Commentary

Southern California Focus

By Thomas Elias

Stymied House Demos may give state a real Senate race

Democrats in Congress will never say so publicly, but they know they have little or no hope of taking back control of the House of Representatives until 2022 at the earliest.

Most of gas-price surge is likely due to gouging

There is absolutely no doubt about a few facts surrounding the gasoline price surge Californians experienced in late winter and early spring.

When a fine is only half a fine

Only minutes after an announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission would fine the state’s largest utility company $1.6 billion for violating state and federal gas pipeline safety standards, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it would not appeal the decision.

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.

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 meadow that usually is covered in deep snow on the date Brown walked through it.

State business climate is pretty good, stock market says

The drumbeat from Republican politicians, governors from Texas and Florida and from independent relocation consultants seems constant: California’s business climate stinks; high taxes and heavy regulation are driving businesses and jobs out of this state.

Smell of fear as utilities commission lawyers up

The strong odor this spring surrounding California’s most powerful regulatory commission stems not only from corrupt-seeming decisions, but also from fear. Fear that past and present members or top staffers of the state Public Utilities Commission might do jail time. Fear they could see personal fortunes decimated by legal fees while fending off state and federal criminal investigations.

Court frustrates voters' will on 'Jessica's Law'

It was no surprise when Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law, passed in 2006 with better than a 2-1 majority.

Desalination looks better as water prices rise

"Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink…” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1798, in the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Political ad disclosure could fight low voter turnouts

Politicians have come up with myriad alleged reasons for the dismal voter turnouts seen across California in this spring’s municipal elections — not even reaching 10 percent of eligible voters in the state’s biggest city, Los Angeles.

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.

Fast work leads Harris toward Senate coronation

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.

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Thomas Elias

Columnist and author Thomas Elias writes a syndicated politcal column appearing twice weekly in 70 newspapers around California, with a circulation of over 1.89 million. He has won numerous awards from ...

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