Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 obscure bill show how big policy gets buried

The Legislature was in full sausage-factory mode during the last days of the biennial session that ended on Aug. 30, spewing hundreds of bills onto Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. In time-dishonored fashion, many of the bills were either newly minted or underwent last-minute changes and therefore received only cursory attention. Buried in them were some […]

September 19, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Did the ‘War on Poverty’ fail?

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson launched the “War on Poverty,” an unprecedented federal effort to reduce the nation’s then-burgeoning poverty rate. “The war on poverty is not a struggle simply to support people, to make them dependent on the generosity of others,” Johnson told Congress in 1964. “It is a struggle to give people […]

September 19, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Brown dons rose-tinted glasses for look backward

As Jerry Brown seeks his fourth term as governor this year, he’s crowing about balancing the state budget after years of deficits that piled up a “wall of debt.” Certainly Brown deserves some of the credit. He moderated the spending ambitions of his fellow Democrats and, more importantly, persuaded voters to enact temporary sales and […]

September 17, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | 5 Replies

Time for utility execs to start worrying

Executives of California’s large privately owned utility companies don’t usually have to worry about much. Their companies enjoy virtual monopolies in vast regions, their profits are guaranteed, their shareholders are generally assured of regular dividends – which means they can count on collecting large salaries indefinitely. This security is enhanced by the fact that when […]

Climate change: Complacent vs. apocalyptic

Apart from outright denial, our options for thinking about climate change are limited, ranging from resignation and complacency at one end to the robustly apocalyptic at the other. The philosophical territory between these two extremes is, for the most part, barren land. I’m inclined toward the apocalyptic version. It’s not that I want to see […]

Question of the week: Did NFL execs see Rice video early?

When TMZ released the elevator video of NFL star Ray Rice’s domestic violence, NFL officials said they hadn’t seen it. Do you believe them? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results: Should Fairfield sell its public golf courses? Yes: 26 percent No: 74 percent 273 Daily Republic voters

Column focus on campaign signs misplaced

With regard to Managing Editor Glen Faison’s column titled “Campaign signs mean little, really,” (Sept. 14) I absolutely agree. What I don’t agree with is how criticizing Supervisor Jim Spering in the guise of disliking his signs. Specifically, Mr. Faison didn’t like that the signs contained symbols or icons referring to “jobs, public safety and transportation.” Supervisors Spering and John Vasquez helped […]

Syrians attacked in Lebanon after soldiers killed

BRITAL, Lebanon — Syrian refugee Ibrahim Abbas Ali and his family awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of gunfire outside their tent in Lebanon, and for a second time they raced off into the fields, fleeing a war that now seems to have followed them across the border. The gunmen who […]

Ukraine government repels rebel attack on airport

LUHANSK, Ukraine — A convoy of more than 200 white trucks crossed the Russian border to deliver humanitarian aid to a battered Ukrainian city on Saturday, a move made without Kiev’s consent yet met with silence by Ukraine’s top leaders. “Early in the morning, we entered Ukraine to bring aid to Luhansk,” said Yury Stepanov, […]

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

REDIPUGLIA, Italy — Pope Francis urged the world Saturday to shed its apathy in the face of what he characterizes as a third world war, intoning “war is madness” at the foot of a grandiose monument to soldiers killed in World War I. Francis’ aim in recalling those who died in the Great War that […]

Scottish celebrities take sides on independence

LONDON — Scotland’s independence battle is a tough one to call. The Yes side has James Bond, but the No campaign has Harry Potter. Former 007 Sean Connery has long been a vocal Scottish nationalist – from his home in the Bahamas. Earlier this year he backed independence and the “core democratic value that the people […]

Salmond: Savvy salesman for Scottish independence

Alex Salmond is many things: a gambler with an obsessive eye for the horses, a populist showman equally quick to cause and claim outrage, an improvisational wit with a cut-throat edge. And should he triumph in Scotland’s independence referendum Thursday, Salmond would earn a new reputation – as the man who knocked the “Great” out of Britain. The 59-year-old leader […]

Not everyone laments Sept. 11 attacks

I’m sure that most of you who are old enough remember Sept. 11, 2001, in vivid detail. You remember what you were doing and how sad and angry you were at the news. But not everyone shared that reaction to that horrific event. For example, if you saw the interview on Fox News with Ward […]

