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Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Most Of Gas Price Surge Likely Due To Price Gouging

Posted May. 3, 2015, 10:19 am

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

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Beach, Santa Monica, Columnist

Old Ideas Are Nude Again When It Comes To Women Bathing Topless On Beaches

Posted May. 2, 2015, 9:24 am

Sorry to race right to the finale, but … there will not be any nude or “topless” sun bathing on Venice Beach. Not because of any lack of support for rights or women having parity in the ability to cast off their tops… but because I am offering this sensible list of "Top 10 Reasons There Will No Topless Bathing at Venice Beach."

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

When A Fine Is Only Half A Fine For Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s $1.6 Billion Tab

Posted May. 2, 2015, 9:18 am

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.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Broad New Vaccination Law Is A Must

Posted Apr. 26, 2015, 8:10 am

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.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Can Automatic Registration Increase Voter Turnout?

Posted Apr. 26, 2015, 8:08 am

No sooner had Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed a new law automatically making a registered voter of every person who applies for or renews a drivers license in her state than California’s top elections official jumped on the idea.

Mirror columnist Barbara Bishop.

Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

Eat, Sleep, Pray In Santa Barbara

Posted Apr. 25, 2015, 9:32 am

For years, my friends have told me to spend a weekend by myself. A weekend to clear my head, focus on and create what I want to do for the rest of my life, and get spiritually centered.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Smell Of Fear As Utilities Commission Lawyers Up

Posted Apr. 12, 2015, 11:45 am

The strong odor surrounding California’s most powerful regulatory commission this spring 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.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Music, Santa Monica, Columnist

Pop Music From Jay To Z

Posted Apr. 12, 2015, 11:43 am

We didn’t know how simple and uncomplicated we had it back in the day. You would hear a song – say from the new Crosby/Stills/Nash album – on the radio. (Radios were boxes that... just Google it). You liked the song. Maybe it even made you think of someone at school you’d been romantic with or wanted to be romantic with. So you went to Sears or Kmart or some other very American, very acceptable mall store and you bought the LP and paid full retail.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Courts

Court Frustrates Voters' Will on 'Jessica's Law'

Posted Apr. 11, 2015, 11:25 am

It was no surprise when Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law, passed in 2006 with better than a 2-1 majority. The issue, as stated in the ballot summary, was where convicted sex offenders should be allowed to live, no matter how long ago their offenses. The plain wish of the vast majority of voters is that these people become pariahs for life, unable to live anywhere near any potential victims.

Mirror columnist Barbara Bishop.

Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

Frown Lines: Go Away!

Posted Apr. 10, 2015, 8:46 am

So the other day, I was looking in the rearview mirror, and I caught a glimpse of myself. The sun was shining on my face, the cool breeze blowing softly. Sounds lovely, yes? Not.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

'Disclose Act' As Antidote To Dismal Vote Turnouts?

Posted Apr. 4, 2015, 9:12 am

Politicians have come up with myriad alleged reasons for the dismal vote 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.

Dr. Alia Tuqan is a board-certified geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program in Santa Monica and Westwood. For more information, call 310.319.4371 or visit

News, Health, Ucla, Santa Monica, Columnist

Filtering The Facts On Kidney Health

Posted Mar. 28, 2015, 9:15 am

March is “National Kidney Month,” highlighting the role of our kidneys in maintaining overall health and the importance of keeping them healthy. This month’s column covers kidney health and disease and what can be done to protect these vital organs.

Mirror columnist Barbara Bishop.

Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

How I’m Getting My Groove Back - Dance Lessons

Posted Mar. 28, 2015, 9:10 am

A couple of months ago, I won a series of ballroom dance lessons – the grand prize from a raffle drawing at a luncheon I attended.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist, Santa Monica Airport, Smo

Harrison Ford Crashes Into Santa Monica Airport Issue

Posted Mar. 21, 2015, 8:46 am

People are often inclined to notice that something that has long needed fixing finally gets attention when either a celebrity or a person with other kinds of power is impacted by the issue. Even Dick Cheney softened in 2013 when his daughters went public with a disagreement over gay marriage.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Will Lawyer Hiring Lead To Lower Utility Rates In California?

