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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.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Health, Opinion, California, Columnist

Is Vaccination Order Linked to Pertussis Epidemic?

Posted Jul. 13, 2014, 9:05 am

For almost seven months, California parents have been free to claim without offering any proof that their religion forbids getting their children vaccinated against once dreaded and disabling diseases like polio, mumps, pertussis and smallpox.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Environment, Opinion, California, Columnist

Ranchers Coming Around On Global Warming

Posted Jul. 12, 2014, 8:20 am

The chorus of global warming deniers has not shrunk. Outcries claiming the entire issue is fraudulent are not going away.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Early California Prison Releases A Political Hazard, Too

Posted Jul. 6, 2014, 8:55 am

From early in his career, Gov. Jerry Brown has had a proclivity for dismissing problems with wisecracks or aphorisms. As early as 1975, in the first term of his first go-‘round as California’s top official, he mocked university professors’ pleas for pay raises by saying they didn’t need more money, but could make do with “psychic rewards.”

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Governor Jerry Brown Gets New Chance To Make Over California Supreme Court

Posted Jul. 5, 2014, 9:08 am

For more than a decade, while California has been among the most liberal of America’s “blue” states, its highest court has been dominated by leftovers from two of its more conservative governors.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Will California Lawmakers Kill Energy Independence Moves?

Posted Jun. 29, 2014, 8:55 am

Nothing is more important to California’s large privately-owned utilities than the virtual monopolies they enjoy in most of the state.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Will California Power Companies Start “Robbing The ‘Hood’”?

Posted Jun. 22, 2014, 8:57 am

For decades, Californians who use the most electricity have paid extra for that privilege, on the theory that high prices might provide an incentive for them to use less.

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