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Lauren Keene

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 ,

Will PUC move lead to lower utility rates?

It’s possible that mid-February will be remembered for years to come as a fateful time in the century-long history of the California Public Utilities Commission. That’s when, without offering any legal justification, the five commissioners spent public money to hire a criminal lawyer. If courts find this move was as blatantly illegal as it looks […]

March 17, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Rice proves star power is still a political factor

Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration and now a Stanford University professor, has stated very clearly she would rather attend college basketball games and help choose the college football playoff teams than be a U.S. senator. At 61, she says she prefers a secure job in academe, playing […]

March 15, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Tax overhaul plan has potential

Rarely does a freshman state senator propose anything substantial during his or her first few days in office. But Robert Herzberg, elected last fall from a safe Democratic district in the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles, is hardly a typical newbie. Hertzberg, speaker of the state Assembly from 2000 to 2002 and an […]

March 11, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Some convicts don’t deserve parole hearings

Consider the criminal history of Bobby Beausoleil, 67, the latest follower of Charles Manson to come up for an automatic parole hearing. Among the lesser-known members of the murderous so-called Manson “family,” Beausoleil was a Manson henchman who fled Los Angeles after the 1969 murders of musician Gary Hinman and movie stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. […]

March 06, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Initiative carnival coming next year

If voters get annoyed at seeing paid petition circulators outside their favorite big-box stores during the next 15 months, they will have only themselves to blame. Low voter turnout is one big reason to expect a larger-than-ever proliferation of ballot initiatives looking to share the fall 2016 ballot with presidential and U.S. Senate candidates. If you […]

March 05, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Top-two primary system survives first challenge

California’s three-year-old “top two” primary election system has never pleased any political party. Not large ones like the Republicans and Democrats, who don’t like members of the other large party helping choose their nominees. And not minor parties like Libertarians and Greens, who resent the fact that top two virtually excludes them from November general […]

March 01, 2015 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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