For Every California Kid, A Seat in the Bar

Santa, California children need more this Christmas than you can fit in the sleigh. But could you at least give every Californian under 18 their very own barstool? Why universal barstools? If our kids are going to get back to education and socialization anytime soon, their best shot lies in restaurants and bars—the places that […]

Does This Black Bart Nominee Have a Ghost of a Chance?

It’s a difficult year to pick a Black Bart, at least among the living in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom made a good start against homelessness and COVID-19, only to strike a deadly blow to his own career with one wine-fueled dinner in the Napa Valley. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein lost her way, and appeared on […]

Legal Guidance For The Vaccine, Employers And Workers

(Latest in a series since March on the pandemic’s employment impacts, and rebuilding America’s job base. The previous ones are here.) As the vaccine arrives this week, so too do questions from employers regarding the role of the vaccine in the workplace and in return-to-work protocols. Can an employer mandate a vaccination for a worker […]

To Solve Governance Problems, Newsom Turns to Spin Doctors Dee Dee and DeBoo

Gov. Gavin Newsom has governance problems. He’s struggled with finding a consistent response that local officials will follow. He’s failed to fix the state department that handles unemployment. He hasn’t rallied sufficient support for the unemployed and distressed businesses. He’s failed to re-open schools.  But Newsom seems to think his problems are primarily about politics […]

Padilla and elections are top California story

The 2020 election year has been a roll call of voting disasters. The Iowa caucus. The New York primary. High-visibility legal battles in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia and many, many others. Missing from the list? California, which ran a secure and problem-free election, despite a record number of voters and a virtually […]

One “Dastardly Deed” Cements Gavin Newsom as my Black Bart Nominee

I thought I might nominate Donald J. Trump for this year’s Black Bart Award. But it’s time to retire our lame-duck President’s number. Instead, I nominate California’s Governor Gavin Newsom–for his often good, sometimes bad and, once-in-a-while really stupid impact on the Golden State. On the plus side, or the negative–depending on where you stand […]

Becerra: Another Bright Spot For California And The Rest of The Country

We look at the good news and the bad.  The appointment of California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services brings an accomplished  politician and health care champion to the challenging job.  We dismantle the congressional stalemate on  coronavirus aid.  And we   criticize California  Gov. Gavin Newson, Los […]

Black Bart Award for California Politics 2020

For the past eleven years frequent contributors to this page Joe Mathews, John Wildermuth and I have nominated candidates for Californian of the Year in the world of politics. This year, as last, we will be joined by Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, long time journalist for NBC in Los Angeles and former professor at USC’s Sol […]

Water Wars by Other Means

Clausewitz famously said war was “politics by other means.” In California, politics is water wars by other means. Although it isn’t always above the surface, below the surface everything in the state involves water one way or another. That’s because the more populous Southern California needs most of its water to flow down from Northern […]