09/23/2019

News

Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Ten Years And Counting

A lot has changed in California politics over the last ten years. We have gone from a novice celebrity governor to a seasoned hand to our first Gen X executive. We’ve seen record budget deficits and record surpluses. We have transitioned to a plurality Latino state and have seen the gap between haves and have-nots […]

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For Many Workers, ‘Gig Economy’ Has A Dark Side

The expanding gig economy in California is often praised for giving workers flexibility and independence. Be your own boss, set your own schedule, companies tout, and these companies would like us to think that drivers, cleaners and personal shoppers actually prefer the gig economy to traditional employment. The rosy spin ignores the reality for California’s […]

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Renewable Gas Really Is Too Good To Be True

As California ramps up efforts to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide, one polluting industry, in particular, is fighting to maintain relevance. In the face of local governments, state regulators, health professionals, and environmental groups calling for clean energy homes and buildings that can be powered with renewable electricity instead of gas, […]

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Electric vehicles in the fast lane

Toward that end, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order in January calling for 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2030 – a giant increase from the 350,000 on the road today. He also proposed a $2.5 billion initiative that will bring 250,000 vehicle charging stations and 200 hydrogen fueling stations to the […]

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Latino economics, political clout linked

“The bottom line: If you see a growing Latino middle class, you will see a growing Latino representation in government,” said Mike Madrid, a veteran political strategist and author of a study by the newly formed California Latino Economic Institute. The CLEI report, which looks into economic as well as political issues, was jointly commissioned by the Legislature’s Latino Caucus and the California Business Roundtable.

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California poverty: The high cost of just about everything

High energy costs then translate into high costs of food and supply since suppliers have to buy electricity and gas, Mayes said. Because of the high costs, companies that offer good-paying marketing jobs don’t want to expand into California. This makes it hard for people with limited education to find high enough wages. “We don’t have the jobs that pay for those who didn’t go to Stanford or UCLA or didn’t go to Berkeley or didn’t get a degree in computer science and life science,” he said.

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Repairing California’s Bumpy Roads

Six months after Gov. Jerry Brown called for a special session of the Legislature to fix the state’s crumbling roads, the potholes are just as deep, the motorists are just as irritated and the multibillion-dollar cost is just as high.

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Special Session: Fixing the Potholes

For months, groups representing labor, contractors, local governments, transportation interests and others worked on legislation to revamp the state’s roads and ease the movement of freight at the state’s ports. The bill, which would use the $1 billion collected annually in truck weight fees for road work, awaits action on the Senate floor. The measure may be converted to a special session bill and serve as the centerpiece of the legislative session.

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Opinion: Stock Market Soars–and So Do Public Pension Costs

Despite the bull market, the state’s other big pension fund, the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS), recently imposed a 50% increase in pension costs on local and state governments, and there will be more.  The diversion of government revenues to pension costs explains in part why, despite record revenues higher than before the Great Recession, state spending on social services, courts, parks, universities and other programs is lower.

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Amnesty for Traffic Fines, Court Fees in Brown’s Budget

Gov. Jerry Brown, who got nailed for parking in a yellow zone, is pushing an amnesty program for millions of California drivers caught in what he called a “hellhole of desperation” from spiraling legal fines and fees.

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California Urged to Resolve Delta, Water Issues–Fastt

Pat Mulroy, the former leader of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, delivered a bluntly worded warning to attendees at the California Water Policy Conference in Claremont, saying the linkage between the Delta and much of the West is clear, “yet many here in California still don’t see the connection.”

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Major New Cuts Eyed for Greenhouse Gases

The principal author of that legislation, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has introduced a new bill, SB 32, requiring greenhouse gases to be cut to 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. The plan would come under the jurisdiction of the Air Resources Board.

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Cap-and-Trade: Transportation Fuels on the Block

Opponents of the auctions, led by business interests, believe the transportation fuels auction will force companies to pass on their costs to consumers, resulting in higher prices.

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January Looms, Fuel Fight Heats Up

Absent changes, gasoline and diesel fuel beginning in January will be covered under a state auction program that requires petroleum companies to obtain carbon emission credits in order to continue to operate as they gradually choke off their greenhouse gases. The minimum cost of those credits, or allowances, is unknown, but experts believe they may be in the range of $12-to-$13 each, with each credit covering a ton of carbon emissions. Millions of credits may be sold and that cost is likely to be passed on at the pump. During a recent sale, emission allowances were selling at $11.34.

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District by District, Data Tells the Tale in California

While most indicators signal an economic upswing in California, the reality facing many residents of the Golden State is simple: On the ground, the recovery is still sluggish. Nowhere is that more apparent than in a newly developed database that includes detailed economic information on each of California’s 120 legislative districts and 58 counties.

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