Tom Elias

Stymied House Dems may give state a real Senate race

Democrats in Congress will never say so publicly, but they know they have little or no hope of taking back control of the House of Representatives until 2022 at the earliest. That’s because gerrymandering in states like Texas and Georgia and North Carolina has concentrated the many Democratic voters in those places into just a […]

May 28, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Tom Elias: This ‘tax’ may be about to rise

If a committee of legislators or U.S. senators whose most influential members were under criminal investigation ever considered raising taxes on Californians by significant amounts, protests would be non-stop and cacophonous. But with the seriously sullied state Public Utilities Commission about to raise electric rates for the bulk of this state’s residents, the silence from […]

May 24, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Is UC anti-Semitism linked to more foreign students?

There is no doubt that dependence on the higher tuition paid by out-of-state and foreign students has become established policy at the University of California. Now, some believe this may be leading to the unintended consequence of an upsurge of anti-Semitism on campuses like Davis, Berkeley, UCLA and Riverside. The university says no. “I don’t […]

May 19, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Gas price surge? It’s largely due to gouging

There is absolutely no doubt about a few facts surrounding the gasoline price surge that Californians experienced in late winter and early spring. In March, California prices averaged 84 cents per gallon higher than the national average of $2.54 per gallon, rising to $3.38 after a wintertime dip. That meant Californians spent $34 million per […]

May 14, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

When a fine is only half a fine

Only minutes after an announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission would fine the state’s largest utility company $1.6 billion for violating state and federal gas pipeline safety standards, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it would not appeal the decision. But PG&E never said why it’s happy to accept the largest penalty ever assessed […]

May 12, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Will Disclose Act be an antidote to dismal vote turnouts?

Politicians have come up with myriad alleged reasons for the dismal vote turnouts seen across California in this spring’s municipal elections — not even reaching 10 percent of eligible voters in the state’s biggest city, Los Angeles. Bad timing, some suggest. Too many elections, others say. Another excuse: not enough news coverage. But these rationalizations ignore […]

May 07, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Logic and illogic in Brown’s drought plans

There is both sense and nonsense in the $1 billion drought relief package announced by Gov. Jerry Brown in a parched Sierra Nevada Mountains meadow that usually is covered in deep snow on the date Brown walked through it. But the rationale behind the single largest part of the package is fundamentally contradictory. Brown says […]

April 30, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Broad new vaccination law is a must

Rarely has a new law been so urgently and obviously needed as the broad children’s vaccination requirement now being carried by the state Legislature’s only medical doctor, Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento. While the measure has encountered resistance in the Legislature and even resulted in death threats to Pan, there is no factual […]

April 21, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Best budget idea? Letting sick, elderly convicts go

Sometimes it can take more than a decade for a completely sensible idea to catch on. So it is with what may be the single best money-saving idea in last year’s state budget, one that is just now beginning fully to take hold. The idea, part of a plan by Gov. Jerry Brown to appease […]

April 16, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

How California won by losing Tesla battery plant

It was supposed to be a $5 billion project, creating 6,500 jobs. That was the hype when Tesla Motors last summer orchestrated a five-state battle to host a huge “gigafactory” where it plans to build batteries for its next generation of electric cars. Anyone who’s driven one knows the Tesla Model S seems to take […]

April 12, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Who’s going to run against Harris?

It’s now a certainty that Kamala Harris will have an opponent on the November 2016 ballot. But much less certain is whether that opponent will be any more threatening than Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist who placed second in California’s 2012 Senate primary election, was to incumbent Dianne Feinstein. One by one, potentially formidable opponents […]

April 03, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

A California comeback for gerrymandering?

Way back in 1811, almost 40 years before California became a state, then-Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry engineered a congressional redistricting plan guaranteed to let his Democratic-Republican Party control his state’s congressional delegation. The plan — motivated in part by Gerry’s loss of a seat in Congress after opponents 10 years earlier set up a district he […]

March 31, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Bleeding stops on one Schwarzenegger blunder

California has bled many millions of dollars because of the myriad blunders by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who probably should have remained a muscleman actor and never ventured into politics. Spending has barely begun on the high-speed rail project he enthusiastically backed without worrying about troublesome details like its precise route or whether it can […]

March 25, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Confusion sets in over groundwater law

It’s beginning to look like the hosannas that greeted California’s first-ever groundwater regulation law were a tad premature when it passed late last summer. For after a tantalizing winter of heavy rains but insufficient snowfall to dent the state’s four-year drought, confusion over the groundwater rules has begun to set in. One thing for sure: […]

March 24, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

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