Newsom’s a mixed bag so far

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

As Gavin Newsom disposes of the last few bills from the 2019 legislative session, he more or less closes the book on his first year as governor and it’s an appropriate moment for a progress report. Overall, he’s had a moderately successful rookie season. He made some progress on some of his campaign promises, but […]

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44-year political battle flares anew

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California’s longest-running single-issue political battle, over limits on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, is about to heat up again. Personal injury attorney Nick Rowley, who says his infant son’s lungs were “blown up” by medical malpractice, and Consumer Watchdog are proposing a 2020 ballot measure that would largely nullify California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) that […]

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2020 may see tax battle royal

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Although the state is enjoying multibillion-dollar budget surpluses, thanks largely to a vibrant economy, California voters may face a bewildering array of tax increase proposals next year. This seemingly contradictory situation is being driven by an assumption — probably accurate — that the November 2020 election will see a massive turnout of voters eager to […]

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Is There a California Tipping Point

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Circa of America got its start more than a half-century ago, during San Francisco’s Hippie heyday, when Ronaldo Cianciarulo began making and selling leather belts out of his van in the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. During several changes of ownership and names, it continued to make belts in a factory in San Francisco’s Bayview District, the […]

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Democrats Ignore Voter Decisions

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

In politics, as in sports, rules of the game often influence, or even dictate, who wins and who loses. Just as professional sports leagues are wracked by internal conflict over playing rules, California’s politicians and interest groups joust constantly over campaign contribution limits, redrawing of legislative and congressional districts, voter registration, voting procedures and countless […]

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Newsom wheels and deals

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Gavin Newsom wasn’t born when the TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal” began its run but he’s channeling its host, Monty Hall, during the final days of his first legislative session as governor. Every few days, it seems, Newsom announces that he and legislative leaders have agreed on one of the session’s major issues, […]

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Derailing the bullet train

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A decade ago, shortly after California voters narrowly approved a $9.95 billion bond issue to finance a statewide bullet train system, an official involved in early planning for the project confided a dirty little secret. While a 200-mile-per-hour bullet train was the sizzle sold to voters, he told me, the unspoken motive was getting more […]

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Ricardo Lara’s long, hot summer

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

This has been a long, hot summer for Ricardo Lara, a former state legislator from Los Angeles who was elected as California’s insurance commissioner nine months ago. He’s been hammered by a series of journalistic revelations, mostly in the San Diego Union-Tribune, about how he has indirectly reneged on a campaign promise not to accept […]

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UC imposes political litmus test

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

If you’ve never heard of the Levering Act, you’re not alone. Few Californians are old enough to remember that during the years immediately after World War II, a Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States and its allies generated a wave of popular fear about communist subversion. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy and […]

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Another Dicey Utility Overhaul

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Californians should always be skeptical when their politicians overhaul the state’s electrical utility system while promising more efficient, less polluting and reasonably priced service. Californians get their juice from a mélange of “investor-owned” and municipally operated utilities. Inevitably, micromanagement of such a complex system via legislation and regulatory agencies becomes an exercise in political horsetrading. […]

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