Fresno Cop Deals Blow To SEIU… And Everyone Shakes Hands

I met Eulalio Gomez in Bakersfield earlier this year. The correctional officer from Fresno was part of an MLK Day gathering of public sector union reformers, and I was there to document. Each California employee present had spent time and resources challenging their unions in one form or another. They came to compare war wounds […]

Mr. Moorlach Goes to Sacramento

I’m a CPA groupie. Not being a mathemagician myself, I rely on my pocket-protector friends to protect our pocketbook. Simply put, I like getting down to brass tacks, and it’s evident, the tax guys and gals usually know the score. So that’s why I’ve been interviewing John Moorlach for years. The State Senator and veteran […]

The Golden Land: A Prop 13 “Q & A”

“The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.” Joan Didion wrote that line about California a decade before Prop 13, the Great Tax Revolt of 1978. The revolt was born out of concern for older Californians, who were being priced out of their homes by high property taxes. […]

They’re Partying In Malibu Over Microbead Ban

California knows how to party. Under Malibu moonlight in a famed inn by the sea, a well-heeled group of enviro do-gooders reveled in victory. Not gloatingly, but with a long and deep exhale. They did it. They got little pieces of plastic shite out of our waterways. It wasn’t easy. It never is. But with […]

Drought: The New Normal

Dave Pettijohn is a tall drink of water. At a lanky 6’3,” the director of water resources for the Los Angeles Department of Water of Power (LADWP) cuts a striking figure, a handsome, calm presence in the water wars besieging our increasingly golden state. Dr. Kelly Sanders is a rising star in the state’s water […]

Future of Water: Learning to Backstroke

It’s difficult to trust a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP). I’ve seen “Chinatown.” I’m paying extortion fees to keep my utilities pumping in this white-hot heat and attempts at slithering off the grid are met by regulatory fears. Cue Youth Brigade’s “Sink With California”. But for those of us […]

“Unfinished Business”: Chuck Reed’s Just Getting Started On Pension Reform

All Chuck Reed needs is $25 million, and that’s all he needs. “For me, it’s unfinished business,” says Reed, the outgoing mayor of San Jose, California. “I’m stubborn, persistent, whatever you want to call it.” He’s talking about his plans for a statewide pension reform initiative in 2016; the $25 million is the cost of […]

Confessions of a Poll Worker

In a rabid fit of misguided pat-tree-uh-tism, I signed up to be a volunteer poll worker. I was tasked with the Casa de Cadillac beat on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. They were hard up for warm bodies, and I committed to the cause. A $25 stipend was offered to volunteers who showed up for […]

Stockton Bankruptcy Ruling Backs Away from Pension Reform

Jack Dean likes to tell the story of Prichard, Alabama, a city that declared bankruptcy not once, but twice. “They were warned that the pension fund was running dry, and in 2009, it ran dry,” says Dean. “So they stopped mailing the checks.” Dean, the editor and founder of, tells the cautionary tale of […]

Stockton Ruling Could Prompt More CA Cities to Declare Bankruptcy

A federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling in the Stockton bankruptcy case Wednesday may trigger more municipal bankruptcies in California and stoke benefit changes at the bargaining table, according to some of the nation’s leading pension watchdogs. The decision, by Judge Christopher M. Klein, didn’t order any pension cuts–but it did give city officials the opportunity to […]