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Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Will California Evade New Base Closure Round?

Posted May. 17, 2015, 9:06 am

When former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked Congress last year to authorize a new round of military base closings, alarm bells went off in many parts of California.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Santa Monica, Columnist

Not Quite Post-Diversity

Posted May. 16, 2015, 10:50 am

The tragically continuing events in various cities involving police and African American citizens has pushed the notion of a “post-racial” America back a few steps, to say the least. One might even observe that the struggle for civil rights in the 1960’s was essentially “Black Rights and Votes Matter”, and now we need to remind ourselves that “Black Lives Matter.”

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica

Stymied House Democrats May Give California A Real Senate Race

Posted May. 16, 2015, 9:12 am

Democrats in Congress will never say so publicly, but they know they have little or no hope of taking back control of the House of Representatives until 2022 at the earliest.

One of the ponies at the Main Street Farmers Market in Santa Monica.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Op-Ed: The Real Story Behind The Pony Ride At Main Street Farmers Market

Posted May. 13, 2015, 9:18 am

Despite attorney Don Chomiak's suggestion that I somehow single-handedly ended the shackled pony ride at the Main Street farmers market, most of us are savvy enough to know that one voice is only that -- one voice. In reality, over 2,000 people signed my petition calling for the closure of the animal exhibit that had been the subject of controversy since 2005, when neighbors conducted a year-long protest against tethering ponies to a metal bar to force them to circle a tiny circumference for hours, shoeless on concrete, often in the sun.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Z... Is For Zoning

Posted May. 12, 2015, 9:55 am

Dear Editor, Admit it. You probably think Zoning is pretty dull. And I feel your pain, because it is. But the Zoning Ordinance Update is also the most important decision facing our City Council right now and will change our city more than anything else over the next 15 years. The good news is you’ll know everything you need to know about it by the end of this letter.

Tawni Angel has filed a lawsuit against pony-rights activists in Santa Monica.

Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Main Street, Santa Monica

Op-Ed: Tawnis Ponies & Petting Farm Ends Tenure At Main Street Farmer’s Market

Posted May. 12, 2015, 9:49 am

Dear Editor, This past Sunday, Tawnis Ponies and Petting Farm, Inc. ended its 12-year tenure at the Main Street Farmer’s Market. Last September, the Santa Monica City Council voted to give preference to non-animal activities at the market once Tawni’s contract ended this month. In expelling Tawnis Ponies, the Council ignores the will of the people in the fine tradition of cronyism.

Opinion, Santa Monica, Education, Smmusd

Letter: Call To Action To Support SMMEF, Enriched Curriculum At Santa Monica Schools

Posted May. 10, 2015, 9:33 am

Dear Editor: Thanks to the district-wide fundraising by Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF), John Muir students and teachers have a breath of fresh air at our school: Classrooms are now staffed by Teacher and Aide; Teachers receive on-going professional training; and students receive specialized support in reading.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

This 'Tax' May Be About To Rise

Posted May. 10, 2015, 9:07 am

If a committee of legislators or U.S. Senators whose most influential members were under criminal investigation ever considered raising taxes on Californians by significant amounts, protests would be non-stop and cacophonous.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Are Anti-Semitism, Out-Of-State Tuition Linked?

Posted May. 9, 2015, 9:26 am

There is no doubt dependence on the higher tuition paid by out-of-state and foreign students has become established policy at the University of California. Now some believe this may be leading to the unintended consequence of an upsurge of anti-Semitism on campuses like Berkeley, Davis, UCLA and Riverside.

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

Most Of Gas Price Surge Likely Due To Price Gouging

Posted May. 3, 2015, 10:19 am

There is absolutely no doubt about a few facts surrounding the gasoline price surge Californians experienced in late winter and early spring.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Beach, Santa Monica, Columnist

Old Ideas Are Nude Again When It Comes To Women Bathing Topless On Beaches

Posted May. 2, 2015, 9:24 am

Sorry to race right to the finale, but … there will not be any nude or “topless” sun bathing on Venice Beach. Not because of any lack of support for rights or women having parity in the ability to cast off their tops… but because I am offering this sensible list of "Top 10 Reasons There Will No Topless Bathing at Venice Beach."

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Columnist

When A Fine Is Only Half A Fine For Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s $1.6 Billion Tab

Posted May. 2, 2015, 9:18 am

Only minutes after an announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission would fine the state’s largest utility company $1.6 billion for violating state and federal gas pipeline safety standards, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it would not appeal the decision.

Latest SMMUSD news.

Malibu, Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica, Smmusd

An Open Letter To The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board Of Education

Posted Apr. 29, 2015, 10:01 am

Dear Editor, As members of the Malibu community, we are greatly troubled by the manner in which district officials have publicly addressed the enrollment decline in Malibu schools, characterizing the problem as "demographic."

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter: Dispensary Location Appropriateness Vs. Patients' Reasonable Safe Access

Posted Apr. 26, 2015, 9:10 am

Dear Editor, Santa Monicans for Safe Access (SAMOSA) should like to comment on your article Santa Monica Zoning Ordinance Update Meetings: Childcare, Cannabis, Cars & Capacity published on April 17. Your article mentioned that the permissible areas where a medical marijuana dispensary might be located are, essentially, along Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds. East of Lincoln. In fact, it is far more restrictive than that.

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.

California Incline detours that are now in effect through Spring 2016.

Development, Opinion, Santa Monica

The “Big Three” Santa Monica Construction Projects

Posted Apr. 25, 2015, 9:39 am

The California Incline closed to traffic on Monday, April 20. I made the circuit of the “Big Three,” the three construction projects that have Santa Monicans talking about traffic. Walking from the under construction light rail station at 4th and Colorado, along the under construction Colorado Esplanade, and up Ocean Avenue to the under construction California Incline. All three projects have an estimated end date of Spring 2016.

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.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Why We Need Activity Centers

Posted Apr. 15, 2015, 9:15 am

Dear Editor, When I moved to Santa Monica over 15 years ago, I chose to live near Wilshire, a few blocks away from Von’s market. This choice provided access to transit and a grocery store to walk to.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Why I Support Santa Monica Forward

Posted Apr. 15, 2015, 8:47 am

Dear Editor, I am very happy to be a part of a community in which not only does the city provide amazing resources that are not available in other places but the civic engagement is astounding. Santa Monica is a place where community members truly care. I was not born here, nor did I grow up here but I am still a Santa Monican.

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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: All Our Children Deserve The Best Chance At A Great Start

Posted Apr. 13, 2015, 9:51 am

Dear Editor, This week, the Council will consider the first comprehensive update of our zoning ordinance in more than three decades. This document should reflect the values of our community. Equitable access to safe, affordable, high quality early childhood education for working families is truly indispensable for our community.

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.

Steve Stajich, Columnist

Opinion, Music, Santa Monica, Columnist

Pop Music From Jay To Z

Posted Apr. 12, 2015, 11:43 am

We didn’t know how simple and uncomplicated we had it back in the day. You would hear a song – say from the new Crosby/Stills/Nash album – on the radio. (Radios were boxes that... just Google it). You liked the song. Maybe it even made you think of someone at school you’d been romantic with or wanted to be romantic with. So you went to Sears or Kmart or some other very American, very acceptable mall store and you bought the LP and paid full retail.

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.

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