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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.

Allison Hastings, Rotary president George Collins, speaker Matthew Fienup, and Rotary VP of Programs Len Lanzi.

News, California, Santa Monica, Water, Rotary Club

Santa Monica Rotarians Hear From Expert About State Water Crisis

Posted Apr. 24, 2015, 8:59 am

The guest speaker at last Friday’s April 17 Santa Monica Rotary Club meeting enlightened the Rotarians on a hot topic: the state water crisis. Although the issue is consistently in the news, speaker Matthew Fienup, who holds a master’s degree in economics from UCSB and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in a relevant field, offered a unique mindset from the viewpoint of an economist.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Santa Monica city water is now used at all city functions.

News, California, Santa Monica, Water

Santa Monica Urges Water Customers To Reduce Use

Posted Apr. 4, 2015, 9:59 am

In January 2015, the Santa Monica City Council adopted an updated Water Shortage Response Plan and re-declared a stage two water supply shortage, requiring mandatory conservation.

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.

Executive Editor Brenton Garen interviews 50th District Assemblyman Richard Bloom.

California, Video, Santa Monica, Film, Government

VIDEO PART 1/2: Assemblyman Richard Bloom Discuss Film Tax Legislation

Posted Apr. 2, 2015, 10:22 am

In part one of this “In the Chair” episode, editor Brenton Garen sits down with Assemblymember Richard Bloom as he discusses the film tax legislation to keep Hollywood business in California.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Santa Monica councilwoman Pam O'Connor.

News, California, Transportation, Santa Monica

Pam O'Connor: Delayed SoCal Transportation Infrastructure Critical

Posted Mar. 14, 2015, 9:35 am

Southern California officials joined state lawmakers in Los Angeles on Friday to talk about ways to tackle billions of dollars in delayed maintenance on highways, bridges, streets and other transportation infrastructure.

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.

Daylight saving time arrives at 2 a.m. Sunday.

News, California, Santa Monica

Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour Tonight

Posted Mar. 7, 2015, 10:19 am

The weekend is going to be one hour shorter than usual, thanks to the beginning of daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday.

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, 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.

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.

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