In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Behind the smile: Why Gavin Newsom is striving for his next “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”

By Ben Christopher

Critics call Gavin Newsom, the Democratic frontrunner to be California’s next governor, starry-eyed and worse. But nobody could ever accuse him of not thinking big—or as he terms it, thinking “drastically.”

California’s for-profit college watchdog fails to police as feds back down

By Felicia Mello

An investigation shows the state’s watchdog agency repeatedly failed or has been slow to enforce laws meant to prevent fraud and abuse at for-profit colleges.

Open Reporting: Answers on for-profit colleges are hard to get, even from the state

By Felicia Mello

With some for-profit colleges coming under scrutiny in recent years for aggressive recruiting and financial mismanagement, we were curious: What kinds of complaints were students filing with state regulators? And how were they responding?

The block that Prop. 13 built

By California Dream Project

In most states, the property tax you pay depends on how much your house is worth, not in California. Forty years after its passage, Prop. 13 continues to shape the California dream.

California politics are hella NorCal. Will voters shake that up this year?

By Laurel Rosenhall

Several statewide races this year pit NorCal against SoCal, testing the political power and competing priorities of the Golden State’s two most populous regions.

Analysis: Low number of lung cancer deaths saved California more than half a billion

By Matt Levin

An anti-smoking crusade dating back decades has resulted in fewer deaths, and more savings. Fresh data reveals a new cigarette tax is also reducing smoking.

New poll: Rent control prop is tanking, Dems are surging, and other unexpected, and totally expected, results

By Ben Christopher

A new California midterm poll shows public opinion holding steady or coming in pretty much as you’d expect—but dig deeper into every predictable result and you’ll find something surprising.

He voted for farm worker overtime. Farm interests try to make him pay

By Dan Morain

Agricultural interests have poured $420,000 in recent days into a push to unseat Bakersfield Democrat Rudy Salas Jr., over his vote in 2016 for a landmark bill that grants farm workers overtime.

Santa Rosa mayor, one year after the fires: ‘Building denser downtown is the future of this city’

By Matt Levin

Last year’s wine country wildfires destroyed nearly 2,700 homes in Santa Rosa, knocking out 5 percent of the city’s already scarce housing stock.  Along with the practical difficulties of resettling and rebuilding, city leaders were confronted with two thorny and related questions: 1) Whether and how to rebuild in fire-prone areas, and 2) Whether to build more housing than was originally there to help ease the city’s sky-high housing prices.

Labor shuns Democrat challenging indicted GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter

By Dan Morain

The California Labor Federation dropped its support for Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar running against Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter over his statement on the gasoline tax. Labor embraced Jessica Morse in her race against Republican Tom McClintock after she took a somewhat different stand on funding for road repair.

VIDEO: Ed Hernandez, Eleni Kounalakis on issues facing the next Lieutenant Governor

By Byrhonda Lyons

California lieutenant governor candidates Ed Hernandez and Eleni Kounalakis face off on education, housing, their priorities and qualifications and more.

Debate over outsourcing, equity as UC workers strike

By Felicia Mello

The University of California this week is weathering its second strike in a year, the latest skirmish in an ongoing conflict over how the state’s third-largest employer should treat its workers in an era of tight education budgets

Healthcare workers’ union counts dialysis victory in dollars spent against it

By Dan Morain

California healthcare workers union leader Dave Regan has used initiatives and threats of initiatives in the past in negotiations on behalf of his 100,000-member union. That Proposition 8 opponents are spending $105 million-plus to defeat the initiative is sure to send a message to Regan’s future foes that ballot measure fights come at a steep cost.

Trumped-up coverage and lackluster state races leave Californians disengaged from state issues

By Elizabeth Castillo

A lot of Californians pay little attention to their state’s politics and policy debates, and making it easier to vote is unlikely to change that, say state political insiders in the latest Target Book Insider Survey.

Majority Report: I scream, you scream edition

By Ben Christopher

A candidate gets his face on a pint of ice cream. A bipartisan deal is reached to make it rain in the Central Valley. A state senator and mayor plan to protest a prop in drag. Here’s a quick recap of what happened across California’s 53 congressional districts this week.

How far to the left will Democrats veer? An East Bay Assembly race may answer that

By Dan Morain

The East Bay Assembly race between Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles, a Democratic Socialist, and Democrat Buffy Wicks of Oakland is testing how far to the left some California voters are willing to go.

California to Trump: Your auto efficiency rules are “poorly argued, poorly organized, not based in fact and illegal”

By Julie Cart

Speaking against the backdrop of a busy freeway, California officials Friday morning reaffirmed their opposition to a Trump administration proposal to roll back automobile fuel efficiency standards—noting the state had just filed 415 pages of comment strenuously objecting to the federal plan.


My turn: What we can do to combat political violence

Guest Commentary

Surely, we will learn the answers soon from the experts, rather than from the rambling rants from the left and right know-nothings. But, meanwhile, shouldn’t our leaders start doing something about the tone of our discourse? And shouldn’t we as citizens, as voters, send them a message?

New poll erases most uncertainty about Nov. 6 election

By Dan Walters

Lt. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Dianne Feinstein look like winners in a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, while the ballot’s two highest-profile measures look like losers.

My turn: The real story behind the Proposition 3 water bond

Guest Commentary

No issue is more important than water. It is our state’s lifeblood. However, the Legislature has refused to place a serious water bond on the ballot for more than four years, even as the Colorado River is drying up, we are draining our underground water supplies, and most of the last 10 years have been dry. That’s why Proposition 3 is so important.

Is a deal possible on split-roll property tax measure?

By Dan Walters

An initiative that would remove Proposition 13’s property tax assessment protections from hotels, warehouses, office buildings and other commercial property has qualified for the 2020 ballot. However, the chief organizer of the proposal hopes for an agreement on tax changes that would remove the measure from the ballot.

My turn: Why California elections are fair

Guest Commentary

California Citizens Redistricting commissioners drew the fairest lines we could and did not take into consideration incumbency. As a result, we have several highly competitive seats. Reformers across the nation are envious of what Californians have done. We are on the right side of history in this fight. For that, Californians should feel pride.

Pro-Con: Proposition 4 would authorize $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals

Guest Commentary

Proposition 4 would authorize $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals. Pro: The Children’s Hospital Bond will ensure children’s hospitals continue to offer life-saving care. Con: Taxpayers would pay an average of $80 million per year for the next 35 years, most of it to assist private hospitals.

Officials walk fine line on using public funds for campaigns

By Dan Walters

California officials are straddling a fine legal line as they use public funds to persuade voters to approve billions of dollars in taxes, fees and bonds.

Pay-to-play ballot measures are flourishing

By Dan Walters

Tying political contributions to legislation is illegal bribery that could land dealmakers in prison, but such pay-to-play tactics are perfectly legal when it comes to ballot measures.

Proposition 11 would affect paramedic services

Guest Commentary

Proposition 11 would affect paramedic services. Carol Meyer, Yes: For patients suffering from a cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without CPR or a defibrillator can decrease their chances of survival by 7-10 percent. Jeff Misner, No: We’re the last people you want to see in your day. But when we do show up, you want us to be our best. Life hangs in the balance.

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