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News, California, Election, Santa Monica

State Republicans Vote To Back Two Measures On November Ballot, Oppose Two

Posted Sep. 22, 2014, 5:27 am

Delegates to the California Republican Party convention voted on Sunday to oppose initiatives on the November ballot on health insurance and sentencing while supporting a water bond and a measure on the state's "rainy day fund."

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Why Democrats Will Have A Lock On California For A While

Posted Sep. 21, 2014, 6:29 am

It was lawbreaking, both proven and alleged, that ended the Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate. Republicans and their efforts had nothing to do with it. Until state Sens. Roderick Wright of Los Angeles, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco encountered serious legal problems, Democrats had more than two-thirds of the seats in both houses of the Legislature for almost the first time ever.

Sports, Opinion, California, Santa Monica

The NFL: The New Vatican?

Posted Sep. 20, 2014, 8:10 am

This just in: The ranks of professional football players include many large and muscular men who are prone to acts of violence. We’ll have more on this sudden and totally unexpected revelation, but first our top story: Gosh, it’s hot outside! Is there something going on with the climate of the planet?

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Tesla 'Loss': California Evades A Massive Giveaway

Posted Sep. 20, 2014, 8:08 am

There are very few Americans who need welfare and government support less than Elon Musk, the hyper-creative head of the Tesla Motors electric car company, the Space X rocketry and satellite hoisting firm and Solar City, a leader in renewable energy.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Education

Teacher Tenure Becomes Key California Campaign Issue

Posted Sep. 13, 2014, 7:30 am

For three months, the time bomb that is the Vergara vs. California court decision lurked in the background as two of this fall’s major political contests gradually took shape.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

If Not Six Californias, How About One, Sovereign CA?

Posted Sep. 6, 2014, 8:59 am

Two years from now, Californians will not only be thinking about electing a U.S. senator, 53 members of Congress and a President, but most likely also about the possibility of carving up their state into six new ones.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Time For California Utility Execs To Start Worrying

Posted Aug. 31, 2014, 8:57 am

Executives of California’s large privately-owned utility companies don’t usually have to worry about much. Their companies enjoy virtual monopolies in vast regions, their profits are guaranteed, their shareholders are generally assured of regular dividends – which means they can count on collecting large salaries indefinitely.

Benjamin Kay says he comes across the same single-use culprits in the ocean: plastic films/wrappers, grocery store bags, and balloons that look like jellyfish, which he collects one to two times a week when he surfs off Bay Street.

News, California, Santa Monica, Heal The Bay

Heal The Bay-Backed Plastic Bag Ban Bill Passes Both Houses Of Legislature

Posted Aug. 30, 2014, 9:26 am

Sending a powerful message nationally that the plastic pollution plague can be abated, California state legislators on Friday night approved landmark legislation that bans the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies statewide.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Signs Indicate California Recovery Will Last

Posted Aug. 30, 2014, 8:55 am

There are still skeptics who maintain the California economy remains in recession, that talk of economic recovery amounts to whistling past the proverbial graveyard when unemployment remains above 7 per cent.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist, Government

Tesla Has California Walking A Tightrope

Posted Aug. 24, 2014, 8:55 am

And so California government now walks a tightrope, put in that position by one of the latest in the large corps of successful high-tech startups this state has spawned over the last few decades.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Film

Porn Leaves Los Angeles: Cue Small Violins

Posted Aug. 23, 2014, 9:16 am

All right, first of all… you have to make pornography somewhere. I’m not saying you have to make pornography; I’m saying if you are going to make pornography, you likely need someplace to make it. Production of “adult video,” which for many years has been headquartered nationally in “the Valley,” appears to be tapering off.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Politics

Top Two Changing Runoff Votes In California, Not Just Primaries

Posted Aug. 23, 2014, 9:14 am

When California voters adopted the “top two” primary election system four years ago via Proposition 14, they meant to make state politics more moderate, to ease some of the sharp divides between Republicans and Democrats that led to legislative and budgetary gridlock.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Changing Local Election Dates: Democrats Seek More Domination

