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Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

News, California, Santa Monica

Michael Peevey Departure Not Enough: Clean Out Entire PUC

Posted Oct. 27, 2014, 7:46 am

Sighs of relief were audible all around California the other day, when the embattled, disgraced Michael Peevey announced he would not seek reappointment to a third six-year term as president of the powerful California Public Utilities Commission.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

News, California, Santa Monica

A GOP Statewide Win Probably Won't Happen

Posted Oct. 25, 2014, 9:59 am

These are days of optimism, maybe even delusion, for the California Republican Party, which hasn’t won a statewide race of any kind since 2006.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist

Propositions 45, 48: Two Obvious 'Yes' Votes

Posted Oct. 19, 2014, 9:26 am

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Proposition 1 water bond on next month’s ballot will pass easily: Every poll shows it with almost a 2-1 lead heading into the vote and the opposition has virtually no money for television commercials.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Prop. 46: Voters Decide Who Might Get Rich, Stay Rich

Posted Oct. 18, 2014, 9:47 am

Of all the issues in Proposition 46, an omnibus measure on next month’s ballot aiming to improve patients’ rights in several health care areas, money is the one that counts most.

News, Health, California, Santa Monica

State Health Official: No Cases, Or Suspected Cases, Of Ebola In California

Posted Oct. 16, 2014, 8:33 am

There are no cases or suspected cases of Ebola in California, and the risk of the spread of virus in the state "is very low,'' a state health official said Wednesday.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Desultory Jerry Brown Effort Raises Questions

Posted Oct. 12, 2014, 10:32 am

Just like this fall, there was a desultory quality – some called it murky – to the way Gov. Jerry Brown campaigned two years ago for his pet Proposition 30, which raised sales taxes a smidgen while considerably upping income tax levies on the wealthiest in order to bail out schools and a few other state services to the tune of $6.5 billion a year.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Environment, Business, Opinion, California, Columnist

Alas, Plastic Bag; We Knew Ye Well

Posted Oct. 11, 2014, 9:42 am

Maybe at the top here we can agree that there are two general categories of environmental legislation. First, there’s a kind of proper ‘Boy Scout’ action that has a wonderful quality of engaging the public and offering high visibility while it is enforced.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

New Initiative Law In California Makes Far Too Few Fixes

Posted Oct. 11, 2014, 9:32 am

From the rhetoric Gov. Jerry Brown employed on it, you’d think a law he signed early this fall would clean up the initiative process for all time.

News, California, Santa Monica, Government

Signature Gathering Approved For Attempt To Overturn Plastic Bag Ban

Posted Oct. 11, 2014, 9:15 am

Opponents of a recently signed law banning the use of single-use plastic bags received permission today from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn it.

News, California, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Democratic Club Statewide Ballot Measure Results

Posted Oct. 9, 2014, 8:40 am

Here are the results of the Santa Monica Democratic Club Statewide Ballot Measure Endorsement Meeting held Wednesday night.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

PUC Chief: Likely First Test Of Governor Jerry Brown's New Term

Posted Oct. 5, 2014, 8:53 am

How concerned will Gov. Jerry Brown be with the well-being of ordinary Californians in the new term he’s widely expected to win next month (the latest major poll has him leading his opponent by a 54-33 percent margin)? How much will he pander to the interests of large corporations?

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Politics

Republican Nominee Neel Kashkari's Fire May Give Him A Future

Posted Oct. 4, 2014, 6:45 am

No candidate likes to admit in October that he has virtually no chance to win the office he’s running for. So it is today with Neel Kashkari, the Republican nominee – read: sacrificial lamb – who is Gov. Jerry Brown’s reelection opponent.

News, California, Santa Monica

California Plastic Bag Ban Bill Approved; Bill To Go Into Effect January 2015

Posted Sep. 30, 2014, 9:50 am

Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law Senate Bill 270 which will phase out single-use plastic bags in the state of California. The bill was joint authored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach).

