By John MacMurray
If we believed everything the media tells us about labor relations in California, most of us would have the picture of businesses, mostly small and family owned, struggling valiantly to survive against the predations of an over-large and over-reaching government, and of the rapacious labor unions, both intent on driving these businesses out of California, if not out of business entirely. However, like Sportin' Life tells us in Porgy and Bess, "It ain't necessarily so."
And this is due in large part to California having the wisdom, back in 1939, to set up an agency called the California Apprenticeship Council, which blends businesses, government agencies, and unions to work very well together for goals that benefit all of us.
By Roy Ulrich
A few months ago, I attended a large political gathering. There, a gentleman was handing out flyers which read, "Abolish the Congress and replace it with direct citizen voting by phone or television."
A few days later, a newly-arrived transplant to Southern California wrote a letter to The Los Angeles Times. He said he was mystified by California's method of writing and enacting laws by ballot initiative. He wondered what happened to the concept of laws being written by elected legislators. The flyer and the letter represent polar opposite views about direct versus representative democracy.
By Franky Carrillo
It's hard to imagine it being taken away without just cause. But it happens - more often than you might think.
When I was just 16 years old, I was stripped of my freedom, wrongfully convicted of a murder I did not commit. I spent twenty years behind bars before I was finally able to prove my innocence.
But I always wonder, if I had been sentenced to death, would I have been able to prove my innocence in time?
This is why I believe so strongly in Proposition 34, which will replace California's death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole. With the election just two weeks away, it's a critical time to make sure California voters hear about the true costs of the death penalty.
By Linda Leu
Last week, two California Senate Committees, the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and the Committee on Health, held a joint oversight hearing on the transition of the Healthy Families Program to Medi-Cal. Despite the assurances of Administration officials charged with implementing the transition, legislators' questions demonstrated serious concerns with whether the state will really be ready to move forward on the proposed timeline. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has proposed that the transition begin on January 1, 2013, with "general notices" going out to families imminently, even though many important details remain undecided.
By Dan Bacher
A review of Federal Election Commission records has exposed an effort by the politically powerful Westlands Water District to replace the two pro-Delta Representatives, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney, with two candidates more aligned with their effort to drain the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Congressional candidates Kim Vann and Ricky Gill have taken tens of thousands of dollars from the California Westside Farmers PAC and from individual Westlands board members and prominent growers, according to the Federal Election Commission.
By Kenneth Burt
The passing of George McGovern, who upset the political establishment by winning the 1972 California Democratic primary, provides a unique opportunity to reflect on a history professor turned elected official who fundamentally changed the presidential selection process and realigned the modern Democratic Party.
The young McGovern flew multiple bombing missions in World War II as part of the fight against fascism. As part of the effort to create a better world, he directed the Food for Peace program in the Kennedy administration and shaped the modern food stamp program that has assisted farmers and low-income Americans.
By Sheila Kuehl
California voters rejected an initiative just like Prop 33 - which would alter the factors considered in setting auto insurance rates in contravention of the provisions of Prop 103, adopted by the voters in 1988 - only two years ago, in part because of their concern that one insurance company, Mercury Insurance, was footing the bill for the entire "yes" side. Prop 33 would allow auto insurance companies to offer discounts to other companies' insureds if they have maintained "continuous coverage" with their current company. Let's call it the "cherry-picking, unraveling of the old Prop 103" proposition.
By Dean Preston
In a highly successful legislative session for renters, the Governor signed into law every bill supported by Tenants Together this year. Starting January 1, 2013, California law will prevent unfair nonpayment evictions after ownership changes (AB 1953, Ammiano), require at least 90 day eviction notice for any tenant evicted after foreclosure (AB 2610, Skinner), prohibit landlords from imposing online only rent payment rules (SB 1055, Lieu), require landlords to notify tenants of foreclosure filings (SB 1191, Simitian), and bar landlords from requiring their tenants to declaw or devocalize their pets (SB 1229, Pavley). In a state capitol where renters' rights are so often ignored, times appear to be changing.
By David Dayen
Michael Gerson is a former Bush speechwriter, and an unlikely candidate to have written something with which I wholeheartedly agree. But I think he’s reached a core insight here:
In its heyday — say, the 1960s — American liberalism had an obvious identity. It was ambitious, reformist and frankly moral in its appeal to a common good that included minorities and the poor. It was praised as idealistic and attacked as utopian. Robert Kennedy, quoting Aeschylus, set out "to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." […]
By Matthew Fleischer
Any lawyer with some experience in Sacramento politics can draft language for a statewide initiative. But crafting deceptive ballot measures that can trick people into voting against their core beliefs is nothing less than an art form.
For many years, the undisputed master of the misleading initiative has been Thomas Hiltachk. So it's little surprise that Hiltachk is the author of Proposition 32, which promises to rid Sacramento of special interest money – but which would actually give almost complete control of state politics to corporations and the super-rich by effectively crippling the ability of unions to participate in elections and lobbying. Hiltachk has also quite possibly written into the initiative a poison pill that would shield corporations from its provisions and leave only unions to suffer the consequences if Prop 32 passes.