Posted Aug. 17, 2014, 8:51 am

No one knows better than Democratic Party politicians that voters who tend to support them are at high tide in November general elections during even-numbered years when offices like President and governor and U.S. senator are at stake.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

President Obama Risks Alienating Latinos From Democrats

Posted Aug. 16, 2014, 6:00 am

For the last 20 years – ever since passage in 1994 of California’s abortive anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 – Democrats here and around America have increasingly depended on Latino votes.

News, Real Estate, California, Santa Monica

California Housing Affordability Index Falls In Second Quarter

Posted Aug. 13, 2014, 9:13 am

The housing affordability index, which measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home in California, fell in the second quarter, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

No Getting Away From Corruption In State Government?

Posted Aug. 10, 2014, 8:36 am

To some, it seems almost as if California has lately become New Jersey West. Incidents of possible corruption and conflict of interest are seemingly exposed at least once a month these days, with almost no consequences for anyone involved.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Politics

Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein: Different Routes In Backing Israel

Posted Aug. 9, 2014, 8:49 am

Few things in a rather absurd world are more deserving of ridicule than the United Nations Human Rights Council, a 47-nation group that includes some of the world’s leading human rights violators, from China and Cuba to Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to take just a few in alphabetical order.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Anti-Citizens United Prop. 49: Hobson's Choice For Voters

Posted Aug. 3, 2014, 8:48 am

Whichever way Californians vote this fall on Proposition 49, which aims to convince Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on political fundraising, they will send a dangerous message to the rest of America.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Environment, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

What We Don't Know About The Drought In California - Plenty

Posted Aug. 2, 2014, 8:57 am

We know a fair amount about the drought that has now afflicted California for about three years: It has been the driest period since record-keeping began in the 19th Century. If their wells are deep enough, farmers can still pretty much pump all the ground water they like, while homeowners can be fined up to $500 for watering down a walkway. Water use actually rose after Gov. Jerry Brown asked for a voluntary 20 percent cutback.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election, Santa Monica

Higher Turnout & Other Fall Election Certainties

Posted Jul. 27, 2014, 10:44 am

Make no mistake, the fall election season began on the evening of June 3, just as soon as the primary election polls closed. But no one has spent much on the election since then, nor has the vast majority of voters focused on any issues to be decided in November.

News, Business, California, Santa Monica

Albertsons To Buy Safeway - And Its Vons Stores In Southern California

Posted Jul. 26, 2014, 9:01 am

A gigantic supermarket takeover with big impacts in Southern California is headed to federal regulators for approval today, as Albertsons is buying Safeway -- and its Vons stores.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Will History Repeat In Child Immigrant Crisis?

Posted Jul. 26, 2014, 8:49 am

For some people familiar with the history of the runup to World War II, there’s a sense of déjà vu in today’s humanitarian crisis along the Mexican border these days, as resistance rises against the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children attempting to enter and stay in the United States.

News, Real Estate, California, Santa Monica

Equity Home Sales Reach Highest Level In California Since Housing Crisis Began

Posted Jul. 23, 2014, 9:28 am

Equity home sales -- standard sales in which a seller has equity in the property being sold -- in June reached their highest level in California since the housing crisis began, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Red Light Camera Fate Now Uncertain In California

Posted Jul. 20, 2014, 8:56 am

There are few worse feelings for a driver than receiving a letter purporting to show that person in the act of running a red light.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election, Santa Monica

Election Focus: Changing Of The Political Guard

Posted Jul. 19, 2014, 8:53 am

For a state that has long been a symbol of youth, there’s been a lot of age among California’s preeminent politicians of the last decade. But that began to change in 2012, and the shift accelerated this summer as many of the old guard chose not to brave the “top two” primary system that threatened to expose them to serious intra-party challenges.

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