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Brown’s Water Plan Faces New Geographic Fight

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for a massive, $24 billion water project rests on the innocuously named Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which weighs in at a door-stopping 30,000 pages and took seven years to complete. An early version of the draft environmental impact report, released recently, killed another 20,000 pages worth of trees. In the interests […]

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Experts Know How Fragile Budget Figures Are

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Here’s the question that haunts everyone putting together a budget: What’s the difference between an estimate and a guess? The answer, all too often, is “not much.” The experts know that, which is why their prognostications often overflow with weasel words, such as “likely,” “barring,” “assumes,” “generally,” “based on limited data” and the like.

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Democratic Legislators Must Learn from the Past

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

If the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results,” Democratic legislators upset with Gov. Jerry Brown’s relatively parsimonious revised state budget seem bound to test that rule. No sooner had Brown released his May budget revise Tuesday morning than Democrats were complaining that the governor’s plan […]

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Maldonado Might Bring ‘Good’ Loss for GOP

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

In good news for the California Republican Party, it looks like Abel Maldonado has decided to take one for the team. Not that anyone will ever admit that, of course. Maldonado, who lost a race for lieutenant governor in 2010 and a Central Coast congressional contest last November, said all the right things last week […]

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No Guts in Sacramento to End “Gut and Amend”

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

“Stop me before I cave again.” That seems to be the rationale of California legislators who have no intention of ending the sneaky, sordid practice of “gut and amend,” where a bill is introduced on one subject and then months later has its original language stripped out and magically becomes a bill on something else […]

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Brown and Legislature Have Different Allegiances

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

There’s a reason California has a governor and state Senate Democrats are getting ready to show just what that reason is. When state Senate leaders said this week that they agree with Gov. Jerry Brown’s “fundamental goals and concepts” when it comes to school financing, everyone waited for the inevitable “but…” It wasn’t long in […]

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The Governor Gets Some Welcome Home Gifts

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Gov. Jerry Brown is back in California after a week-long business jaunt to China and found a couple of very nice welcome home presents waiting for him. First, there was Thursday’s announcement that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has settled its suit with Central Valley farmers over the route of the rail system. The agreement, […]

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Bill Lockyer Shows the Problem of Term Limits

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

For those Californians who remain convinced that term limits represent the solution to all the state’s problems, may I present state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. That would be former Assemblyman Bill Lockyer. And former state Sen. Bill Lockyer. And former Attorney General Bill Lockyer. And, if all goes according to plan, after next November’s elections, state […]

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Top-Two Challenges Good for California Voters

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

In newspapers, there’s an old saying: “Vote the story.” For reporters, that means when there’s a political choice between good government and good stories, well, there’s really no choice. In that vein, even the folks who don’t particularly like California’s new top-two primary system have to admit that it’s going to make elections a lot […]

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Reform Must Reflect Political Reality

John Wildermuth
Journalist and Political Commentator

Some critics appear to think California needs a better class of voters and candidates if the state is ever going to run the way it should. Problem is, we’re pretty much stuck with the people and politicians we got, which means we’ve got to play the cards we’re dealt. My colleague Joe Mathews had a […]

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