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Tom Elias

Call it a presidential suicide pact

Maybe Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican congressman from Orange County best known for his surfing photo ops, has wiped out once too often. Or maybe his ultra-safe political turf keeps him from seeing the reality that stares his party in the face when it comes to the issue of immigration. Whatever the reason, Rohrabacher demanded early […]

July 16, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Non-citizen jurors? It’s a bad idea

It’s one thing to give undocumented immigrants an opportunity — however limited and lengthy and expensive — to gain American citizenship if they’ve lived and worked in this country for a long time while contributing and without committing any criminal offenses. Driver’s licenses for the undocumented also make some sense, especially since many law enforcement […]

July 12, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

New questions on hydrogen highway

Significant new questions are cropping up about a California Energy Commission program designed to assure there will be enough hydrogen refueling stations to make buying hydrogen fuel cell cars practical when they debut commercially between 2015 and 2017. One year ago, the commission pulled back more than $28 million in grants it had tentatively awarded, […]

July 09, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Patriotic talk, but the same aim

Now it’s official: Despite happy talk about doing what’s best for America, Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and the cadre of other Silicon Valley titans helping with his new lobbying organization FWD.us are looking out for their own self-interest, just like every previous political action committee or billionaires’ club. Zuckerberg tried to explain himself the other […]

July 07, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Desert energy plan would boost utility profits

What happens when a big government study undermines the assumptions made by the writers of another pricey official report? Obvious, isn’t it? When studies or parts of studies contradict each other’s basic conclusions and assumptions, the ones that monied interests dislike will usually be ignored. So it is today, with four big government agencies combining […]

June 28, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

GOP satisfied with cosmetic changes

As the election neared last year and it became clear that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney could not possibly win without more Latino support than he had so far earned, the national GOP made a symbolic move. The party hired Bettina Inclan, once an Arnold Schwarzenegger operative in California, to spearhead outreach to Hispanic voters. […]

June 27, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Fracking: sensible regulation the way to go

Fears abound as California faces the reality that besides all its other natural wonders, it sits atop an Arabian-sized oil and natural gas bonanza that can only be exploited via the process of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. One fear is that when oil drillers insert the mix of water, sand and chemicals used […]

June 25, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Big changes coming in Congress

California saw plenty of change to its congressional delegation last year, with the long-serving likes of Fortney “Pete” Stark (East Bay area), David Dreier (San Dimas), Jerry Lewis (Redlands), Joe Baca (San Bernardino County), Elton Gallegly (Simi Valley), Mary Bono Mack (Palm Springs) and more either retiring or getting turned out. For most of their […]

June 21, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

This year’s most important bill

If there’s one dominant reason for the distrust many Californians feel for governments at all levels, it’s the sense that special interests regularly pour millions of dollars into federal, state and local election campaigns while contriving to hide their identities. That reality makes SB 52, the so-called DISCLOSE Act sponsored by Democratic state Sens. Mark […]

June 18, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Energy justice was long-delayed

It’s taken almost 13 years, but justice finally may be coming to California consumers victimized by the federal government during California’s energy crunch of 2000 and 2001. Yes, by the federal government. For folks who weren’t in California or don’t remember, that was the time when power prices here soared as electricity-trading companies like Enron, […]

June 14, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Is a constitutional crisis coming?

Rarely since the Civil War have state officials anywhere in America been as close to openly defying federal authority as Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature are today. Brown averted a constitutional crisis in mid-May, when he acceded to the demand of a three-judge federal court panel and submitted a plan to reduce the state […]

June 04, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

How much should non-doctors do?

One thing is certain as California heads for a new health insurance era under the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare: Almost all parts of the state will need more medical professionals to serve the additional 2 million to 4 million newly insured Californians. Should they mostly be physicians, or should other health […]

May 28, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Marsy’s Law is working well

On a sunny California day in 1983, a woman loading bags into her car trunk in a supermarket parking lot was suddenly confronted by a gunman who forced her into the car, tied her up and drove her away. Minutes later, in another parking lot, he blocked another car’s attempted exit from a space and, […]

May 24, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Brown’s looking at a 2014 cakewalk

Like flowers blooming in the spring, Republican candidates for governor have begun to pop up during the past few weeks. But there’s a key difference between the folks jumping up this time and many who ran in gubernatorial primaries of the past two decades: There are no billionaires among the early entrants. There is no […]

May 14, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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