John Burton, political icon, still on the move

John Burton smiles as he chats with reporters in 2004 as he leaves the state Senate because of term limits. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

To say that John Burton is wrapped up in politics is a bit like saying the Pacific Ocean is a large body of water. Few California political figures can match his decades of back-and-forth between Washington and Sacramento.  Burton was elected to the Assembly in 1965 and served there until 1974; then he served in the House from 1974 until 1983; then he was back in the Assembly from 1988 until 1996; then he was in the state Senate from 1996 until 2004, serving as Senate leader from 1998 until term limits forced him out.


Memo to Zuckerberg: Protect privacy

As you are no doubt aware, we are sponsoring a privacy initiative to appear on the November 2018 California ballot, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. The measure would allow California consumers to protect their personal information from the type of breach that just occurred at Facebook.


Capitol Weekly Podcast: Joe Rodota

The Watergate complex in Washington D.C

Political consultant-turned-author Joe Rodota joins the Capitol Weekly Podcast to talk about his new book: The Watergate – Inside America’s Most Infamous Address. The story of the Watergate break-in has been well-told, but in this “biography of a building,” Rodota weaves a fascinating history that includes more than just the events of June 17, 1972.


Capitol Weekly Podcast: Paul Mitchell

Conor Lamb, a Democrat, campaigns in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. (Photo: Conor Lamb's Facebook page)

Political Data’s Paul Mitchell joins the podcast to chat with John  Howard and Tim Foster about Democrat Conor Lamb’s surprise victory in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District — a district that the GOP has carried for years and Trump won in 2016 by 20 points. The big question: What does this win mean — if anything — for California?


‘Split roll,’ the ghost of Prop. 13, haunts 2018

The late Paul Gann, center, and Howard Jarvis clasp their hands in victory as their ballot initiative, Proposition 13, takes a commanding lead on election night, June 7, 1978. (AP Photo)

Months after President Trump slashed corporations’ federal tax rate, a coalition of progressive California groups is hoping to raise their property taxes. The Schools and Communities First Coalition, which includes the League of Women Voters, Evolve California and other organizations, is seeking signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would institute a “split roll” property tax system.


Cannabis: Locals must not neglect small businesses

An indoor marijuana grow in California. (Photo: Mitch M., via Shutterstock)

OPINION: No one expected California’s legalization of recreational cannabis, barely two months’ old, to be without plenty of problems. In a mixed metaphor so often the trait of politicians, state Sen. Mike McGuire noted, “… as I have always said, this is a tall mountain to climb and we are currently building the airplane and flying it at the same time.”


Amid rains, drought fears loom

A rain storm floats over California. (Photo: Serkan Senturk, via Shutterstock)

After a historically wet season last year, relatively little precipitation has fallen this year in California during two of the three historically wettest months. Officials are urging stricter water conservation and caution drier months ahead. After last week’s rains, the Sierra snowpack — a critical factor in water availability — climbed to just 39 percent of normal. More rain is coming, but the question remains: Will it be enough to block the impacts of a resumption of the drought?


Greater local control over charter schools

The Orange County School of the Arts, a charter school. (Photo: Lunasee Studios, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: The story of the Paramount Collegiate Academy’s demise is important because it spotlights an alarming trend: California’s state board is approving charter schools that were denied by local decision makers at a high rate — 71 percent —and a number of those schools have failed, just like Paramount.


Clean electricity demands true collaboration

High-voltage power lines at sunset. (Photo: Ron Kacmarcik, via Shutterstocfk)

OPINION: California is on the verge of joining Hawaii in setting the bold but achievable goal of getting to 100 percent clean electricity in just one generation. Other neighboring states are also developing very ambitious goals to double or even triple the amount of renewable energy they will generate over the next decade.


CA120: Voter files, panels and the search for truth

An illustration of the electorate. (Image: M-SUR, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: Pew Research recently released a report titled Commercial Voter Files and the Study of U.S. Politics, which initially looked like a really interesting piece for someone like me who works in voter files every day. But one paragraph in, I nearly laughed out of my chair. The reason? There is a big difference between voter files and panels.

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