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Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Business, Opinion, California, Santa Monica

California Business Climate: Market Says It’s Pretty Good

Posted Apr. 19, 2015, 8:46 am

The drumbeat from Republican politicians, governors of states like 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.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Drought

Both Logic & Illogic In Governor Jerry Brown’s Drought Plans

Posted Apr. 18, 2015, 9:12 am

There is both sense and nonsense in the $1 billion drought relief package announced by Gov. Jerry Brown in a parched Sierra Nevada Mountains meadow that usually is covered in deep snow on the date Brown walked through it.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Why We Need Activity Centers

Posted Apr. 15, 2015, 9:15 am

Dear Editor, When I moved to Santa Monica over 15 years ago, I chose to live near Wilshire, a few blocks away from Von’s market. This choice provided access to transit and a grocery store to walk to.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Why I Support Santa Monica Forward

Posted Apr. 15, 2015, 8:47 am

Dear Editor, I am very happy to be a part of a community in which not only does the city provide amazing resources that are not available in other places but the civic engagement is astounding. Santa Monica is a place where community members truly care. I was not born here, nor did I grow up here but I am still a Santa Monican.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: All Our Children Deserve The Best Chance At A Great Start

Posted Apr. 13, 2015, 9:51 am

Dear Editor, This week, the Council will consider the first comprehensive update of our zoning ordinance in more than three decades. This document should reflect the values of our community. Equitable access to safe, affordable, high quality early childhood education for working families is truly indispensable for our community.

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.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Santa Monica Forward? Hardly

Posted Apr. 11, 2015, 11:08 am

Dear Editor, Pardon me if I don’t cue my violin and sing the praises of the so-called ‘community’ group ‘Santa Monica Forward’ as it launches its altruistic crusade to create a ‘progressive, sustainable, diverse and inclusive’ future for our city.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter: Response To "The Psychology Of Santa Monica Development"

Posted Apr. 11, 2015, 10:26 am

Psychology in the service of the dark side is not new - and it's also not pretty. Rather than having a civil and rational discourse about differences of opinion with regard to land use and development policies in Santa Monica, Ms. Gordon, a supporter of the newly launched pro-development group “Santa Monica Forward,” while admitting she doesn't know it all, has gone so far as to diagnose those who do not share her opinion. To her, we are:

Latest Santa Monica Airport news.

Opinion, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Ted Lieu, Karen Bass Suggest Facilitating Meeting Between City, FAA In Washington, D.C.

Posted Apr. 5, 2015, 8:56 am

Dear Mayor McKeown and City Councilmembers: As Members of Congress for California's 33rd and 37th Congressional Districts, we represent constituents living directly adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport (SMO). Over the years, we have met with neighborhood groups and individuals near and around SMO, and we are deeply troubled by the effects that operations at the airport are having on our constituents. As you know, Santa Monica voters expressed their disapproval of the airport by emphatically rejecting Measure D to keep the airport open, despite massive corporate spending in support of that measure.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Desalination Looks Better As Water Prices Rise

Posted Apr. 5, 2015, 8:15 am

The reality confronting millions of Californians as they cope with yet another lengthy episode in a seemingly endless series of droughts is that – like Coleridge’s mariner – this state has billions of acre feet of water clearly visible every day in the form of the Pacific Ocean and its many bays and estuaries.

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

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Postal Service 'Financial Crisis' Is Largely An Artificial Crisis

Posted Apr. 4, 2015, 9:29 am

Dear Editor, Given the public concern over the fate of Santa Monica’s historic post office and over the broader plans for reducing service – ending Saturday and door-to-door delivery, slowing the mail – Mirror readers were well served by Susan Cloke’s recent column on the U.S. Postal Service.

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.

Opinion, Santa Monica, Housing

Letter To The Editor: Santa Monica Is For Everyone

Posted Mar. 31, 2015, 9:36 am

Dear Editor, Santa Monica always has been in the forefront of protecting and producing affordable homes. When Santa Monica passed its landmark rent control law on April 10, 1979, we took a bold step to preserve affordable housing for seniors, families and others. In 1990, when we passed Measure R, we codified our commitment by mandating that 30 percent of all new housing be affordable.

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.

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