Opinions

Low turnout waits in the wings

Ventura County voters cast ballots in the 2012 General Election. (Photo: Spirit of America)

OPINION: I now believe the turnout this November will be closer to 45% than 50%. In the previous 8 governor primaries (1982-2010) the average turnout was 39.2% and in those eight General Elections the average turnout was 59.0%, thus, on average an increase of 19.8% from the Primary to the General.

Opinions

Election recounts: Reforms urged

A California voter casts a ballot. (Photo: Vepar5)

OPINION: In some states, a narrow margin of victory triggers an automatic statewide recount at no cost to the candidate. California does not have such a provision, and I believe we need one.

Opinions

The fallacy of forest ‘offsets’

Banana trees in the forest at Agua Azul waterfall, Chiapas, Mexico. (Photo: Elisa Loco)

OPINION: When it comes to reducing California’s climate emissions, should we allow companies to pollute our local communities, while paying our neighbors in Mexico to clean up the carbon? Should we gamble our climate policies on saving trees in other countries that can easily be destroyed by forest fires, just so that we can indulge in our own emissions instead of reducing them responsibly?

Opinions

Changes urged in the franchise system

OPINION: There are more than 80,000 franchised enterprises in California, employing nearly a million people. Increasingly franchise owners are seeing our rights slip away as lopsided franchise agreements protect the interests of multi-national franchisors rather than small business owners.

Opinions

Drought takes toll on birds, Pacific Flyway

Birds take flight in the Pacific Flyway near Sacramento. (Photo: Department of Fish and Game)

OPINION: Summer is a relatively quiet time for birds in California’s Central Valley, as most of the ducks and geese are breeding in the north. But this year is more quiet than usual. According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Fish Wildlife, the number of breeding ducks remaining in California this season is 23 percent below the long-term average. The decline speaks to the significant degradation of habitat in the Central Valley due to lack of precipitation.

Opinions

First things first: Protect the mountain watersheds

The Mokulumne River. Photo: Mountain Counties Water Resources Association)

OPINION: Mountain watersheds can survive without the Delta, but the Delta cannot survive without the watersheds. In focusing on conditions in the statutory Delta, the California Legislature left out any consideration of the mountain watersheds and the ecosystems that provide the water to the Delta.

Opinions

Latinos’ role crucial in fixing correctional system

A section of the San Quentin Prison area for condemned inmates. Photo via SanQuentinBlog.org

OPINION: Here in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, anyone will tell you that casting is key. A film’s meaning and potential are lost if it’s miscast or missing the right characters. The same could be said about a blockbuster story that has been playing out for decades in California: our bloated and costly prisons. Much attention has been paid to lawsuits about the conditions in these packed facilities, as well as the response by the Governor, Legislature and others.

Opinions

Is cap-and-trade working? So far

A powerplant at sunset. (Photo: David Crockett)

OPINION: So, while the program is certainly generating revenue for the state, is it working? Eighteen months in, it appears the answer is yes. Firms affected by the requirements say that they are paying attention to it, that they believe it’s here to stay, and that it’s prompted them to look at ways to reduce emissions. In recent interviews with cement industry stakeholders we learned that companies are factoring the carbon price into their analysis of investment opportunities.

Opinions

Insurance protection key to rideshare debate

OPINION: Recently the Assembly unanimously passed my bill AB 2293. This common sense legislation will clarify insurance coverage plans for transportation network companies (TNC), such as Uber, Lyft and others. My bill also requires important disclosures from TNCs that ensure drivers and all parties are aware of the insurance policy coverage in place. The legislation, AB 2293, passed 71-0 in a unanimous and bipartisan vote and now moves on to the Senate policy committee.

Opinions

Net-based ridesharing: High quality, efficiency

OPINION: Advances in technology are changing the way we live, work and play. By simply going online, a bed and breakfast in San Luis Obispo can book rooms, a salon owner in Pasa Robles can market her team of stylists, and farmers in Watsonville can let buyers around the world know when to expect their shipments of strawberries.

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