Commentary

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 organizations like the National Headliners Club, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, and the California Taxpayers Association. He has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize in distinguished commentary.

Elias is the author of two books, "The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government's Campaign to Squelch It" (now in its third edition; also published in Japanese and recently optioned for a television movie) and "The Simpson Trial in Black and White," co-authored with the late Dennis Schatzman. He is currently at work on a third book about his experiences with kidney failure and later as a kidney transplant recipient.

Elias was the West Coast correspondent for Scripps Howard Newspapers for 15 years before he began writing books. Among many other assignments in that position, he covered eight national political conventions; every planetary fly-by; the rise of the AIDS plague; several World Series, Olympics and Super Bowls; two papal visits; several national political campaigns; as well as conducting numerous investigative projects. His work has resulted in the unseating of two judges; helped create a major state park and cause significant changes in the federal treatment of immigrants. A former Asociated Press staff writer, he keeps his hand in spot news and feature reporting by serving between book projects as a regular contributor to Long Island Newsday and the national Cox News Service. He has made numerous radio and television appearances on such programs as the Today Show, CBS This Morning, the CBS Evening News, Larry King Live, Rivera Live and C-Span's Book TV.

Elias holds a bachelor's and a master's degree from Stanford University. He has taught journalism at the University of Southern California, California State University at Northridge, and two other Cal State campuses. He has been honored for his volunteer work by the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, the National Kidney Foundation and the Anti-Defamation League. He serves on the national advisory boards of the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation and the Center for Talented Youth, John Hopkins University.

Elias lives in Santa Monica, Calif., with his wife Marilyn, a health and science reporter for USA Today. They have one son, Jordan.

Southern California Focus

About a year from today — Jan. 26, 2016 — voters in New Hampshire will don parkas and trek through snowdrifts to tell the rest of America who should be running for president and who should not.

If the current large corps of potential candidates for retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s job look to some like a gaggle of political pygmies, it might have something to do with the proverbial 800-pound gorilla lurking in their living room. That would be Gov. Jerry Brown, who could most likely have the job for the asking.

For the past 20 years — ever since passage in 1994 of California’s abortive anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 — Democrats here and around the nation have increasingly depended on Latino votes.

The biggest nightmare of California’s largest utility companies may be about to begin playing out, thanks to a small irrigation district in San Joaquin County and a bunch of disgruntled customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

For many California drivers, there have been few worse plagues than the red-light cameras that once operated in more than 70 cities across the state.

Weeks, perhaps months, before taking their oaths of office for the statewide posts of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general and insurance commissioner, the five Democrats in those jobs plainly were thinking of runs for higher office.

After 12 years of favoring big utility companies over individual consumers, Michael Peevey has at last left the California Public Utilities Commission. But many of his ill-considered, some say corrupt, decisions will linger.

The reports came in from all across America during the midterm elections: electronic voting machines were flipping some votes from Republican to Democrat in some states and from Democrat to Republican in others.

The two major parties will be arrayed as usual when Gov. Jerry Brown looks out from the podium of the state Assembly chamber as he delivers his combination inaugural and State of the State speech, Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other.

If there’s one main reason for the distrust many Californians feel for government and elected officials at all levels, it may be the way special interests regularly pour millions of dollars into election campaigns while managing to mask or obscure their identities.

Few disputes fought out by student governments have been as acrimonious as the battles raging intermittently across this state on whether to push University of California regents and trustees of other universities to join an international campaign against Israel. This movement seeks to boycott Israeli companies and academics, demands divestment from companies doing business there and demands trade sanctions.

Neel Kashkari tried last fall to make high speed rail one centerpiece of a serious challenge to the reelection of Gov. Jerry Brown. Even though he staged events where he actually paid voters to smash model trains, his depiction of a “crazy train” never caught on as a significant issue.

More Thomas Elias Columns
Subscribe Today!