Tags >> politics
Aug 02
2010

The Legislature and the Budget

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , politics , legislation , government , finances , economy , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

There’s a 19 billion dollar deficit in the state budget, which should have been finalized a month ago. But the state legislature is only now returning to the capitol and preparing to get to work on the budget issue.

The graphs shown here provide some context for understanding  the ongoing budget  stalemate. This figure illustrates how the reliance on property taxes has continued to increase, while personal income tax revenues have fluctuated sharply.

 

As for where the money goes, this chart shows that education and social services account for the biggest shares.

Jul 27
2010

Red Sonoma

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Sonoma County , research , politics , lifestyle , immigration , Ideas , history , farms , events , California

Bruce Robinson

Liberal Sonoma County was once a hotbed of anti-communist fervor, as well as home to a series of utopian communities, all of which is on display at the Sonoma County Museum.

When taking a longer historical view, Eric Stanley, exhibitions and collections curator for the Sonoma County Museum, says the term “communism” should be understood to be used much more generally than in contemporary political discourse.

The exhibit, Red Sonoma: Communism and Radical Politics in Sonoma County, is housed in a single small room at the side of the main exhibit area, and continues through September 26. 

It was developed as a companion show to the museums’ current main show of contemporary art from Cuba. Stanley says public reaction to it has been mostly, but not entirely, positive.

 

 

Jun 30
2010

Bill Bagley

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , news , media , Marin , legislation , history , government , finances , economy , California , business , budget , author

Bruce Robinson

In the 1960s and 70s, California’s legislature was widely seen as a model for state governance, a far cry from the way Sacramento is viewed now. What’s changed? A former lawmaker offers his perspective

California had only half as many residents when Bill Bagley (R-San Rafael) was in the legislature (1960-74) and the business of governing was less complicated in many respects. In those days, he recalls, lobbyist-sponsored dinners and events served as the common ground for legislators from both major parties to build the social relationships they would draw upon in conducting the state’s business.


Balancing the state budget has been the overriding political consideration in California for more than a decade now, the biggest issue in the recall election that carried Arnold Schwartzenegger into office. Even so, Bagley faults the Governor for making matters worse.

Bagley, a moderate Republican, believes California’s new open primary law will help ease the partisan logjam in Sacramento, but he also sees a critical need for impartial redistricting in the state, as the current lines were deliberately drawn to perpetuate each major party’s hold on “their” districts.

Looking ahead to the November gubernatorial race in California, Bagely and another former state legislator, John Vasconcellos, have drafted a series of 20 serious policy questions they challenge Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman to answer publically.

Former Assembly Member Bill Bagley speaking at the podium, is joined by (from left to right) former Assembly Members Jim Cunneen and Fred Keeley, former Senate Republican Leader Jim Nielsen and former Senator Lucy Killea, and by former Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines.

Promotional copy about Bill Bagley's book:

"Politics is personal," Bill Bagley likes to say, and here is a personal journey through the politics of America's most extraordinary state. California's Golden Years offers tales of cash-filled envelopes, all-night poker games, and all the free liquor a legislator could drink. But the stories and anecdotes offer more than mere fun - they illuminate a larger lesson learned during Bagley's 14 years in the California Legislature. Personal relationships are, in Bagley's view, the glue that ensures working relationships and pragmatic compromises. "Those who play together," he writes, "say together." Today, as the Golden State faces unprecedented challenges, California's Golden Years provides both a look back toward a fondly remembered era and an insider's explanation for why politics seemed to work better then than now.

 

Jun 28
2010

Weather & Climate Change

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , technology , speaker , Science , Santa Rosa , research , politics , ocean , nonprofit orgs , Green , environment , education , current events , climate change , carbon

Bruce Robinson

Carl Mears has been studying the weather for years. Now he’s trying to do something about it.

Carl Mears will be the featured speaker at a community gathering June 30 at 5:30 pm at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Santa Rosa.  His topic:  “What’s really going on with the Climate? A scientists’ perspective.”

For some, the phrase "climate change" has supplanted "global warming" as this issue is discussed. Mears says he understands the scientific reasoning behind that, but dislikes the political connotations.