In summary

A collection of commentaries by Dan Walters over the past week.

Only the powerful get relief from environmental law

The Legislature eagerly grants special treatment under the California Environmental Quality Act for sports arenas and other high-profile projects but refuses to undertake broader CEQA reform, even for vital transportation and housing projects.

State’s most interesting contest is over education

The most interesting statewide political contest this year is for state superintendent of schools, and it’s a proxy war for the years-long conflict between the education establishment and reformers over how to close the “achievement gap” among California’s six million K-12 students.

Unions enjoy big clout, but membership declining

Labor unions enjoy huge clout in the California Legislature, but in the real world, union membership has been slipping in California and could decline even more with a new U.S. Supreme Court decision on union dues.

Required vote for local tax increases in legal limbo

As dozens of local governments ask their voters for tax increases this year, the laws governing tax elections are in a state of legal flux. A test case on the vote requirements for local taxes involves a tax for children’s services approved by San Francisco voters in June.

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Dan Walters has been a journalist for more than 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times...