California’s drought, relentless and inexorable, takes its toll

A drought-stricken tree at sunset. (Photo: PG_Traveler, via Shutterstock)

With the rainy season come and gone, drought’s withered hand remained firmly fixed on California this month, as it has been, with few exceptions, for the last decade. Woes pile up. Rain didn’t save us, the snowpack is all but gone, the Coastal Commission says no desalinating sea water, and urban-interface fires have already begun.

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Analysis

CA120: Reading the tea leaves as early votes come in

A voter casts his ballot in the vote center at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo: Ringo Chiu, Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million California voters and many have already been returned. As has been the pattern for the last several election cycles, this begins a month-long stretch where most voters will cast their ballots by mail or at in-person voting centers. Some will wait until Election Day and vote at the polls, but that is a declining portion of the electorate.

Podcast

Introducing the California Legislative Black Staff Association

Alchemy Graham and Cassidy Denny of the California Legislative Black Staff Association

CAPITOL WEEKLY PODCAST: Our guests this episode are newly-elected California Legislative Black Staff Association Board Chair Alchemy Graham and Vice Chair Cassidy Denny. Graham is a lobbyist with Shaw Yoder Antwih Schmelzer & Lange; Denny works in the office of Senator Nancy Skinner. We asked them about their goals for the Association, why a Black Staff Association is needed, and about their own paths to working in the capitol.

News

Discussion over CSU policing practices intensifies

Students scurrying to classes on the campus of San Diego State University. (Photo: Pictor Picture Company, via Shutterstock)

The forced removal of a university professor from an LA mayoral debate has intensified discussion in the wake of earlier legislation that seeks greater public involvement in CSU’s policing policies. Police officers physically ejected Cal State LA Professor Melina Abdullah from an LA mayoral debate in the University Student Union Theater recently. The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and League of Women Voters of Greater LA sponsored the private event at a public university.

Analysis

Redistricting, elections: Surprises await, and no perfect roadmap

Image of the California state flag, showing the cracks and fissures representing political differences. (Illustration: helloRuby, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: For the past two years, redistricting experts and politicos, myself included, have been building toward the 2022 election cycle. A big part of this included building tools for analyzing potential new districts for their partisan breakdown and likely voting behavior. Getting these kinds of metrics was critical to the drawing of lines by legislatures that still have the control, and performing advocacy before commissions in states, like California, that have transitioned to a public and open redistricting process.

Opinion

Fixes needed now in California’s housing, climate-change policies

Masked youths walk down a street in Pacific Palisades, as a brush fire burns beyond the houses. (Photo: BrittanyNY, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: California is laying the groundwork to transition millions of homes and buildings from fossil fuel heat to clean energy in coming decades, but the policies guiding our state’s investment in affordable housing are pushing California in the exact opposite direction — by penalizing developers who want to build sustainably.

Podcast

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Harmeet Dhillon on the End of Roe

Harmeet Dhillon

Harmeet Dhillon is a prominent Republican lawyer, and a regular commenter on Fox News. She penned an Op-Ed for them last week, “The plot to destroy the Court,” that examines the leak of a draft SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and explores the implications of that decision. We asked her to comment on those issues and also to talk about the complexities of being a Republican who is a civil libertarian with ties to the ACLU.

Opinion

Can a No-Party-Preference candidate be elected state AG?

State Attorney General Rob Bonta in San Francisco at a women's rights demonstration last week. <(Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: With the expected blow-out win of Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose re-election was almost assured when he demolished the ill-advised recall attempt last year, pundits and political reporters – always spoiling for a good fight and a close race — now seem to be searching the other seven races for statewide office to find one that might be even marginally competitive.

Opinion

What are the impacts of Kaiser’s no-bid contract on Medi-Cal?

The Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Diego, a 617,000-square foot facility. (Photo: Roaming Panda Photos)

OPINION: In giving private health care giant Kaiser Permanente a broad, no-bid Medi-Cal contract that is light on detail, the state could unwind over 40 years of locally driven health care coordination and collaboration for the most vulnerable among us.

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