Redevelopment, a powerful and controversial tool that has remade — for better or worse — California’s urban landscape for the past six decades, will soon die. Or will it?
Two pieces of last month’s state budget package abolish the 400 local redevelopment agencies on Oct. 1, but allow them to remain in business if they agree to give big chunks of their property tax revenues to schools, thereby reducing the state treasury’s educational burden. Read More
When Gov. Jerry Brown canceled construction of an expensive death row at San Quentin State Prison ($400 million), it was a small victory for common sense.
The hundreds of men and a few women awaiting execution won’t actually be put to death, given the immense legal and operational impediments. Read More
The much-revised state budget that California Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have cobbled together solves their political problem, at least for the moment.It means a budget will be in place for the new fiscal year that begins Friday and the state can now ask bankers to buy billions of dollars in short-term revenue anticipation notes needed for cash flow purposes. Read More
If Republican legislators really wanted to discombobulate their Democratic rivals, they’d stop blocking the tax election that Gov. Jerry Brown wants.
Why? Because polling — including a new Field Poll — shows support slipping for taxes that Brown seeks to balance the state budget, an indication that voters would likely reject them.
Brown still wants the election, or at least says he does, to make good on last year’s campaign promise. Read More
The bedrock goal of any public elementary and high school system should be awarding high school diplomas to as many youngsters as possible.
Therefore, one might expect that with the tens of billions of dollars California spends each year to educate six million kids — and with the vital role schools play in the state’s social, political and economic health — we’d know how we’re doing. Read More
When voters were asked to create an independent redistricting commission, they were told it would end self-serving gerrymanders secretly drafted in the Capitol’s back rooms and thus make elections less predictable and more meaningful.
The 140-member commission and its consultants and attorneys are still fine-tuning draft maps of 153 congressional and legislative districts prior to Friday’s official release, but at first glance the maps appear to fulfill that promise. Read More
While California state legislators pay lip service to local decision-making, they also claim a divine right to intervene in local conflicts by siding with one faction or the other, even when it means overturning ordinary governmental and legal processes.
State Sen. Juan Vargas, who made it back into the Legislature last year by the skin of his teeth, embraces that dubious, time-dishonored practice with measures that would intervene in two local development flaps. Read More
Voters along Los Angeles County’s southern coast conducted a test run of the state’s new top-two primary-election system this month, and the outcome is a harbinger of next year’s elections in 153 newly redrawn congressional and legislative districts.
The special election in the 36th Congressional District was triggered by the resignation of Democratic Rep. Jane Harman. Read More
History should record the late 1970s as an era of pivotal socio-economic change in California — a new wave of international migration, a shift from an industrial to a post-industrial economy and a new baby boom.
Political events also abounded, topped by passage of Proposition 13, but including collective bargaining for public employees, expansion of mail-in voting, a decline in major-party registration and the eruption of crime as a powerful issue.
By happenstance, Jerry Brown Read More