In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Data exclusive: With California school bonds, the rich get richer and the poor, not so much

By Ricardo Cano

California districts with the most affluent students have been averaging more than twice as many local school bond dollars per student as the most impoverished districts, a CALmatters analysis reveals.

Oil industry spends millions to boost California Democrats

By Laurel Rosenhall

The California Democratic Party no longer accepts donations from the oil industry—but that hasn’t stopped oil companies from spending millions to help California Democrats win on Tuesday.

Rent-control campaign chief says he doesn’t trust Newsom to help tenants, may be back with 2020 initiative

By Matt Levin

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’d work toward a deal between landlords and tenant groups if Prop. 10 loses. Proponents of Prop. 10 are skeptical.

A California user’s guide to political polls: Six tips

By Ben Christopher

You may rightly wonder: What kind of statistical black magic is performed behind the scenes to produce any given poll?

Record spending as huge money flows into industry fights on the California ballot

By Laurel Rosenhall

This year, with hundreds of millions of dollars rolling into initiative campaigns over housing and health care, California has hit a new record: The $111 million campaign against Proposition 8 on kidney dialysis clinics amounts to the most money poured into a single side of a ballot measure in the United States—at least since electronic record-keeping began in 2002, and possibly ever.

Jerry Brown praises her—so why are Democrats trying to defeat her?

By Dan Morain

As Assembly Democrats and the California Democratic Party seek a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, they’ve poured $527,000 since Oct. 1 into the campaign to unseat Catharine Baker, the last Republican to hold a Bay Area legislative seat.

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 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.

Majority Report: Logical conclusion edition

By Ben Christopher

A photoshopped campaign ad, an endorsement from a racist Internet troll and a whole boatload of cash. How else would you expect the campaign for California’s hot House races to end?

Bad timing? Assembly Republicans are shaking up their leadership

By Dan Morain

California’s Assembly Republicans are moving to oust their leader only days before Tuesday ’s election, a development that could undermine GOP chances of gains in what is already a tough year.

How will this year’s election play out? Here’s what insiders say

By Elizabeth Castillo

As Election Day creeps closer, state political insiders have cast their predictions in the new Target Book Insider Track survey: It’s going to be robust night for Democrats, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom winning the governor’s race by 11 percent or more.

How California initiatives went from “power to the people” to a big money game

By Meghan McCarty Carino, KPCC

In recent decades, California’s initiative process has come to be dominated by the very forces it was invented to avoid: special interests with lots of money.

Here’s whom to thank—or blame—for California’s version of direct democracy

By Meghan McCarty Carino, KPCC

How California came to have one of the most powerful, and least flexible initiative processes in the world.

The California Dream takes center stage in governor’s race

By Amita Sharma, KPBS

The state’s affordability crisis prompts vows from gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox to revive the California Dream.

CALQuiz: Newsom’s Halloween costume, why we have props, and the nation’s priciest congressional race

By Trevor Eischen

On this week’s CALQuiz: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom dresses up as a superhero for Halloween, the reason Gov. Hiram Johnson implemented our system of initiatives, and a look at the most expensive congressional race in the country.


My turn: What the next lieutenant governor must do

Guest Commentary

Our next lieutenant governor will have an obligation to balance stark differences in access to education and economic mobility based on race, ethnicity, and gender. The majority of California’s K-12 students are of color and low-income. They face numerous barriers to attaining bachelor’s degrees and comprise a small proportion of public university graduates. That must change, and the lieutenant governor can help.

War over bail bonds has only just begun

By Dan Walters

The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted landmark legislation that eliminates cash bail for criminal defendants and substitutes a system of evaluating pre-trial flight risk. However, the legislation is just the opening salvo of a multi-front legal and political war over the issue.

My turn: How to meet the new climate change challenge

Guest Commentary

Transportation is responsible for 50 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of smog-forming pollutants. To tackle this challenge, we must rapidly accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

Congressional seats could hinge on voter turnout

By Dan Walters

Voter participation is the key to whether Democrats score big in California congressional races. Republicans hope a gas-tax repeal measure will lure GOP voters to save targeted seats.

My turn: Why we must require the HPV cancer vaccine

Guest Commentary

California’s completed HPV cancer vaccination level has remained stagnant, changing from 46 percent to only 53 percent in the past five years. Too many Californians are left unprotected from HPV-related cancers. To achieve the same success as Virginia, D.C., and Rhode Island, California should require that the HPV vaccination become a school entry requirement, and it has the power to do so.

My turn: Next governor will face hard fiscal realities

Guest Commentary

Jerry Brown will scoot out in the nick of time. His successor will face the vice grip of a slowing economy and rising costs for pension-plan contributions and more bond payments.

Another conflict brewing over work disability costs

By Dan Walters

A 2012 “reform” overseen by Gov. Jerry Brown reduced employers’ costs of compensating workers for job-related disabilities, However, those costs are still very high relative to those in other states, and another round in the perpetual political war over the system will face Brown’;s successor, almost certainly Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

My turn: Surprising facts of crime and death in California

Guest Commentary

Demagogues have pushed many whites to fear immigrants and the young. In reality, whites are most violently threatened in areas where racialized anger is strongest. Confronting that reality is one key to forging sane policies and a more cohesive society.

Labor shortage could slow California’s economy

By Dan Walters

With a strong economy, California has a very tight labor market with many jobs going unfilled. A low “workforce participation rate” and high housing costs that discourage migration exacerbate the worker shortage and could slow the state’s economic growth.

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