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Very Little is Happening at the Capitol — A Perfect Time for Big-Picture Thinking
By Greg Lucas, Sacramento News & Review, November 14, 2013 – Compared to the root-hog, bloodlust craziness of the death throes of the legislative session, the White Sepulcher is currently living up to its name. It’s quiet. (Here would be a good place to snidely add that it can never be too quiet, since every day the governor and the Legislature do nothing is a great day for California.)
Except, even though that sentiment has been expressed in this space more than once, the truth is that sometimes Read more »
On debt, California’s responsibility—and The Skipper’s sage advice By Greg Lucas
Sacramento News & Review, October 17 – A growing body of 21st-century philsophical thought recognizes that the 98 episodes of Gilligan’s Island ask and answer all the Big Questions.
So, amid this recent flurry of mouth-frothing and hand-wringing over debt, it should be no surprise The Skipper and Mary Ann slice straight to the bottom line.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be. Do not forget: Stay out of debt!” sings The Skipper’s Polonius to Mary Ann’s gender-bending Laertes in the castaways’ musical version of Hamlet.
What more need be Read more »
By Greg Lucas
Sacramento News-Review, September 5, 2013 — With few exceptions, things in the Legislature are at least as chickenshit as they appear. Usually more.
No matter how petty the motivation for some legislative act seems, the real cause is pettier. A “no” vote is less likely to be sparked by some lofty ideological schism than the author of the bill neglecting to compliment the other legislator on their latest dye job.
Too many bills sound swell but don’t do anything. Like one this year that encourages school districts to buy California produce. There are plenty more equally impotent measures Read more »
On Capitol Hazing Rituals and Legislative Grab-Ass
By Greg Lucas
(Editor’s Note: Steve Maviglio, press secretary to Assembly Speaker John Perez offered the following comment when this column initially ran: ” You should stop by the Assembly chambers sometime. Media hasn’t been banned and never was. We simply asked that interviews be conducted in a corner instead of just anywhere. Neither the press seats nor the press bay for cameras has been moved. And the Speaker never began arming the Assembly [Sergeants-at-Arms] either. That started with [former Assembly Speaker Bob] Hertzberg’s detail, according to [Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Ron] Pane. Hope Read more »
Politicians may be skilled at consensus building and the art of compromise, but don’t expect them to grow taller than the hedge
By Greg Lucas
San Francisco Chronicle August 1, 1999
Sacramento – Where have all the heroes gone? (Long time passing) Where have all the heroes gone? (Long time ago)
A hero is defined as:
1. A man distinguished for exceptional courage, fortitude or bold enterprise.
2. One idealized for superior qualities or deeds of any kind.
3. In classical mythology and legend, a man of great nobility or physical prowess, often the son of a god and a mortal.
4. A sandwich made with Read more »
The FBI’s rubber-gloving of the Capitol prompts a look at campaign contributions
By Greg Lucas
Sacramento News & Review, June 27, 2013 – The line between felony and fundraising is explicit.
Yet California legislative history over the past quarter century shows 14 Democratic and Republican legislators, lobbyists and others convicted in a federal-corruption investigation that came to light in 1988 for soliciting campaign contributions outside the lines.
That’s one reason why the presence of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in the Capitol sharply shifts the building’s ebb and flow.
Things slow down a bit. Actions are examined more judiciously. Soul-searching by lawmakers—even Read more »
By Linda Galliher and Ted Lempert
California’s students deserve a public school system that will provide them the tools they need to develop a solid foundation of academic achievement. The Legislature can start us on a path toward this goal by passing Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula.
Under the formula, the existing complex and outdated bureaucratic structure would be replaced with a new local system that gives schools the flexibility to direct education dollars to school districts and students that need it most. No district would lose funding. This change simply would help level the playing field and Read more »
Why lawmakers are afraid to go where no lawmaker has gone before
By Greg Lucas
Sacramento News & Review, May 30, 2013 – Don’t disturb lawmakers right now, they’re deep in the plak-tau.
Plak-tau is the Vulcan “blood fever” manifested during the final stages of pon farr, the once-every-seven-years Vulcan mating obsession, which is pretty crazed by itself.
For members of the ever-so-terrestrial California Senate and Assembly, their plak-tau is neither about mating, nor is it “irrational and instinct-driven behavior,” as one Vulcan-to-English dictionary describes it, restricted to seven-year intervals.
Legislative plak-tau is an uncontrollable obsession centered on rapidly, and Read more »
By Jim Mayer
The Internet was humming recently with the news that the California economy has generated $4.6 billion more in state tax revenue than budget writers had anticipated.
Now comes the big question: What to do with it?
Californians in November 2014 are scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment, the California Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund Act, which would restrict what state officials can do when revenues jump above the 20-year average growth line.
In fact, Californians were supposed to vote on that amendment –championed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and agreed to by the Legislature – in November 2012. But with Read more »
California Legislators Race to Play Catch-Up with Internet Privacy Concerns—and Consumers’ Evolving Online Habits
By Greg Lucas
Sacramento News & Review, April 18, 2013 — Big Brother has been watching since 1949 when George Orwell’s book 1984 was published. He keeps getting better at it.
Orwell’s dystopia is bereft of privacy. “Newspeak” is the language perverted to mirror the policies of the totalitarian government overseen by Big Brother, who peers relentlessly into every aspect of every citizen’s life.
While always more reactive than prescient, the California Legislature can’t help but recognize the threats to businesses and consumers posed by hacking and identity theft. There Read more »
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