Posted Mar. 21, 2015, 8:39 am

It’s now possible that mid-February will be remembered for years to come as a fateful time in the century-long history of the California Public Utilities Commission. That’s when, without offering any legal justification, the five commissioners spent public money to hire a criminal lawyer.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Water

Confusion Sets In Over California Ground Water Law

Posted Mar. 15, 2015, 8:46 am

It’s beginning to look like the hosannas that greeted California’s first-ever groundwater regulation law were a tad premature when it passed late last summer.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

A California Comeback For Gerrymandering?

Posted Mar. 14, 2015, 9:11 am

Way back in 1811, almost 40 years before California became a state, then Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry engineered a congressional redistricting plan guaranteed to let his Democratic-Republican Party control his state’s congressional delegation.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Bleeding Stops On One Arnold Schwarzenegger Blunder

Posted Mar. 8, 2015, 6:00 am

California has bled many millions of dollars because of the myriad blunders by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who probably should have remained a muscleman actor and never ventured into politics.

City Council voted to ban exotic animal handlers from exhibiting their reptile and exotic bird pets at Palisades Park near the Pier entrance. The ordinance goes into effect next month.

City Council, Opinion, Parks, Santa Monica, Columnist

Santa Monica City Council: Snakes On A Plan

Posted Mar. 7, 2015, 9:04 am

We often anguish over decisions involving animals here in Santa Monica, such as the recent business involving pony rides at the Main Street farmer’s market.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Time To Examine Conspiracy In Peevey-PUC Scandal

Posted Mar. 1, 2015, 7:54 am

California attorney general's agents wasted no time after this column in late January called for a criminal investigation of the former state Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey. Less than five days later, investigators executed a search warrant at Peevey’s primary home in La Canada Flintridge.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government, Politics

Condoleezza Rice's Poll Standing: Star Power Still A Political Factor

Posted Feb. 28, 2015, 8:27 am

Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration and now a Stanford University professor, has stated very clearly she would rather attend college basketball games and help choose the college football playoff teams than be a U.S. senator.

More than 1000 Norwegian Muslims form a 'Ring of Peace' around an Oslo synagogue after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen and Paris.

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist, Religion

What Say You? Yousef Bittar: An American Muslim

Posted Feb. 28, 2015, 8:16 am

“Chanting ‘No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia,’ Norway’s Muslims formed what they called a ring of peace a week after Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, killed two people at a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen last weekend,” the New York Times published on Feb. 21.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Go Slow On Trans-Pacific Partnership Pact

Posted Feb. 22, 2015, 8:53 am

References to trade agreements were some of the very few passages during President Obama’s State of the Union speech late last month that moved Republicans to stand and applaud along with Obama’s Democratic Party allies.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Health, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Prospects Improve For Condoms-In-Porn Initiative

Posted Feb. 1, 2015, 8:58 am

For years, the loudest arguments against expanding a landmark Los Angeles law requiring condom use by adult film actors in sex scenes to the rest of California were financial and geographic:

(Left) Name: Theo. Lives: Santa Monica. Wearing: Adidas sneakers. (Center) Just moved to Santa Monica from Sweden.Wearing: Baseball socks from American Apparel/flower hair band. (Right) Names: Ryan and Rich. Lives: Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica. Wearing: Sunglasses from Eyes On Main / Paul Smith sneakers.

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist, Fashion

Clothing Honor Wears Thin In Santa Monica

Posted Jan. 31, 2015, 8:47 am

We can all relax now, because the results are in: Santa Monica is the best-dressed “suburb” in America. Whew! Yes, it was close there for a while when it was announced that Mukwonago, Wisconsin was “The Culottes Capital of the Midwest” and then there was that kerfuffle concerning bib overalls and whether they had to necessarily be “paint and dirt-free” to qualify as sportswear, but we came out victorious.

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