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Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Politics, Gas Prices

Huge Oil Company Gains A Sign Of Gas Price Gouging

Posted Aug. 23, 2015, 9:56 am

The days when oil companies could easily deny they’ve gouged California motorists through much of this year should have ended with the second-quarter financial reports of Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., which together control about 40 percent of the California gasoline market.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Politics

Canoe Theory At Work In Governor Jerry Brown's CEQA Exemption Deals

Posted Aug. 22, 2015, 7:58 am

Gov. Jerry Brown has never professed to be the model of political or ideological consistency. In fact, he’s a decades-long advocate of the “canoe theory” of politics, which goes like this: You paddle a little to the left and you paddle a little to the right, and you keep going straight down the middle of the steam.”

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Lines Blur Further Between Citizens, Non-Citizens

Posted Aug. 16, 2015, 9:07 am

Almost no one seemed to notice last month, when California’s new budget took effect, that yet another distinction between citizens and non-citizens was breached. Voting now is about the only area left with a clear line between legal immigrants and citizens. Even for the undocumented, there are few privileges or rights they can't now enjoy.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

Is Santa Monica News ‘Weird’? Let’s Ask Donald Trump!

Posted Aug. 15, 2015, 8:23 am

I don’t honestly believe any one community can corner the market on crazy. It’s true that, as a kid growing up, I would enjoy Johnny Carson’s opening monologues about weird events that seemed to always take place in California.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Marijuana Harm Ignored In Push For California Legalization

Posted Aug. 15, 2015, 8:15 am

Four potential ballot initiatives completely legalizing marijuana are in the works for California’s next general election, with pot advocates yet to choose the variation that will get their concerted push.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Los Angeles, Health, Opinion, California, Columnist

Condoms-In-Porn A Lock For 2016 Ballot

Posted Aug. 9, 2015, 9:36 am

The ballot initiative carnival predicted when it became clear how few valid voter signatures would be needed to qualify measures for next year’s November ballot is now officially underway.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Government

Latino Fears On Loss Of Clout May Be Correct

Posted Aug. 8, 2015, 9:09 am

Fear and anxiety have been in the air around California’s Latino political leaders in the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments next fall in a Texas case challenging the 51-year-old legal and political doctrine of one-person, one-vote.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Electric Agency Nod A Reward For Going Along With Corruption?

Posted Aug. 2, 2015, 9:03 am

California consumers can be excused if they’re beginning to wonder whether Gov. Jerry Brown cares a whit about blatantly corrupt conduct by some of his appointees to very high state offices.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Celebrity, Santa Monica, Politics

Bill Cosby & Donald Trump: “Waiter, My Check Please!”

Posted Aug. 1, 2015, 9:14 am

It happens all the time. You’ve gone out to dinner and enjoyed a nice meal. But in the last few minutes, a six-top table of softball team members just sat down next to you and now the energy they’re exuding in their triumph over a rival team is more than you wish to share. Or maybe the evening’s musical entertainment just started, and you’re not staying for all six minutes of “Sweet Home Alabama.” So you ask for your check. You want to leave. You want to exit from the noise and its related volume.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Gas Prices

Gas 'Shortage' Doesn't Stop Exports From California

Posted Aug. 1, 2015, 9:11 am

On June 25, just one week before many California motorists began paying upwards of $4.30 per gallon for gasoline, the Bahamian-flagged tanker Teesta Spirit left Los Angeles headed for ports on the west coast of Mexico carrying more than 300,000 barrels of gasoline refined in California.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Time For Sanity In Sanctuary City Policies

Posted Jul. 26, 2015, 9:04 am

There is no need – at least not yet – for total abandonment of the humane aspects of the immigration “sanctuary” laws now on the books in 276 American cities, counties and states. But in the wake of the seemingly random murder of a 32-year-old woman on San Francisco’s touristy Pier 14, not far from the landmark Ferry Building, there is surely a need for new sanity in sanctuary policies.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Politics

Donald Trump As The New Pete Wilson

Posted Jul. 25, 2015, 8:34 am

As Donald Trump, real estate mogul, TV star and Republican presidential candidate, made a whirlwind mid-July trip around the West in his private, blue-painted Boeing 767 jet, it almost seemed like he was trying to sabotage his own party. This was before he went off on the military record of the GOP icon, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Will Prop. 47 Turn Out To Be A Fire Hazard?

