Governor

Big Oil Slick Captures Capitol

The power of California’s oil refiners is always felt but rarely visible in Sacramento.  It was on full display at Wednesday’s press conference when the Governor, State Senate leader and Assembly Speaker acknowledged that California's effort to lead the world by cutting petroleum use in half was dead for the year due to oil company lobbying and advertising.

Let Them Pay 2 Grand

Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on legislation increasing the filing fee for citizens who file ballot initiatives from $200 to $2,000 is the modern equivalent of the famous salvo attributed to Marie Antoinette upon hearing of a famine among the French peasants, “Let Them Eat Cake.”

If citizens are starved for better democracy, let them pay 2K.

Where's Jerry? Ralph Nader Wants to Know

Annette Ramirez is a fighter. She’s had to be, ever since a doctor’s error during surgery cost her two years of her life and all four of her limbs.

Yet, when she went to hold the negligent health care providers responsible, she learned that a 40-year-old law says her lifetime of pain and suffering, the loss of two years of her kids’ lives, and everything she will never do again is worth no more than $250,000 in court.

It's Good to be King

It’s called “behesting.” An elephant-sized loophole in California’s campaign finance laws, behesting is campaign donors’ and lobbyists’ best way to curry favor with public officials without running into pesky gift bans or campaign contribution limits. Even the oblique name – a gift given at the “behest” of an elected official – keeps these unofficial contributions flowing under the radar.
 

California Senate’s Rubberstamp Oversight

A demolishing developer. An inattentive fracking regulator. A lenient toxic director. 

The California Senate has the power to confirm certain governor appointees, and it also has the power to reject them. It rarely does the latter, and never if both branches are ruled by the same party, and recent events show how this collegial culture has led to unfortunate choices. 

Accused of Ignoring Widespread Contamination, Top Toxics Regulator's Future Questioned

The state’s top toxics regulator, Barbara Lee, comes up for Senate confirmation this week in the wake of a CBS News story on how much more widespread lead contamination is around the now-closed Exide facility in East Los Angeles and that it exposes vulnerable children to dangerously high levels of lead.
 

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