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Study: CA cost of doing business high

August 18th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Yet another study shows that the cost of doing business in California is much higher than in other states. This one is by Andrew Chang & Company for the California Chamber of Commerce. They provide some useful graphs. 1. "California compares poorly in national rankings to other states in the ...

Geothermal: New front in CA fracking war

August 18th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The war over fracking in California could soon have a second front. The Economist has become the latest publication to document how the newly refined and improved energy exploration technique using precisely aimed underground water cannons works not just to free up previously inaccessible oil and...

Dreamers leaving CA

August 17th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The New York Times ran a fascinating graphic showing how California, while still a major destination of those from foreign lands, no longer is the land of opportunity for people from other U.S. states. The Times: California, shown above, has long been the destination of American dreamers from ot...

Tesla could get enviro exemption

August 15th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California is known for egalitarianism and extreme environmental laws. But some animals are more equal than others. The Times reported: The state would exempt Tesla Motors Inc. from some of its toughest environmental regulations as part of an incentive package being discussed with the automaker to...

Moody’s raises questions about teacher pension funding fix

August 15th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Soon after the CalSTRS funding fix crafted by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown took effect on July 1, Moody's Investors Service raised CalSTRS' bond issuer rating. But six weeks later, Moody's has put out another release that examines how much strain the law meant to stabilize funding for Ca...

LAUSD system does not compute

August 14th, 2014 By John Seiler.

You'd think a state that's still by far the center of the global computer industry could produce government computer systems that work right. They don't. From the Daily News: Ditching Los Angeles Unified’s new computer system, school counselors in the district found themselves reverting to the sa...

Feds abdicate on own rules for CA bullet train $

August 14th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The Obama administration has given the state $3.5 billion in funds for its bullet train project. But the 2009 stimulus funds that were the source of most of the federal bequest came with lots of strings attached, as is common with federal grants. Those rules were formally published in the Federal...

Water bond deal reached

August 13th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Writing Wednesday afternoon, a deal just was reached among Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature on a water bond for the November ballot, costing $7.5 billion. It would replace Proposition 43, the $11.1 billion bond currently in place. The Bee reported: Negot...

Petty corruption all too common at CA special districts

August 12th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The California government agencies that provide water, sewage, trash and other special services are often oblivious to ethical norms and tone-deaf to how their actions look to the outside world. Part of it may be these agencies don't get the same scrutiny as City Councils and county Boards of Sup...

CA middle-class jobs shrinking

August 12th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Life is good in California for the rich, who enjoy the most beautiful place on earth. And for the poor, who enjoy the country's best welfare benefits. Not so much for the middle class. The Times reported: On the surface, California's job market is booming. The state has now recovered all the jo...

Minimum wage boost already killing jobs

August 11th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California's minimum wage jumped to $9 an hour from $8 on July 1, and further will rise to $10 in 2016. People who still have minimum-wage jobs are enjoying a raise. But the imposition is slamming others. reported: In a survey of 163 restaurant owners in San Jose, 66 percent sai...

Groundwater takeover would prove costly

August 11th, 2014 By John Seiler.

In 2010, I did some freelance work for Susan Trager, one of California's top water lawyers. Unfortunately she died in 2011. Even though I had been writing about California since 1987 and had a general idea of state water policy, until I worked for Susan I had no idea how complex, developed and ev...

Unlike Brown, Hawaii gov took on teachers — and paid

August 11th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

As someone who went to college in Hawaii and spent eight years there as a journalist, I know the state's politics pretty well. It is so solidly Democrat that it only has one Republican in its state senate. This monolithic hold on state government in turn empowers the party's base of public employee ...

High-speed rail without federal money?

August 10th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Last week Gov. Jerry Brown said he would continue building the high-speed rail project without federal money. It's commendable he doesn't want to burden U.S. taxpayers. But it's hard to see how the project can be built without federal money, which has funded every recent major mass-transit projec...

Scam exposed: UTLA wants $ for troubled students to fund 17.6% raise

August 8th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula for state schools into law in the summer of 2013, it was billed as the biggest education reform in California in decades. The premise of the law -- and the mainstream media coverage of the law -- was that this advanced Brown's goal of ge...

Legislature returns for last month

August 7th, 2014 By John Seiler.

“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session," Mark Twain supposedly said. That certainly is true in California, where the last month of the legislative session, which we're now in, always sees a frenzy of bill passing -- meaning few legislators have read ...

Prop. 26 shows teeth, kills San Diego hotel tax hike

August 7th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

One of the few recent big triumphs of the small-government, low-tax movement in California came in 2010, when state voters approved Proposition 26.  The constitutional amendment cleared up loopholes that allowed governing bodies to pass tax hikes on simple majority votes if they asserted the taxes ...

CA on sidelines as brown energy revolution unfolds

August 6th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

In the 41 years since the OPEC cartel begin throwing its weight around, U.S. consumers have gotten used to fluctuations in the price of gasoline. The dynamics have gotten pretty stable in recent decades as OPEC has deradicalized. In the summer, the price goes up because demand increases. And when th...

LA, CA still avoiding pension reality

August 5th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The ultimate pension reform is Detroit-style bankruptcy, with retirees getting less than what they are owed by contract. As the NY Times reported on July 22: "DETROIT — Coming to terms with what came to be seen as inevitable, this city’s public-sector retirees have voted to lower their expected...

San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

August 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

According to the U-T, the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear powerplant will cost $4.4 billion. The money, of course, will be paid by ratepayers. It is owned mainly by Southern California Edison and SGD&E. Even if stockholders are hit with the bill, that only would cut the stock prices...

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