A bare-knuckle brawl in the 7th Senate District

Candidates in the 7th Senate District: Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer and Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord. (Photo illustration, separate images combined: Tim Foster, Capitol Weekly)

Welcome to the 7th Senate District, where money and hardball politics came together in the primary election. The runoff likely will not be much different. Even in a state now accustomed to seven-digit spending in legislative campaigns, the 7th District showdown in May is likely to set records. And powerful interests that weighed in during the primary – organized labor, business interests, the dentists, the doctors and the fire fighters, for example – are all but certain to pony up again.

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Opinions

Schools to lawmakers: Repeal the reserve cap

Blocks and crayons in a California classroom.(Photo illustration: Blade Tucker

OPINION: Late last year, the Legislature passed a fiscally irresponsible law that prevents local school districts from maintaining prudent budget reserves necessary to prepare for future economic downturns, to invest in classroom improvements, and to protect our students. As ridiculous as that sounds, unfortunately that’s the reality. That’s why thousands of educators, including school board members, school district officials, community members, parents and others are calling for the Legislature to repeal the local school district reserve cap.

News

Personnel Profile: Ray LeBov, lobbyist trainer and hoopster maven

Most folks around the Capitol know Ray well from his many years as a lobbyist and, since 2006, as the man behind Capitol Seminars, the lobbyist-training seminars that have shown a whole new generation of aspiring lobbyists how to do things the right way. What most don’t know is Ray’s daily obsession with rooting out the very best information on NBA basketball, which he presents on his increasingly-popular blog, Basketball Intelligence.

News

California urged to resolve delta, water issues — fast

A backpacker gazes at Lake Mead, which has reached critically low levels. (Photo: Oceanfishing, via Shutterstock)

Disputes over California’s fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta, the troubled heart of the drought-stricken state’s water system, must be resolved immediately because what happens there affects the western region, a top water expert says. Pat Mulroy, the former leader of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, delivered a bluntly worded warning to the California Water Policy Conference in Claremont, saying the linkage between the Delta and much of the West is clear, “yet many here in California still don’t see the connection.”

News

Data: Will political races ever have their ‘Moneyball’ moment?

A man at a computer screen making his picks during "March Madness." (Photo: SAJE, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: Now that we’re in the middle of March Madness and nearing the opening of the 2015 Major League baseball season, we see the sports data geeks take center stage. Ever since the book, and subsequent movie, “Moneyball,” fans have been intrigued by the data that appears to be a major driver in sporting decisions, from the players chosen for a team, to the offensive and defensive formations, where and when the percentages suggest shooting or passing, and so on.

News

LAO: Lawmakers should look closely at Brown plan for retirees’ health care

An elderly patient receiving health care at a hospital. (Photo: Photographee.eu, via Shutterstock)

The LAO, noting that most of Brown’s plan bypasses the Legislature, says lawmakers should hold hearings on state worker retiree health care, going back to square one, 1961, when the benefit began. Times were different then. Workers were at risk of losing health coverage when they retired. Now state workers are eligible for federal Medicare at age 65.

Opinions

UC, CSU: Eligible students deserve a chance

Students at a graduation ceremony at Santa Monica City College. (Photo: American Spirit, via Shutterstock)

California’s universities receive more and more applications every year. Last year there were a record 193,873 applicants to the University of California and 290,473 to the California State University system. Each applicant applied, on average, to two or three campuses. But just as this demand is growing, more and more eligible students are being turned away from California’s universities.

News

Coast key to state’s housing costs

Coastal housing in Laguna Beach. (Photo: John Bilous)

For decades, people living in California paid more for shelter than those in most of the rest of the country. But during the 1970s, “the gap started to widen. Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported. Today, the average California home costs $440,000, or two-and-half-times the average price tag of $180,000 for a home across the country.

Opinions

Critical priority: Dental care for low-income children

A youngster on his visit to the dentist. (Photo: Wavebreakmedia, via Shutterstock)

It is not often that dental professionals, health care providers, advocates, and legislators from both sides of the aisle all agree on an issue, but that is precisely what happened at a hearing this week on the state’s dental program for low-income children. Testimony and discussion honed in on the sobering results of a December 2014 state audit, which found that millions of children enrolled in Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) were not getting the dental care they need.

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