Legislature, Newsom have an Ambitious Agenda

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The Legislature reconvened this week with Democrats celebrating sweeping election wins that give them immense majorities in both sides of the Capitol and they are intending to use them. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom presided over the state Senate’s opening session, saying, “the world is looking to us.” Newsom will be inaugurated as governor a month […]

Read more

Where Do Middle-of-the-Road Voters Go Now?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California Democrats’ massive victory in last month’s election made their party even more dominant at all levels of government and in doing so, confined Republicans to relatively tiny redoubts, mostly in rural areas. Calmatters political writer Ben Christopher summarized the GOP’s exile last week in this sentence: “This year, 26 percent of Californians are represented […]

Read more

Is a Deal Possible on Split-Roll Property Tax Measure?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The stage is seemingly set for a very expensive political battle in 2020 over changing Proposition 13, the iconic property tax limit that California voters enacted 40 years ago. A coalition of civic and stakeholder groups, led by the League of Women Voters and  calling itself “Schools and Communities First,” has qualified an initiative ballot […]

Read more

Officials Walk Fine Line on Using Public Funds for Campaigns

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

There is “a fine line public agencies, officials and employees walk between legally disseminating information and illegally advocating for or against a ballot measure or candidate” under California law. That’s the opening of an article in publicceo.com, a website devoted to governmental management, written by two lawyers well-versed in the subject. The article, essentially a […]

Read more

Locals Seek New Levies Despite $4B Property Tax Surge

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Local government officials throughout the state got some very good financial news when county tax assessors toted up changes in taxable property values for their 2018-19 budgets. The state’s uber-strong real estate market generated a 6.51 percent increase in those values, adding another $374 billion to the property tax rolls and pushing the total to […]

Read more

Changing Election Rules to Change Election Results

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Clay Matthews, the Green Bay Packers’ much-feared linebacker, was penalized after a hard tackle on Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith on Sept. 23, running afoul of new league rules aimed at protecting Smith and other QBs from injury. It was the second straight week that Matthews had been ticketed for making hard tackles on quarterbacks […]

Read more

California Schools Face Bleak Financial Future

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A team of researchers managed by Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) recently released a massive study of California schools’ successes and shortcomings. It concluded that for California’s elementary and secondary schools to reach academic performance goals, the state should expand education into early childhood, prior to kindergarten, and raise overall school spending […]

Read more

California an Economic Model? Not Quite

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A significant sub-theme of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change conference in San Francisco this month was that California is a living model of how a nation-state can go green while experiencing economic prosperity. Some Californians take it a step further, contending that going green is itself an economic spur. Certainly California’s current economy is, at […]

Read more

Study Provides New Ammo for K-12 Schools Battle

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

A decade ago, an academic research team produced a massive report on the shortcomings in how California’s K-12 schools educate about 6 million children and adolescents. The “Getting Down to Facts” report was issued just as a very severe recession hammered California and school financing, most of which comes from the state’s income-tax-centered revenue system, […]

Read more

Only The Powerful Get Relief From Environmental Law

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

During his eight years as a state senator, Anthony Cannella rarely speechified on the Senate floor, unlike his more verbose colleagues. But he did so last Friday, the last day of the 2016-18 biennial session and Canella’s last time on the floor. Cannella, a Republican from Modesto, rose to talk about a bill that would fast-track an […]

Read more