October 23, 2009
There is no more politically explosive issue in California than water, so we understand why it has taken a while for the Legislature to come up with a deal on how to fairly conserve, distribute and store it. But enough already. Legislative leaders have, according to insiders, resolved the most important issues on a series of bills to repair the state's crumbling water infrastructure, preserve ecosystems in the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, mandate a 20% cut in per capita usage by 2020, create new storage facilities, monitor groundwater supplies and develop new penalties and enforcement mechanisms on illegal diversion.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2011 |
The difference between a full-time and a part-time Legislature is four weeks. And those four weeks begin today. It would behoove our lawmakers during the next month to show us what they've got, besides full-time pay ($95,000) and perks ($142 in tax-free per diem seven days a week while in session). There's an increasing clamor in California for rolling back the clock 45 years and returning the Legislature to part-time status. A recent Times-USC poll found that 65% of voters favored making the legislators part-timers and cutting their pay. That sentiment was shared by voters of all stripes and locales.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 28, 2004 |
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing an assault on the institutional power of California legislators after a month of contorted state budget negotiations in which his clout was questioned and his ideas were rejected. The Republican governor may call a special election next year asking voters to, among other things, convert the Legislature to part-time status, strip legislators of their power to draw their own districts and restrict campaign contributions, his spokesman said Tuesday.
September 12, 2011
Legislators got the right result by the wrong process when they approved an expedited judicial review for AEG's much-discussed downtown Los Angeles football stadium. The project is too important, and the state's system for reviewing such projects too flawed, to allow procedure to stand in the way of progress. Nevertheless, it's bad policy to offer special treatment to certain projects; it raises questions of favoritism and corruption to have the Legislature engage proposals one at a time rather than passing laws that apply equally to all. That's why the next business of this Legislature needs to be a comprehensive review of the California Environmental Quality Act. Now more than 30 years old, CEQA is the mainstay of the state's vaunted environmental protection regime.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - Surely it was just a casual throwaway line. Regardless, Gov. Jerry Brown deserves to have it thrown back at him. There are too many things that rub wrong - even rankle - about the governor scolding the Legislature to "man up" and cut state services. First, unlike when Brown was governor the first time in the '70s, the Legislature today is 28% female. (Back then, 8% tops.) Are the women of the Legislature supposed to man up too? Just a throwaway thought. Second, there seems to be something inappropriate about proclaiming that it's manly to cut services for the politically weak: poor welfare moms striving to become self-sufficient and old disabled people who need help at home so they can avoid costly nursing homes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2011 |
Lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature on Friday gave a preliminary blessing to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget, which calls for deep cuts to state services and counts on voters to approve billions of dollars in taxes later this year. The legislators made relatively minor changes to the governor's $84.6 billion spending proposal. Some differences remain on cuts in home healthcare services and healthcare for the developmentally disabled, as well as on Brown's proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies.
July 6, 2010
Between the disastrous budget years that helped push Gov. Gray Davis from office in 2003 and the disastrous budget years that have plagued the second term of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, there was one year — 2006 — when everything seemed rosy. The mortgage market was booming, the economy was humming, and the governor proposed a budget that continued to pay down Davis-era debt. Democrats in the Legislature instead tried to use some of that money for program expansions. As usual, they and the governor locked horns, but gently, given the comfortable level of revenue expected.
June 19, 2013 |
Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the Legislature are getting pay raises. The little-known California Citizens Compensation Commission voted Wednesday to permit 5% salary increases for all statewide elected officials, the 80 members of the Assembly and the 40 members of the Senate. Should we be outraged? We should not. The question at hand shouldn't be whether these politicians deserve pay raises or indeed whether they deserve any salary at all. That's something we as voters answer at the ballot box. Public officials' pay is not, and should not be, awarded like a letter grade based on performance.
June 5, 2012 |
On what political tout sheet is North Carolina listed as a swing state? Because it looks like it's already swung, and not in the direction of the Democrats, who hold their convention there in September. First came last month's vote to put a ban on same-sex marriage in the state's Constitution (a San Diego church has put up a billboard in Charlotte, the site of the Democratic convention, apologizing for the "narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative" vote). Now the state's Legislature is considering a law that would, for all intents and purposes, give all the legislators doctorates in climatology.
October 20, 2013 |
RALEIGH, N.C. - Roy Cooper is in a very lonely place. He's a Democratic state attorney general surrounded by conservative Republicans who control North Carolina state government. Now those Republicans have put Cooper in an awkward spot. He has publicly condemned GOP-sponsored laws on voter identification and gay marriage, yet must defend those same laws in court. Further complicating matters, Cooper plans to run for governor in 2016. That has prompted Republican charges that he's more interested in being governor than upholding North Carolina's laws.