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

Ideas come fast every time California endures a drought of several years. Each time, some of them are accepted and put into use, thus making the next drought a bit easier to handle.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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