Calderon’s FBI Woes Hurt Other Politicians

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

With the ugly news coming from the FBI’s investigation into state Sen. Ron Calderon, you’ve got to feel sorry for California politicians. Not for Calderon, mind you. Remembering Joel Fox’s words in this space Thursday that the Montebello legislator is innocent until proven guilty, Calderon’s well-known penchant for testing the ethical edge had left plenty […]

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Soda Wars and the Nanny State

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

It’s one thing to tell people they should eat their vegetables, but it’s quite another to ban everything but carrots and broccoli from the dinner table. But for many of state’s lawmakers, making rules about what Californians can and can’t eat is just part of their job description, convinced as they are that politicians know […]

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High-Speed Rail Faces Inevitable Complaints

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Here’s the first rule all new council members learn: The sewer plant has to go somewhere. And the neighbors are never going to be happy about it. Substitute “high-speed rail line” for “sewer plant” and you see one of the main problems the $68 billion construction project is facing. A lot of folks who should […]

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ACLU Pot Panel Puts Plan Ahead of Evidence

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Well, the backers of a new effort to legalize marijuana in California learned at least one thing from the unsuccessful 2010 effort to make the state safe for dope smokers: It’s better not to have a pot dealer as the face of your initiative. When the ACLU of California announced last week that they would […]

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New Primary Rules Force Politicians to Think

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

For those folks still saying California’s primary election changes aren’t doing a thing, take a look at the House vote to end the government shutdown. Seven of California’s 15 GOP congressmen (and yes, they are all men), went against the majority of their Republican brethren and supported the Senate plan to end the House GOP-led […]

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Campaign Finance Battles Won’t Go Away

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Campaign finance is in the news again as the U.S. Supreme Court took another look last week at who should be allowed to get how much from whom. Regardless of whether the justices decide in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission to overturn the current federal limits on combined contributions to individual candidates over a two-year […]

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Governor Gives New Life to Once-Vetoed Bills

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

If at first you don’t succeed, be glad Jerry Brown is governor. In at least five cases this year, Brown has given legislators a mulligan, signing versions of bills he either vetoed or dissed in the past. In four cases, it was government working the way it’s supposed to, with legislators getting together with the […]

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Time to Settle the Prison Overcrowding Dispute

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Gov. Jerry Brown is still batting .000 against the federal judges dealing with the state’s prison overcrowding suit and it doesn’t look like his slump is going to end anytime soon. Despite the governor’s angry words and continuing court battles, it’s past time to sit down with all parties and try and work out the […]

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Good Legislators Make the Tough Decisions

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

No one can be a good legislator unless he is willing to give up the job. If hanging on to that seat in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., — or on any city council or county board in the state, for that matter — is the focus of a political career, that officeholder is a hack, […]

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Prison Compromise, Working or Not, Is Good Politics

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

The absolute best political compromise is one where even if everything goes wrong, there’s someone else out there to blame. Which brings us to the prison deal Gov. Jerry Brown cut with state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg this week. For those who haven’t been following, judges all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court have […]

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