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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.

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.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Technology, Government, Obama

Doubling H1-B Visas Via An End Run

Posted Feb. 8, 2015, 8:22 am

Green cards for spouses – that’s the latest quiet Obama Administration move to please and appease the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who constantly clamor for more H1-B visas to bring in cheap, skilled foreign labor.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Health, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Prospects Improve For Condoms-In-Porn Initiative

Posted Feb. 1, 2015, 8:58 am

For years, the loudest arguments against expanding a landmark Los Angeles law requiring condom use by adult film actors in sex scenes to the rest of California were financial and geographic:

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election, Santa Monica, Government, Politics

Governor Jerry Brown Could – But Won’t – Dominate Race To Replace Boxer In Senate

Posted Jan. 31, 2015, 8:40 am

If the current large corps of potential candidates for retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s job look to some like a gaggle of political pygmies, it might have something to do with the proverbial 800-pound gorilla lurking in their living room. That would be Gov. Jerry Brown, who could most likely have the job for the asking.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

Criminal Investigation For California Utility Regulators?

Posted Jan. 25, 2015, 9:28 am

Memo to United States Attorneys in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego: It’s high time you investigate the former president and some current members and officials of the California Public Utilities Commission for things like conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

News, California, Columnist, Police Department, Government

Why Latinos Are Key As Democrats Plot 2016 Strategies

Posted Jan. 24, 2015, 9:34 am

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

State Senator Ben Allen participated in a community swearing-in ceremony at Santa Monica High School on Saturday. The Honorable Holly E. Kendig, Superior Court Judge, administered the Oath of Office.

News, California, Election, Santa Monica

State Senator Ben Allen Sworn In At Alma Mater Samohi

Posted Jan. 23, 2015, 6:00 am

Newly elected California State Senator Ben Allen (Dem-26th District) chose his old campus of Santa Monica High School for his community swearing-in ceremony Saturday, hosting lawmakers and officials from across the region alongside students and grassroots campaigners for a night of community celebration.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

News, California, Government, Obama

Democratic Lawmakers React To President Obama's State Of The Union

Posted Jan. 21, 2015, 9:08 am

Democratic lawmakers representing California praised what President Obama said about the economy in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, though some disagree with a variety of foreign policy issues.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

California Red Light Camera Plague Abating A Bit

Posted Jan. 18, 2015, 9:18 am

For many California drivers, there have been few worse plagues than the red light cameras that once operated in more than 70 cities across the state.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Dining, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Foie Gras,With A Side Order Of Guilt

Posted Jan. 17, 2015, 9:06 am

Full Disclosure: At some point I may have eaten some foie gras; fattened goose liver thought by folks who like that sort of thing to be a delicacy. I know I’ve been in rooms where such items were presented, but I can’t testify as to whether I liked foie gras or not. I know as a kid I used to love a liverwurst sandwich with lettuce on rye bread, although we specifically ate the version known as Braunschweiger. I know, I know: This stuff right here is fascinating, but hang on.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Election, Columnist, Government

Tail Wags Dog Again In Presidential Race

Posted Jan. 17, 2015, 9:04 am

Almost exactly one year from today – Jan. 26, 2016 – voters in New Hampshire will don parkas and trek through snowdrifts to tell the rest of America who should be running for president and who should not.

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