Congress shares onus of confronting Islamic State

For most of the summer, Republicans had it easy when it came to the Islamic State. All they had to do was complain that President Barack Obama wasn’t tough enough, accuse him of lacking strategic vision and demand that he do more. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., both perennial hawks, accused Obama […]

September 12, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Brown’s 2 big legacy projects face high hurdles

Jerry Brown’s two big legacy projects, a north-south bullet train and twin water tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, are approaching points of no return. They face legal, regulatory and financial hurdles that must be cleared for them to proceed. The next few months – a year at the most – may determine their fates. […]

Don’t trash Janay Rice

The brutal elevator video released this week of former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiance unconscious has shocked the nation and resulted in Rice losing his job and endorsements. Rice’s victim, his now-wife Janay, has taken to social media to defend her husband and blast the media. The public pushback has been swift, angry […]

Kittens left behind

Being an animal lover, I was very upset to hear about the kittens being left after the mother cat was trapped and taken away to be spayed. I definitely agree with spaying and neutering, but please have a mother cat examined carefully by a vet or tech to verify if she is lactating, which means […]

Rising rich-poor gap defies post-Depression story

Two things stand out about the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of consumer finances. First, inequality has increased. Second, household debt loads have decreased, drastically. I confess to being a bit surprised by the first trend. Not exactly shocked, because we’d already seen signs of this in other studies. But five years ago, I would have […]

September 11, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Republicans shouldn’t Hope Obama will save them

What does it mean for a candidate or party to run on an agenda – a list of priorities and policies they intend to pursue in office – and how important is it? I recently argued that Republicans are relying on the president’s unpopularity as a substitute for an agenda, and that the last time they tried […]

Bowen should have revealed depression earlier

Eight years ago, a state legislator named Debra Bowen was elected secretary of state, promising to use her expertise in technology to modernize what had been a ministerial backwater of California government. One of Bowen’s early acts in office was to virtually end a shift to touch-screen voting that her predecessors had begun, citing concerns […]

Last year of public school, business as usual?

For many years, it was valid to urge that students take a good look around as they entered high school in the fall – because more than one-third of their opening-day classmates would probably drop out before graduation day four years later. Dropouts remain a big problem, but the rates have been cut substantially, down […]

Question of the week: Should Fairfield sell public golf courses?

Last week, Fairfield leaders insisted they weren’t looking to sell the city’s two public golf courses, Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano, despite having to subsidize them. Do you agree with that policy? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results: Is it worthwhile to purchase earthquake and flood insurance? Yes: 30 percent No: 70 percent […]

Question of the week: Should Fairfield sell public golf courses?

Last week, Fairfield leaders insisted they weren’t looking to sell the city’s two public golf courses, Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano, despite having to subsidize them. Do you agree with that policy? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results: Is it worthwhile to earthquake and flood insurance? Yes: 30 percent No: 70 percent 94 […]

US move against Islamic State must involve Iran

President Barack Obama remarked candidly in late August that, with regard to the jihadist group the Islamic State, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” The political left cringed a little; the right saw an opportunity. The criticism was immediate. But in this area of the world good choices for a big-picture strategy are extremely limited. Things […]

September 10, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | 3 Replies

Dilemma for justice

Imagine a Democratic district attorney of a county arrested and pleading guilty to a charge of drunken driving and a Republican state governor asking the district attorney to resign in the public interest. The district attorney refuses to resign and launches an investigation against the governor. The grand jury of the county indicts the governor […]

Golf walker forced to pay same rate as cart rider

I request that Warrior Golf Management reduce the rate charged for people who walk on the golf course at Rio Vista. I am a player who walks at the Rio Vista Golf Course and I am paying the same rate as a person who rides in the golf cart. There are only a few of us who […]

Islamic State beheads 2nd captive Lebanese soldier

BEIRUT — The mother of a Lebanese soldier held captive by the militant Islamic State group said photographs posted online Saturday purporting to show his beheading appeared to be real. Zeinab Noun said her 20-year-old son, Abbas Medlej, was “sacrificed” after supporters of the militant Sunni group posted images appearing to show a captured Lebanese […]