In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Kavanaugh

By Dan Morain

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quietly given up her Republican registration and re-registered as a no-party preference voter, citing the Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court nomination and saying she had become increasingly uncomfortable with the GOP’s direction nationally and in the state.

Big polluters get help from the state, renewing doubts about California’s climate goals

By Julie Cart

State authorities this week delivered on a controversial deal—the details of which were disclosed by CALmatters last year—that handed oil companies and other major polluters a multimillion-dollar windfall in order to win a cliffhanger vote extending the state’s cap-and-trade system. Today that system is in danger of not delivering the state’s required emissions reductions, a possibility many experts have warned about as companies have banked their pollution credits for later use.

As the revolving door turns, a Capitol fixer is poised to ascend with Gavin Newsom—and legal weed

By Laurel Rosenhall

Jason Kinney has made a lucrative and powerful career in Sacramento by moving from government to campaigns to industry lobbyist to, now, advisor to Gavin Newsom’s transition team. The question is whether he is working for an incoming administration that he will soon seek to influence, as he leaves the lobbying firm, Capitol Strategies.

Go local on housing, forget the surplus: Advice for the new governor from economists

By Judy Lin

The uncertainty of a U.S. trade dispute with China and the lack of affordable housing are among some of the chief concerns of economists as Gavin Newsom takes the helm in California.

State explores how to counteract end of Obamacare mandate‚ or risk a million more Californians without health insurance

By Elizabeth Aguilera

California could create its own mandate or subsidies—or both—to keep up to a million people from going without health insurance, now that the Trump administration has canceled the Obamacare mandate that everyone be insured or pay a penalty.


My turn: A third party can emerge in California. Here’s a path

Guest Commentary

A new centrist third party movement should look for allies among the Legislature’s moderate Democratic caucus and New Way Republicans to facilitate productive trans-partisan conversation. Political centrists believe a balanced approach is the best path forward for California, but would be foolish to ignore ideas from others who with different ideological perspectives.

Pension benefits hinge on state Supreme Court case

By Dan Walters

Cases pending before the state Supreme Court could have a huge impact on the pensions of public employees. They specifically involve challenges to a mild pension reform sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown but could result in a broader ruling that would open the door to pension benefit reductions.

My turn: Not to say I told them so, but I did tell CA Republicans so

Guest Commentary

Why are California Republicans so misaligned with voter sentiment? They delude themselves into believing there is a silent conservative majority out there somewhere, if only they can put up the right candidates.

Harassment case tarnishes Sen. Kamala Harris

By Dan Walters

One of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ top aides resigned after the Sacramento Bee reported the secret settlement on a harassment suit against him, but incredibly, Harris professes ignorance about the suit or the settlement.

My turn: What Oakland can teach California about gun violence prevention

Guest Commentary

Oakland, long synonymous with gun violence, is suddenly emerging as a national leader in the field of violence prevention. Since 2012, shootings are down more than 50 percent and are on pace to reach their lowest levels in decades. California leaders have much to learn from how people in Oakland came together to rewrite the violence reduction playbook.

My turn: We can prevent gun violence. Here’s one way

Guest Commentary

My turn: Gavin Newsom should embrace a digital transformation of state government

Guest Commentary

Up to this point, information technology systems have been the province of system administrators.  Now, a digital transformation must be a focus of incoming Gov. Newsom. The choice is simple. California can continue its role as a lighthouse state or let others pass us by.

Time ripens for much-needed school data system

By Dan Walters

California lacks a comprehensive data system to track how well its K-12 students are learning, but that may change with Gavin Newsom’s succession to the governorship.

My turn: The last time two Democrats exchanged power

Guest Commentary

It has been 132 years since a Democrat governor of California last turned over the keys to the Capitol’s corner office to another Democrat. Social and technological changes of the past 132 years have been vast. But some political rhetoric is uncomfortably similar.

Rethinking California’s electric utilities

By Dan Walters

With the state’s big, investor-owned electric utilities on the hot seat for wildfire damages, maybe it’s time to consider making them into fully public entities.

My turn: How Newsom could create a new golden era for higher education

Guest Commentary

Resistance State

California AG labels Trump’s draft “public charge” crackdown on immigrants reckless—and unconstitutional

By Elizabeth Aguilera

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is labeling as unconstitutional the Trump administration’s proposed rule that would block some legal immigrants from getting a green card if they’ve used—or may use in the future—public services like health care, food assistance and housing programs.

CALmatters Blogs

Poll: Despite surging economy, Californians anxious about future and want change

By Ben Christopher

Many California are eager for change and a majority are downright pessimistic about California’s future, according to a new survey from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Wiener: State will never reach Newsom’s housing goals without taking power from cities

By Matt Levin

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom may have set an astronomical goal for allowing construction of 3.5 million new housing units in California by 2025, but a key Democratic state senator says it will never happen unless the the state pries away some local control over housing decisions.

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