bigger chunks of state money to […]

April 26, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

New plan has HSR making more sense

It’s beginning to look like California will get bullet trains after all, but it won’t be quite as grandiose a system as what the state’s High Speed Rail Authority at first wanted or what voters approved in the 2008 Proposition 1-A. This apparent new reality can still be thwarted, of course, if an initiative now […]

April 23, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Why consumers won’t get much of Dynegy’s millions

There was applause from environmentalists when Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Public Utilities Commission late last month accepted a $120 million settlement from NRG Energy Inc. for the part it and the bankrupt former electric generator Dynegy Inc. played in the power crisis that afflicted California 11 years ago. To be paid over four […]

April 19, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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