Vanishing breed: SoCal’s statewide contenders

The Los Angeles skyline late at night. (Photo: Songquang Deng, via Shutterstock)

Where are the Southern Californians? We are at the beginning of the run-up to the 2016 political season; candidates and potential candidates for statewide office are beginning to make their presence known. But where are the candidates from the land of palm trees and Valley Girls? An outside observer could be forgiven for thinking Northern Californians are taking over the state’s politics, given the outsized disparity between Southern California’s population and its candidate offerings.

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Opinions

Making kids a top budget priority

Elementary school students in a California classroom. ((Photo: Monkey Business Images)

A new analysis of the state budget from the nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office identifies about $1.1 billion in new money available in the budget for discretionary spending. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have an opportunity to make spending decisions that will prioritize children, many of whom took the brunt of budget cuts over the last decade.

Letters

On the 7th Senate District race

Editor: Democrat Steve Glazer will be sworn in today to the state Senate from the 7th District. Since Steve’s election victory by over 11,500 votes on May 19, I have read comments in news articles that if this was a closed Democratic pimary, Steve would not have won or if it was a regular special, Steve would not have won, and a lot of ifs.

Opinions

Time has come to fix Denti-Cal

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

What if I told you there was a straightforward way to raise kids’ grades, increase funding for schools and cut costly emergency room visits? You’d probably tell me to get my head checked by a doctor. And I’d tell you to see a dentist.

News

Speaker halts spending from Assembly operating fund

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins plans to stop steering millions of dollars toward favored causes using her chamber’s operating fund. The announcement comes a day after The Associated Press reported that Atkins and her two predecessors redirected $115 million to programs of their choosing between 2008 and 2014 with little oversight. Last year Atkins steered money to programs to help veterans, the elderly and schoolchildren.

News

From the classroom: Looking at the offices of governor, president

At first glance, comparing the roles of the President and the California Governor with regard to the lawmaking processes of their respective governments appears to be an esoteric exercise for ivory tower academics. Our students often ask, “Why is it important that I be able to compare the respective powers and prerogatives of the President and the Governor? Is it not enough for me to know what the President can do in the federal system, and what the Governor can do in the California system?”

Opinions

Stock market soars — and so do public pension costs

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, New York. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The way our government accounts for public employee pension promises is nothing short of fraud, yet no public official has gone to jail or paid a price for what surely ranks among the largest muggings of citizens in US history. Let me explain. As the stock market reaches record levels, little is heard anymore from public officials who used to blame market declines for rising pension costs.

News

Contracting out, bankrupt San Bernardino cuts pension costs

On the outskirts of San Bernardino. (Photo: Steve Heap)

A San Bernardino plan to exit bankruptcy follows the path of the Vallejo and Stockton exit plans, cutting bond debt and retiree health care but not pensions. Then it veers off in a new direction: contracting for fire, waste management and other services. The contract services are expected to reduce city pension costs. Other pension savings come from a sharp increase in employee payments toward pensions and from a payment of only 1 percent on a $50 million bond issued in 2005 to cover pensions costs.

News

Pensions have role in UC’s competitive edge

The campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: LAgirl5252

Calpensions: In the competition for top talent, the University of California has been able to offer something increasingly rare among leading private universities: a generous lifetime pension. Now a much lower cap on pensions for new UC employees is part of an agreement to freeze UC resident tuition for two years announced last week by Gov. Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano.

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