Posted Jul. 19, 2015, 9:32 am

Bobby Burns couldn’t have known it, but as California approaches what many experts forecast to be the worst wildfire season on record, his description of how good intentions can go awry, not always turning out as planned, might come into play here soon.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

Santa Monica Pier Group Pressure To Perform

Posted Jul. 19, 2015, 9:29 am

“What time is it?” In answer to the trademark question posited by funk band The Time’s leader Morris Day, it’s time for the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series of the summer. That’s the good news: One of the more successful free public event series in our city got off to a rousing start when Day and The Time finally hit the stage last Thursday July 9.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

News, Opinion, Santa Monica

‘Robbing The Hood’ Ruling Shows PUC Unchanged By Scandal

Posted Jul. 18, 2015, 8:43 am

It’s time once more to roll out the lyrics of The Who’s classic 1971 song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” when examining the California Public Utilities Commission, which nominally exists to make sure monopoly utility companies don’t overcharge their captive-audience customers.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Health, Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Vaccination Vacillation Shows Governor Jerry Brown's Pragmatism

Posted Jul. 12, 2015, 9:37 am

“A foolish consistency,” the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted, “is the hobgoblin of little minds,” and no one has ever accused Gov. Jerry Brown of being small minded. So why be surprised when he completely reverses himself as he did the other day on vaccinations?

Do you have a Letter to the Editor? Email

News, Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

SMCLC Proposes Changes To Inadequate Santa Monica Lobbying Ordinance

Posted Jul. 11, 2015, 10:41 am

Dear City Council, As a matter of good governance and transparency, SMCLC strongly supports Santa Monica enacting a much-needed ordinance requiring the registration and timely reporting of paid lobbyists.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

About Time To Meter Ground Water Wells In California

Posted Jul. 11, 2015, 10:12 am

Water flows downhill. It’s a basic reality now playing out 500 feet below the surface of California’s farmland everywhere from the fertile Central Valley to the citrus orchards of Riverside and San Diego counties.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist, Government

Public Says It Likes Split Roll, May Get No Vote On It

Posted Jul. 5, 2015, 7:00 am

Firm Republican opposition to tinkering of any kind with the 1978 Proposition 13 is one reason voters may get no chance next year to decide whether or not to tax commercial and industrial land and buildings more than residential property.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

Dear Mom & Dad: Could I Please Not Be Sick?

Posted Jul. 4, 2015, 6:21 am

At a certain point in the chronology of science fiction films, things turned and “the future” wasn’t always represented as being wonderful and full of zippy monorails and smooth clothing with white turtlenecks. Instead, right around the release of “Blade Runner”, the future became dystopian. Murderous robots, mutants, flesh eaters, and horrific plagues. And that was if you lived in the good part of town.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

News, Opinion, Santa Monica

PUC Reform Bills Too Little,Too Late

Posted Jul. 4, 2015, 6:18 am

It’s the same with the state Public Utilities Commission these days as with almost everything else: by the time state legislators notice something is a problem, things are so bad, so extreme that other people and agencies have already acted.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Long Wait Looms For GOP Congress Gains In California

Posted Jun. 28, 2015, 9:02 am

Few things gall California Republicans more than realizing they hold just 14 of this state’s 53 seats in Congress. That’s only 26 percent of California’s representatives, while the opposition Democrats, with a mere 14 percent more registered voters, hold 39 seats, or about 74 percent.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Lawn Replacement In California: Mixed Bag Of Good, Bad Effects

Posted Jun. 27, 2015, 7:42 am

Listen to water officials from Gov. Jerry Brown down to local officials and you’d think replacing lawns with drought-resistant plants or artificial turf is a pure good, no negatives involved.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

Santa Monica: Land Of The Giants

Posted Jun. 22, 2015, 9:35 am

In general, there’s a human tendency to want to be associated with winners. Last Tuesday I cheered on the Golden State Warriors, who would ‘bring it’ in the form of a pretty exciting game 6 finale to the NBA Championship, simply because the Warriors are based in California.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Columnist

Vergara Time Bomb Still Hangs Over California Public Schools

Posted Jun. 21, 2015, 8:53 am

Like a time bomb, the court decision in Vergara v. California has been mostly dormant since the last election season ended in November 2014. But its explosive potential remains as large as ever.

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