News

Stem cell agency okays $32 million in new awards

The California stem cell agency this week boosted the number of its clinical trials to 48 — an investment of $553 million — with the hope of producing its first widely available stem cell therapy and staving off its own demise. In a 14-minute, telephonic meeting Thursday, directors of the agency ratified three new awards totalling $32 million and adding to the trials. The applications had been approved earlier behind closed doors by the agency’s out-of-state reviewers.

News

Thelton Henderson: His prison reforms face a backlash

Federal Judge Thelton Henderson in his chambers shortly before retiring. (Photo: Screen capture, Capitol Weekly)

As the judge climbed the watchtower stairs in Pelican Bay prison, he heard muffled gunshots below. When he reached the top, he looked into the prison yard and saw bodies lying in the dirt. One was his law clerk, spreadeagled on the ground in his suit, alongside dozens of inmates. Guards stood over them, guns aimed. “My clerk was thinking he’s gonna die and this is his last day on earth,” Judge Thelton Henderson recalled.

News

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Jim Cooper

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, speaks to a reporter at a news conference announcing the capture of a suspect in the East Area Rapist case. (Photo: Tim Foster

Assemblyman Jim Cooper was on hand at Wednesday’s press conference announcing the capture of a suspect in the notorious East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case had been arrested. Cooper, a 30-year veteran and former captain of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, sat down with Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster to chat about the crucial role of DNA collection in the solution of this and other cold-case crimes.

News

2018 elections: Voters eye deluge of water money

The Owens River cuts through the Owens Valley near the east slope of the Sierra. (Photo: Bart Everett)

California voters may be asked this year to approve $13 billion in two separate water bonds that promise to pay for safe drinking water and improve flood protection. Proposition 68 is a $4.1 billion measure and is already set for the June 5 ballot. The Water Supply and Water Quality Act is an $8.9 billion bond and could come up for a vote in November. The Secretary of State’s office is reviewing the signatures turned in and should decide by the end of the month whether it qualifies for the ballot.

Letters

Letter to the Editor: BOE gas tax, redistricting

Dear Editor: I respectfully disagree with Paul Mitchell’s opinion in the April 24, 2018, Capitol Weekly article,“CA120: Political intrigue: BOE’s redistricting and the gas tax.” My vote against raising the gas tax was a matter of policy, not politics.

Opinion

Wildfires, insurance: Avoid the quick fix

The Canyon Fire 2 approaches Anaheim in October 2017. (Photo: Aarti Kalyani)

OPINION: After a barrage of devastating wildfires raged across our state in recent months, it is time for all Californians to accept a sobering fact: this is the new normal. Several factors — including warmer and drier summers, and decades of fire suppression — have created a California that will be much more susceptible to wildfires in the future.

Analysis

CA120: Political intrigue: BOE’s redistricting and the gas tax

Board of Equalization Chair Jerome Horton chats with colleague Diane Harkey in the Capitol. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

Whether you liked it or not, the state Board of Equalization successfully blocked a gas tax increase.  This saved Californians 4-cents-a-gallon at the pump, but handed Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers a $617 million hole in the state budget. What caused this rather dramatic policy move?  I keep being drawn to the extraordinary events surrounding the 2011 redistricting of the BOE, which has four directly elected members.

Opinion

Claims adjusters need training, background checks

A man surveys the charred debris of Glen Ellen home following a 2017 wildfire. (Photo: Rebecca Jane Call, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Recently Capitol Weekly printed an article by David Farber (“Don’t fix unbroken system for claims adjusters,” April 16) asserting that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) was advocating for a bill, SB 1291 by state Sen. Bill Dodd, which would, in Farber’s words, “create a shortage of claims professionals” in the aftermath of last year’s devastating wildfires. Farber couldn’t be more wrong.

News

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Louis Mirante on Housing and SB 827

Louis Mirante of California YIMBY. (Photo: Tim Foster)

Nothing ever really dies in the Capitol, as the saying goes, but sometimes you come across a knockout blow. And that’s what happened with SB 827, a sweeping bill aimed at addressing California’s housing crisis. To the surprise of just about everybody and after months of media attention, the measure was rejected decisively in its first committee hearing.  Joining us today to take a look at all this is Louis Mirante of California YIMBY,  who sat down with Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster to chat about the issue.

Opinion

Prop.1 grants should include groundwater storage

Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge headquarters, South San Francisco Bay, Alviso.(Photo: Sundry Photagraphy)

OPINION: The California Water Commission has the opportunity to create a new paradigm for water storage that delivers more cost-effective storage and an ability to ensure there will be enough water for communities, business and public purposes –keeping our rivers alive with enough water for fish, wildlife and recreation for people. That opportunity is to include groundwater storage in Proposition 1 allocations.

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