Let’s begin with the bedrock principle that voters deserve full disclosure of who’s giving money to whom for what.
In fact, we’d be much better served to make full and immediate disclosure of campaign funds our sole regulation of political money, rather than the complex melange of federal and state laws, regulations and court decisions that now purport — but fail — to protect the political process. Read More
A late-blooming, business-backed drive to significantly alter the 42-year-old California Environmental Quality Act died late last week when it crashed into a wall of opposition from influential environmental groups.
That wasn’t the official reason, of course. Rather, legislative leaders insisted that putting off CEQA modification was a good government decision not to rush something so significant. Read More
Given its record on other issues, such as the deficit-ridden budget, it’s not surprising that the California Legislature doesn’t handle scandal very well.It almost always ignores internal scandal, including its members who run afoul of criminal laws. It’s difficult to say how outrageous a legislator’s conduct would have to be to earn censure. Mass murder, perhaps? Read More
As California’s Legislature churns toward Friday’s deadline for a new state budget, the macro-issues are well known, such as whether health, welfare and child care services should be slashed by billions of dollars to close the deficit.
However, other aspects of the budget wrangle go largely unnoticed, such as the march into secrecy — or, more accurately, sneakiness. Read More
California’s public schools received a rare bit of good news Tuesday when Gov. Jerry Brown largely exempted them from automatic reductions in state aid, citing improvements in the economy.However, Brown’s declaration that the economy is getting better and he doesn’t have to squeeze all automatic spending-cut “triggers” also lessened the air of crisis and therefore complicated Brown’s efforts to persuade voters to raise taxes next year. Read More
Jerry Brown made a rare gubernatorial appearance this month before a joint legislative committee that was delving — with obvious reluctance — into whether California’s public employee pension benefits should be overhauled.While seeking his second stint as governor last year, Brown had pledged pension reform and has since offered a 12-point overhaul that attempts to strike a middle ground between the defenders of the status quo and the radical changes that outside groups want. Read More
Jerry Brown sought his second stint as governor last year by promising to balance California’s deficit-riddled budget without gimmicks.
“Our state is in a real mess, and I’m not going to give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don’t go anywhere,” Brown said in one ad. “We have to make some tough decisions.” Read More
The politics of workers’ compensation, which provides aid to those with job-related illnesses and injuries, resemble medieval Europe’s perpetual wars.
Employers, labor unions, insurers, medical care providers and attorneys who specialize in compensation claims continuously plot strategy to capture greater shares of the multibillion-dollar system. 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
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?That ancient philosophical — or would it be biological? — question has a political counterpart in California. Read More