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Development, Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: A Better Way To Unclog Congestion On Santa Monica Streets?

Posted Mar. 29, 2015, 12:01 pm

Dear Editor, Thursday afternoon, March 26, at 3:30 pm, I left my Emeritus class and drove from Arizona onto Ocean Avenue headed south. Construction had created gridlock. When at last I reached the next corner I turned left to try another route. But the cross streets were clogged by drivers who, like me, were trying to escape, as well as by more construction. On Second and Fourth Streets there was the same humongous blockage and it took me an hour just to get out of the downtown area.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Best California Budget Idea? Letting Sick, Elderly Convicts Go

Posted Mar. 29, 2015, 11:56 am

Sometimes it can take more than a decade for a completely sensible idea to catch on. So it is with what may be the single best money-saving idea in last year’s state budget, one that is just now beginning fully to take hold.

The former Santa Monica post office at the corner of 5th and Arizona.

Business, Opinion, Santa Monica, Usps

Post Office Dreaming: Future Of Our Venerable Postal Service Is In Jeopardy

Posted Mar. 28, 2015, 9:04 am

Wonderful mailman and mailwoman stories are the norm in Santa Monica. But post office stories are of long lines, waiting until it’s your turn and then having the person close for an unexplained reason, and counter clerks who often look as if being behind the counter is forced labor. Hard parking next to an industrial issue building adds to the many reasons people keep turning to other choices, more convenient choices, even if they are more costly.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Business, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Technology

How California Won By Losing $5 Billion Tesla Battery Plant

Posted Mar. 28, 2015, 9:00 am

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.

Santa Monica community activist Armen Melkonians.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter: The Residocracy Residents’ Petition To Protect Santa Monica

Posted Mar. 26, 2015, 8:48 am

Dear Editor, When government fails, it becomes time for individuals to act. Our local government has failed the residents of Santa Monica. The time for action is now!

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Politics

Intimidation Factor Could Cause A Harris Coronation

Posted Mar. 22, 2015, 9:21 am

It’s now a certainty that Kamala Harris will have an opponent on the November 2016 ballot. But much less certain is whether that opponent will be any more threatening that Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist who placed second in California’s 2012 Senate primary election, was to incumbent Dianne Feinstein.

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.

One of the ponies at the Santa Monica farmers market every Sunday.

Opinion, Farmers Market, Main Street, Santa Monica

Letter: Ending Pony Ride's Monopoly On Farmers Market A Step Forward

Posted Mar. 21, 2015, 8:31 am

Dear Editor: I am a resident of Santa Monica who has been involved in numerous grassroots animal welfare investigations over the past 10 years. I am writing today to express my sincere appreciation for the City Council's decision to open the bidding process to non-animal vendors, ending the pony ride's decade-long monopoly on the entrance to Santa Monica’s Main Street Farmers Market.

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.

The plane, piloted by actor Harrison Ford, crashed at 2:25 p.m. Thursday shortly after taking off from Santa Monica Airport.

News, Opinion, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Letter To The Editor: Harrison Ford Made Beautifully Executed Forced Landing

Posted Mar. 7, 2015, 9:43 am

Dear Editor, Actor and pilot Harrison Ford is good condition and resting comfortably after losing engine power shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport on Thursday, March 5.

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, Courts

Convicts Who Don't Deserve Parole Hearings

Posted Mar. 7, 2015, 9:02 am

Consider the criminal history of Bobby Beausoleil, 67, the latest follower of Charles Manson to come up for an automatic parole hearing.

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

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government, Politics

A Single Vote Really Does Count

Posted Feb. 21, 2015, 8:43 am

Barely 21 percent of eligible California voters cast ballots in last fall’s election, which means about 80 percent of the eligible populace should have no complaints even if they don’t like the performances of those who were elected for the next two or four years.

Health, Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica, Smmusd

Letter To The Editor: SMMUSD Health & Safety DAC Supports Vaccinations

Posted Feb. 17, 2015, 8:43 am

Dear Editor, We, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Health and Safety District Advisory Committee, strongly support the school district’s efforts in educating the public regarding the importance of vaccination given the recent cases of Measles we’ve seen in the district.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election

Initiative Carnival Coming Next Year

Posted Feb. 15, 2015, 9:39 am

If voters get annoyed and sick of seeing paid petition circulators outside their favorite big box stores during the next 15 months, they will have only themselves to blame.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Democratic Club Commends Immunization In Schools

Posted Feb. 14, 2015, 9:17 am

The Santa Monica Democratic Club executive board commends our new State Senator, Santa Monica’s favorite son and former SMMUSD Board President Ben Allen, for co-authoring legislation with Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who is a pediatrician, to repeal the personal-belief exemption that currently allows parents to decline on behalf of their children the immunizations schools require as a condition of attendance.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

News, Opinion, Celebrity, Santa Monica

Bruce Jenner’s Biggest Hurdle: Us

Posted Feb. 14, 2015, 9:12 am

At the risk of sounding as though I am way behind the curve and didn’t see it coming, we are now in a new age of information. Although our reliance on new devices and the Internet has facilitated the change I want to discuss, it is not necessarily at the heart of it. Ultimately, the change is in us: We are now officially without a means of prioritizing the category of information that we used to refer to as “the news.”

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

California Tax Overhaul Plan Has Potential

Posted Feb. 14, 2015, 9:10 am

Rarely does a freshman state senator propose anything substantial during his or her first few days in office. But Robert Herzberg, elected last fall from a safe Democratic district in the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles, is hardly a typical newbie.

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