Former California water lobbyist, Trump’s Interior Secretary, under investigation

David Bernardt testifies at a Senate hearing on March 28. (Photo: Roll Call, via Associated Press)

The inspector general of the U.S. Interior Department has opened an investigation into Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s past work on behalf of California’s huge Westlands Water District and other organizations. Nancy DiPaolo, spokeswoman for the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of the Interior, told Capitol Weekly her office had received 12 letters asking for an investigation of Bernhardt’s role in some California fish and game issues, including protection of the delta smelt.

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News

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Paul Mitchell eyes the 2020 elections

Left to right: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg. (Illustration: Tim Foster)

California political data guru Paul Mitchell joins Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster to talk about — what else? — the 2020 elections. Who’s up, who’s down and who’s burning through their dough?

Opinion

Dynamex ruling sparks confusion

Workers in Bakersfield on the job during the construction of a two-story home. (Photo: Richard Thornton, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: A rare burst of spontaneous political combustion occurred earlier this year in Olympia, Washington, when hairstylists, barbers, and cosmetologists mobilized against a legislative bill that would have banned booth rentals, the practice by independent contractors of renting a chair or a station at a salon to make their living. What’s going on here, in Washington state, and in every state in the nation has been a long and continuing battle to precisely define when an independent contractor really is independent and when he or she is in truth an employee.

News

State going slow targeting ‘snake oil’ stem cell clinics

Stem cell research involving a "PCR" strip. (Photo: Science Photo, via Shutterstock)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is remaining mum on regulation of “snake oil,” stem cell clinics as the Golden State pursues a go-slow approach to cracking down on the dubious treatments.More than 100 such clinics are operating in California, the most of any state in the nation. New York state earlier this month took the lead among states in attempting to regulate the clinics.

Opinion

Does new bill hurt USC victims?

On the USC campus, a view of the Suzanne Dowark Peck School of Social Work. (Photo: Kit Leong, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Last fall, the University of Southern California (USC) settled a federal class-action lawsuit filed by women alleging sexual misconduct by the former head gynecologist at the student health center, George Tyndall. Regarded by many as one of the largest settlements of its kind, the $215 million federal settlement covered every one of Tyndall’s USC patients who received women’s health services during a specific period.

News

How a CalPERS-sponsored bill increased pensions

The CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento. (Photo: Kit Leong)

The annual payment to CalPERS for state worker pensions next fiscal year is expected to be $7 billion, a jump from $6.4 billion this year — and a quantum leap from $160 million when a pension increase, SB 400, was approved 20 years ago.

News

California’s straw law draws attention

Plastic pollution in the ocean.(Photo: Rich Carey, via Shutterstock)

When former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law curbing the distribution of plastic straws in sit-down restaurants, it received wide – and largely favorable — attention. But to some, there was a surprise: The new law continues to allow fast-food restaurants to use plastic straws. Many people believe that the state should make all eateries use biodegradable straws, especially fast-food restaurants, which are the largest consumers of plastic straws.

News

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Carl Guardino on housing, transportation

Carl Guardino, head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and member of the California Transportation Commission. (Photo: Tim Foster)

Carl Guardino is president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and a member of the California Transportation Commission — which means he wears two very big hats. Carl, born and bred in San Jose,  sat down with Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster at K Street’s bustling Ambrosia Cafe (trust us, it gets quieter after a minute or two).

Opinion

In praise of the California Local Empowerment Fund

A view of Barstow, a community in the Mojave Desert. (Photo: Nuria Kreuser, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: While political disagreements rule the day, most people do agree that greater economic and social mobility is needed so that all Californians are able to contribute, and to afford the basics – a secure home, food, health care, child care and education. With a new Governor and Legislature eager to achieve this goal, we believe the time is right for action.  But government alone cannot solve these problems.

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