Gas tax fuels 2018 political fight

Traffic on the 405 in Los Angeles, the nation's busiest freeway. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

California’s new gas tax hike to fund billions of dollars worth of overdue road repairs has only been in effect for a little over a month but Republicans are already trying to overturn it. On Nov. 1, Senate Bill 1, signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in the spring after a fierce political battle, increased the excise tax on gas by 12 cents a gallon and the excise tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon.

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News

Hunting down the ‘ghost boats’

A derelict vessel in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. (Photo: Mitch Goode)

They lie washed up on the side of levees, they sit silently moored in the quiet sloughs of the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, sometimes drifting aimlessly down the middle of the waterways.  There are hundreds of these abandoned recreational watercraft and commercial vessels in the Delta; some of them have been slowly wasting away for 60 years or more. Many pose a danger to navigation and the environment.

Opinion

June ballot’s ACA1 a recipe for Capitol gridlock

Pollution over Long Beach on a clear day. (Photo: Katharine Moore)

OPINION: We’ve all heard the clichés and stories about the failings of the political system – the bill that was written on the back of a cocktail napkin; the enormous proposal that was jammed through before anyone could read it; trading votes in shady, backroom deals.

News

Capitol struggles to confront sexual harassment

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, left, chair of an Assembly committee targeting sexual harassment in the Capitol, confers with Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, at a Nov. 28 hearing. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Allegations of rampant sexual assault and harassment in the California Capitol have ensnared three lawmakers and brought promises of reform from leadership. But some women who have spoken out say they are also facing consequences for telling their stories.

News

Brown’s environmental mixed bag

California Gov. Jerry Brown addresses a December 2015 conference on climate change in France at Le Bourget, near Paris. (Photo: Frederic Legrand, COMEO)

In recent years, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed groundbreaking legislation establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America, and he has been praised globally for his environmentalism and his efforts to curb global warming. But at home – and elsewhere — he faces opposition to some of his environmental policies.

Opinion

Sexual misconduct: Transform the Capitol’s patriarchy

Assemblymember Melissa Menendez, R-Lake Elsinore, at an August hearing in the Capitol. She has carried anti-sexual harassment legislation four years in a row. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

OPINION: As a statewide women-led alliance that advocates at the Capitol to create equity-focused policies for healthy, sustainable communities, we rise with the nearly 200 women who have signed a letter denouncing a culture of rampant sexual abuse and violence in and around the Capitol. We condemn both those whom have engaged in such intolerable conduct, as well as the individuals whom over years have enabled such violence by failing to meet their moral and legal obligations to end it.

News

Stem cell agency: $16 million-plus in grants

A stem cell researcher at work. (Photo: 18percentgrey, via Shutterstock)

The California stem cell agency handed out $16.4 million in research grants seeking therapies for afflictions ranging from gum disease and cancer to vision loss and Parkinson’s Disease. The award for Parkinson’s was relatively tiny — only $150,000 — but represented a rare case in which the agency’s governing board overturned its reviewers, who make the de facto decisions on awards

Opinion

California: A path forward on race

A diverse crowd recites the Pledge of Allegiance at a political rally at CSU-Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

OPINION: In 1968, California officially adopted a nickname, “the Golden State,” to convey a sense of opportunity for all who live here. But a new initiative confirms that, nearly a half century later, Californians still face profound opportunity gaps based on race.

News

Absent fed action, SF, other locals target menthol smokes

A photo illustration of menthol cigarettes and peppermint leaves, from which menthol is synthesized. (Photo: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz)

FairWarning: Anti-smoking groups, frustrated by federal inaction on restricting menthol cigarettes, are taking matters into their own hands. In recent months, cities ranging from Oakland and Los Gatos, Calif., to Minneapolis and St. Paul have passed laws limiting the availability of menthol cigarettes, which health advocates say have a particular appeal to beginning smokers.

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