In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Colusa County makes way for a new neighbor—the governor they ‘never voted for’

By Laurel Rosenhall

After he concludes his historic run next month as California’s longest-serving governor, Jerry Brown will retire to a rural patch of the north state, a rugged region of ranchers and Republicans whose vision for California couldn’t be more different from his own.

California housing costs push migrants away from areas providing the most help

By David Wagner, California Dream Project

Migrants who make it into California find support mixed with hardship. Across the border, there’s a cadre of pro bono attorneys eager to help them navigate the asylum application process. But the areas offering the most assistance also tend to have the highest cost of living.

Five remarkably candid tips from departing Gov. Jerry Brown

By Ben Christopher

In the final days of his fourth and (presumably) final term as California’s chief executive, Gov. Jerry Brown offered some parting, and remarkably candid, tips on how to best govern the Golden State—and run for president.

Think you know Jerry Brown? We’re out to stump you with 16 questions about California’s exiting governor

By Ben Christopher

His frugality, his globe-trotting, his French filmmaker muse and the punk song he inspired—we test you with a question for every year Jerry Brown has governed California.

Can California afford Gavin Newsom’s vision for school kids? Here’s your K-12 primer for 2019

By Ricardo Cano

Universal preschool. Top ranked per-pupil spending. Data tracking from toddlerhood to universities. Newsom is giving schools a tough assignment for 2019.

CALQuiz: Brown retires to his ranch, Breed seeks commutation for brother, and a mysterious cloud lights the sky

By Trevor Eischen

On this week’s CALQuiz, the governor plans his retirement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed seeks a commutation for her brother, and a mysterious cloud hovers over California.

CALmatters Has a New CEO

By CALmatters

Neil Chase, an experienced leader of news organizations and journalism innovator, will join CALmatters as Chief Executive Officer on January 2, the board of directors announced.


My turn: ‘Motor Voter’ was a disaster waiting to happen—and it did

By John M.W. Moorlach

Secretary of State Alex Padilla has boasted: “In my first term, I’ve worked to expand access to the ballot box.” Perhaps he can take credit for some gains, but his “motor voter” program is a disaster and ought to be shut until it is fixed.

My turn: We’ll be watching to make sure Congress keeps its promises

By Alma Hernández

Californians voted their values of dignity, respect, and accountability at the polls in 2018. The SEIU’s effort will continue through 2020. We’ll be looking to see whether House members stick to their promises and vote their values on Capitol Hill.

Brown’s symbiotic relationship with the media

By Dan Walters

Jerry Brown’s half-century of dealing with the political media culminated this week with an open-ended interrogation before the Sacramento Press Club.

My turn: Here’s what’s at the root of L.A. teachers’ complaint

By Glenn Sacks

Los Angeles teachers’ issues are fundamental, among them: bloated class sizes, lack of full-time nurses in 80 percent of Los Angeles schools, annual waves of destructive layoffs, and a student-counselor ratio so bad that the United Teachers of Los Angeles’s demand is to bring it down to 500-1. The Los Angeles Unified School District has legitimate financial issues. However, the district has repeatedly projected deficits which don’t materialize. Moreover, the district’s reserve is now almost $2 billion, an unprecedented figure.

My turn: Peace in California’s water wars is within grasp

By Jeffrey Mount and Ellen Hanak

There’s reason for optimism that there can be a truce in California’s water wars. The State Water Board adopted the first phase of a far-reaching revision to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento‒San Joaquin Delta and its watershed. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s support and involvement will be essential to carry this effort to a positive conclusion.

Should California make it easier to practice law?

By Dan Walters

The passage rate for California’s licensing test for lawyers has plummeted to an all-time low and law school deans, worried about losing accreditation, are urging the state Supreme Court to lower the test’s minimum passing score.

My turn: Jerry Brown must not grant mass clemency to death row inmates

By Kent Scheidegger

Anti-death penalty activists are calling on Jerry Brown to commute all death sentences in California. Like all governors, Brownis vested with a broad power to grant clemency. With that broad power comes the responsibility to use it for its intended purpose and not to block laws where the governor merely disagrees with the people’s decision. The responsible choice, the respectful choice, the democratic choice is to just say no to blanket commutation.

My turn: What approval ratings say about Jerry Brown’s legacy

By Mark Baldassare

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature took the drama out of the annual budget process, passed popular laws on education funding and climate change, responded to crises such as drought and wildfire, and maintained a united front against Trump’s unpopular policies. His tenure offers a successful model for governing the state in the future. Will Brown be a hard act to follow for Gavin Newsom? Maintaining fiscal stability and an effective partnership with the Legislature will be the key ingredients.

It’s smelly business as usual in LA County

By Dan Walters

A many-sided battle over control of Tres Hermanos, a 2,500-acre Southern California cattle ranch, is business as usual in southeastern Los Angeles County.

My turn: Recalling Jerry Brown’s first Supreme Court choice as his final pick faces confirmation

By Kathleen A. Cairns

Rose Elizabeth Bird, the court’s first woman, remains Jerry Brown’s most consequential judicial appointment. It’s possible to trace bare-knuckled fights over the judiciary to the ones over her confirmation and retention. Today’s court again is led by a woman, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, and its rulings rarely resonate beyond legal circles. But the war on the judiciary continues.

Housing shortage will bite California’s economy

By Dan Walters

California will suffer economically if it doesn’t do something about its chronic and growing housing shortage, as a new report on Ventura County’s economy shows.

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