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Tom Elias

A single vote really does count

Barely 21 percent of eligible California voters cast ballots in last fall’s election, which means about 80 percent of the eligible populace should have no complaints even if they don’t like the performances of those who were elected for the next two or four years. It’s easy to conclude this was because of apathy and […]

February 26, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Tail wags the dog again in presidential race

Less than a year from now — on Jan. 26, 2016 — voters in New Hampshire will don parkas and trek through snowdrifts to tell the rest of America who should be running for president and who should not. That vote will come eight days after the Iowa caucuses draw a few tens of thousands […]

February 11, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Red-light cameras are abating a bit

For many California drivers, there have been few worse plagues than the red-light cameras that once operated in more than 70 cities across the state. At their peak, red-light cameras featured tickets costing upwards of $450 for “offenses” like stopping for a red light, but with the front bumper a foot over a painted restraining […]

February 08, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Criminal investigation for utility regulators?

Memo to United States Attorneys in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego: It’s high time you investigate the former president and some current members and officials of the California Public Utilities Commission for things like conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Evidence against current commissioners and former commission President Michael Peevey has […]

February 05, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

The biggest nightmare of California’s largest utility companies may be about to begin playing out, thanks to a small irrigation district in San Joaquin County and a bunch of disgruntled customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. This trend also had help from the state’s voters, who in 2010 rejected a ballot proposition designed and […]

January 25, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

PUC chief departs, but bad decisions live on

After 12 years of favoring big utility companies over individual consumers, Michael Peevey has at last left the California Public Utilities Commission. But many of his ill-considered — some say corrupt — decisions will linger on. Peevey departed in a carefully stage-managed mid-December commission meeting, forced by scandal to abandon previous plans to seek reappointment […]

January 13, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Go slow on new electronic voting efforts

The reports came in from all across America during last fall’s election: Electronic voting machines were flipping some votes from Republican to Democrat in some states. From Democrat to Republican in others. In one state with several close races, Wisconsin, electronic vote-counting machines registered just 16 votes in a city where about 5,350 people were […]

January 08, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Tom Elias: Passage of Disclose Act is still a must

If there’s one main reason for the distrust many Californians feel for government and elected officials at all levels, it may be the way special interests regularly pour millions of dollars into election campaigns while managing to mask or obscure their identities. A major example last year was Proposition 45, voted down by a 59-41 […]

January 02, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Union vote exposes extent of campus anti-Semitism

Few disputes fought out by student governments have ever been as acrimonious as the battles raging intermittently across this state on whether to push University of California regents and trustees of other universities to join an international campaign against Israel. This movement seeks to boycott Israeli companies and academics, demands divestment from companies doing business […]

December 30, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

New advantage for Democrats in later vote deadline

It pays to read between the lines whenever the state Legislature or a city council makes changes to long-standing election routines. One example: Almost all cities that have lately switched local elections to even years so they coincide with federal and state voting feature Democrat-dominated city councils whose members know that higher turnouts favor Democrats […]

December 26, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Finally, right-sized solar getting a push

When ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made their way onto a hot and sunny alkali flat just west of the Interstate 15 freeway between Barstow and Las Vegas in late 2010, they were opening an era of giantism in solar electricity. They and bunches of utility executives went to a site […]

December 23, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Key pension question unanswered

Politicians and public employees drawing pensions had high hopes they would get clarity on a key question from the federal bankruptcy judge presiding over the city of Stockton’s ongoing attempt to regain its financial health. But it now appears that unique inland port city will emerge from more than two years of bankruptcy without any […]

December 11, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Will UC at last face up to out-of-state student dilemma?

It’s a dilemma that University of California officials have long refused to confront, but one they soon may have to face: How many foreign and out-of-state students can UC absorb and still fulfill its mission of providing an elite education for the very best California high school graduates? The issue has become central at many […]

December 07, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Court appointee needs to become a Californian

There is no doubt about the intelligence and diligence of Leondra Kruger, 38, Gov. Jerry Brown’s new appointee to the California Supreme Court. But this graduate of the elite, private Polytechnic School adjacent to the Caltech campus in Pasadena has not spent substantial time in California since 2000, and very little in the six years […]

December 02, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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