Whenever I write and speak about California’s dire economic and political situation, I am met by people who demand answers. “We know the state is in a mess,” they say. “Why don’t you tell us how to fix it rather than harp on all the bad news?”
Simple answers are nice, but sometimes there aren’t any. As I retort, anything that will fix California can’t possibly become law given the political environment here. Reformers need to take the longer view. Read More
It probably seems a bit premature to already herald the arrival of 2013. I’ve got my reasons, though. One of the most important events on our horizon right now is the 34th America’s Cup. Read More
Is Newt Gingrich really the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney? That’s what many in the punditocracy have proclaimed as the former speaker of the House is now surging in the polls. Yet a look at his record reveals that Newt is hardly the “anti-Mitt.” He’s Mitt Romney with more baggage. Read More
It’s unfortunate — but nevertheless political reality — that the Capitol almost never moves beyond money in its perpetual debate over how California’s 6 million-plus public school students should be educated.While money is certainly important, it’s just as certainly not the only factor, and likely not even the most important one, in how well students fare. Read More
Over the last decade, the expansion of school voucher programs — which let some students use taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private schools of their choice — slowed considerably.Losses in statewide referenda and in state supreme courts made vouchers an even tougher political sell than they had been in the past. Public charter schools became a less controversial reform, especially as a new group of Democratic lawmakers proved far more willing to embrace charters than vouchers. Read More
It’s amazing that more than three decades after its passage, Proposition 13 is still such a polarizing political symbol.
Those on the right revere Proposition 13 for slashing property taxes and making it more difficult to raise other taxes, while those on the left see it as political deviltry, denying sustenance to vital public services.
The left knows that a frontal assault would fail. Read More
So, the Supreme Court will decide Obamacare’s fate. After two years of political and legal battles, our highest court will decide whether to strike down all or part of Obamacare, or whether the federal government can claim unlimited power over each of our lives.
On Monday, the Supreme Court granted review (called "certiorari" or "cert") of several petitions arising from the Obamacare mega-case from Florida. Read More
Last month, President Barack Obama announced that the 1,200 U.S. troops working security on the Mexican border will stay through the end of the year. More than 17,000 border patrol agents are on duty along the 2,000-mile border, so the military’s contribution is relatively insignificant. Read More
San Francisco voters very narrowly passed road-repaving bond measure Proposition B. But borrowing money to fix roads — instead of paying for it with general-fund dollars — is like pouring gold into potholes. With the passage of Prop. B, we’ll fix our roads for a while, but not our general infrastructure maintenance mechanism in San Francisco. When all of the math is done, bond funding costs 2.5 times as much as funding from operating revenues. Read More
It’s been nearly three months since the California redistricting commission released its maps for 177 congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts.
They’re not quite final. A Republican-backed referendum to overturn state Senate maps is pending, with signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot being submitted this week. Read More