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Why Six Californias Failed: It's A Lousy Idea

Posted Sep. 28, 2014, 8:55 am

There is little doubt about why the putative “Six Californias” ballot initiative that Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper hoped to put on the 2016 ballot failed: It was and is a terrible idea.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election, Santa Monica

The Big Reason California Water Bond Will Pass: It Should

Posted Sep. 27, 2014, 8:54 am

The outcome is rarely certain when state government asks voter permission to spend $7.5 billion of the taxpayers’ money, but it’s also unusual for a ballot proposition to win as wide a range of support as Prop. 1 already had more than a month before the Nov. 4 Election Day.

News, California, Election, Santa Monica

State Republicans Vote To Back Two Measures On November Ballot, Oppose Two

Posted Sep. 22, 2014, 5:27 am

Delegates to the California Republican Party convention voted on Sunday to oppose initiatives on the November ballot on health insurance and sentencing while supporting a water bond and a measure on the state's "rainy day fund."

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Why Democrats Will Have A Lock On California For A While

Posted Sep. 21, 2014, 6:29 am

It was lawbreaking, both proven and alleged, that ended the Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate. Republicans and their efforts had nothing to do with it. Until state Sens. Roderick Wright of Los Angeles, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco encountered serious legal problems, Democrats had more than two-thirds of the seats in both houses of the Legislature for almost the first time ever.

Sports, Opinion, California, Santa Monica

The NFL: The New Vatican?

Posted Sep. 20, 2014, 8:10 am

This just in: The ranks of professional football players include many large and muscular men who are prone to acts of violence. We’ll have more on this sudden and totally unexpected revelation, but first our top story: Gosh, it’s hot outside! Is there something going on with the climate of the planet?

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Tesla 'Loss': California Evades A Massive Giveaway

Posted Sep. 20, 2014, 8:08 am

There are very few Americans who need welfare and government support less than Elon Musk, the hyper-creative head of the Tesla Motors electric car company, the Space X rocketry and satellite hoisting firm and Solar City, a leader in renewable energy.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Education

Teacher Tenure Becomes Key California Campaign Issue

Posted Sep. 13, 2014, 7:30 am

For three months, the time bomb that is the Vergara vs. California court decision lurked in the background as two of this fall’s major political contests gradually took shape.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

If Not Six Californias, How About One, Sovereign CA?

Posted Sep. 6, 2014, 8:59 am

Two years from now, Californians will not only be thinking about electing a U.S. senator, 53 members of Congress and a President, but most likely also about the possibility of carving up their state into six new ones.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Time For California Utility Execs To Start Worrying

Posted Aug. 31, 2014, 8:57 am

Executives of California’s large privately-owned utility companies don’t usually have to worry about much. Their companies enjoy virtual monopolies in vast regions, their profits are guaranteed, their shareholders are generally assured of regular dividends – which means they can count on collecting large salaries indefinitely.

Benjamin Kay says he comes across the same single-use culprits in the ocean: plastic films/wrappers, grocery store bags, and balloons that look like jellyfish, which he collects one to two times a week when he surfs off Bay Street.

News, California, Santa Monica, Heal The Bay

Heal The Bay-Backed Plastic Bag Ban Bill Passes Both Houses Of Legislature

Posted Aug. 30, 2014, 9:26 am

Sending a powerful message nationally that the plastic pollution plague can be abated, California state legislators on Friday night approved landmark legislation that bans the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies statewide.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Signs Indicate California Recovery Will Last

Posted Aug. 30, 2014, 8:55 am

There are still skeptics who maintain the California economy remains in recession, that talk of economic recovery amounts to whistling past the proverbial graveyard when unemployment remains above 7 per cent.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Government

Tesla Has California Walking A Tightrope

Posted Aug. 24, 2014, 8:55 am

And so California government now walks a tightrope, put in that position by one of the latest in the large corps of successful high-tech startups this state has spawned over the last few decades.

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