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Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Government

Porter Ranch: Could This Be A New San Bruno?

Posted Jan. 3, 2015, 7:47 am

A flood of lawsuits began within weeks after a huge, still-ongoing leak of natural gas arose in late October from a Southern California Gas Co. storage facility 1,200 feet above the Porter Ranch area in the northern reaches of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

New California Motor Voter Law: Don't Expect Mass Election Fraud

Posted Jan. 2, 2015, 9:01 am

California’s new “motor voter” law has now taken effect, even if it’s not yet in massive use, and so far the sky has not fallen.

News, California, Government

Handful Of New Laws Take Effect Today Across California

Posted Jan. 1, 2015, 12:44 pm

While everyone is out celebrating New Year’s Day, Californians should take note of new laws that will take effect as of today, January 1, 2016.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Politics

Why Lies Don't Hurt Donald Trump

Posted Dec. 27, 2015, 9:53 am

There’s a simple answer to the question of why the seemingly constant lying of presidential candidate Donald Trump has not cost him much, if any, of his standing among Republicans likely to vote in this spring’s primary elections.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Ad For California Pot Czar: New Form of Reefer Madness?

Posted Dec. 26, 2015, 7:50 am

It surely looked like reefer madness was back the other day, when the state began advertising for a new medical marijuana czar. The timing of the listing, coming while a dozen proposed ballot initiatives to legalize recreational pot are pending, appeared to suggest an assumption by Gov. Jerry Brown and his administration that at least one will pass.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Public Utilities Commission Descends Into Comic Opera

Posted Dec. 20, 2015, 7:00 am

For many years, California’s powerful Public Utilities Commission has conducted Kabuki-style dances with the multi-billion-dollar corporations it regulates. But the latest significant commission decision amounts to a descent into comic opera.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Voters May Get Questions Of What's A Pension, Who Should Get Them

Posted Dec. 13, 2015, 9:08 am

Ballot initiative campaigns don’t usually center around definitions, but the question of what’s a pension and what’s not is one battle over definitions that’s very likely to face voters this fall.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Flailing California GOP Knows How Bad Off It Is

Posted Dec. 12, 2015, 9:17 am

Rarely has a political party flailed in as many futile ways as California’s branch of the Republican Party.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Syria Refugee Vote A Roadmap To 2016 Election

Posted Dec. 7, 2015, 8:57 am

Anyone looking for a roadmap showing which of California’s 53 congressional district elections will be tight next year need look no farther than how the state’s House Democrats voted last month on a bill that would essentially halt a federal plan to take in tens of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Education

UC Heeds Its Critics; Will Take More Californians

Posted Dec. 5, 2015, 9:37 am

After more than three years of steadfastly denying the increased enrollment of foreign and out-of-state students could endanger the very California identity of the University of California, it's stunning and encouraging to see the 10-campus system do an about face.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Education

Good News, Bad News In Latest School Test Scores

Posted Nov. 28, 2015, 9:20 am

There was good news and bad news – and in other ways no news at all – in the latest results of standardized tests given each year to California public school students.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Government

San Mateo Shows Likely Future Of California Voting

Posted Nov. 22, 2015, 9:29 am

At about 8:05 p.m. Nov. 3, anyone in San Mateo County who cared knew that its (almost) all-mail election was a resounding success.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Pump Prices Down A Bit, But Gas Gouging Continues

Posted Nov. 15, 2015, 9:25 am

The days when oil companies could credibly deny they’re gouging California drivers just because they’ve dropped pump prices a bit appear now to be over.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Education

Anti-Semitism Issue Becomes Test For UC Chief

Posted Nov. 14, 2015, 9:09 am

It’s rather doubtful that Janet Napolitano worried much when she first heard vandals scrawled swastikas and the message “Jews to the gas chamber” inside a restroom on a University of California campus.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Fire Department, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Firefighting Doubletalk: More Fodder For Government Distrust

Posted Nov. 8, 2015, 7:43 am

Many Californians now deeply distrust state government, and with good reason. Start with the Public Utilities Commission, proven to have decided multi-billion-dollar rate cases after lengthy private contacts and email exchanges between commissioners, their staff and utility executives.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Insurance Arrangement Shows PUC Hasn’t Change

Posted Nov. 7, 2015, 7:46 am

State commissions, like people and corporations, rarely change unless they’re given strong motivation; sometimes change has to be forced on them.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

California, Get Set For Wild Run For Governor

Posted Nov. 1, 2015, 7:21 am

Just over one year from today, Californians will be focused on helping elect the next president and picking their next U.S. senator.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Education

Exit Exam Demise Cheapens High School Graduation

Posted Oct. 31, 2015, 8:28 am

The single easiest bill for California legislators to pass this year probably was Senate Bill 725, giving about 5,000 high school students the ability to graduate without taking the state’s high school exit exam, which suddenly became unavailable when they tried to take it in July.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

PUC Reform Vetos Send Wrong Message

Posted Oct. 25, 2015, 9:12 am

There’s something crazy when the most powerful agency in California government spends an entire year mired in scandal caused in large part by inadequate controls over the activities of its key people – and not a single reform emerges.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Making It Easier To Seek Death Than Longer Life

Posted Oct. 24, 2015, 8:02 am

Gov. Jerry Brown may not have been aware of what he was doing, but a combination of his signatures and vetoes on bills passed by the Legislature will make it easier for desperately ill persons to seek death in California than to attempt to live longer.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Water, Drought

New California Water Battle Pits Marijuana Versus Fish

Posted Oct. 18, 2015, 7:21 am

As the state moves toward taxing marijuana growers for the first time, those same growers also are starting to face restrictions on water...

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Prop. 47 Looking Like A Well-Intentioned Blunder

Posted Aug. 30, 2015, 10:36 am

The more time goes by since last fall’s passage of the high-minded Proposition 47, the more it begins to look like a well-intentioned mistake.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Politics

Anti-Semitism Issue Again Confronts UC Regents

Posted Aug. 29, 2015, 9:05 am

Back in June, the president of the University of California promised on national radio that the UC Board of Regents would vote in its next meeting – in July – on whether to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Politics, Gas Prices

Huge Oil Company Gains A Sign Of Gas Price Gouging

Posted Aug. 23, 2015, 9:56 am

The days when oil companies could easily deny they’ve gouged California motorists through much of this year should have ended with the second-quarter financial reports of Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., which together control about 40 percent of the California gasoline market.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Politics

Canoe Theory At Work In Governor Jerry Brown's CEQA Exemption Deals

Posted Aug. 22, 2015, 7:58 am

Gov. Jerry Brown has never professed to be the model of political or ideological consistency. In fact, he’s a decades-long advocate of the “canoe theory” of politics, which goes like this: You paddle a little to the left and you paddle a little to the right, and you keep going straight down the middle of the steam.”

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