Winners Take All

Runoffs, independents and the open primary

California’s polls will look decidedly different in June. Instead of the customary partisan primary ballots, this year’s options will include all the candidates for a particular office, and voters can choose any candidate, regardless of their own party registration.

Apr 30, 2012 Tony Quinn

Let’s Twist Again

Banks struggle with large debt and minimal borrowers

The Federal Reserve calls it Operation Twist, named after the 1961 Chubby Checker hit that sparked gyrating hips in dance halls across America. That was also the first year the Fed embarked on a mission to purchase long-term Treasury notes in an effort to drive down interest rates on long-term loans.

Feb 1, 2012 Allen Young

Redistrict Remix

New district lines mark big opportunities

This year, for the first time in a decade, California is likely to see seriously contested races for Congress. That is because the new Citizens Redistricting Commission dismantled the 2001 congressional gerrymander that kept almost all districts safe for incumbent parties.

Feb 1, 2012 Tony Quinn

Contract Killer

Local businesses struggle with dwindling government deals

Companies in the Sacramento region have long counted on government contracts to smooth out the gyrations of economic cycles. Local, state and federal governments had deep pockets and a seemingly unending appetite for goods and services.

Companies in the Sacramento region have long counted on government contracts to smooth out the gyrations of economic cycles. Local, state and federal governments had deep pockets and a seemingly unending appetite for goods and services.

Feb 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Public Private Life

Acuity with Steve Hansen

Steven Hansen, 32, is a senior regional manager at California-based biotechnology company Genentech Inc. He is a neighborhood representative for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership board of directors and was one of 15 city residents selected to serve on the Sacramento Redistricting Citizens Advisory Committee. Last November, Hansen announced his run to become Sacramento’s first openly gay council member in the newly aligned District 6.

Jan 1, 2012 Douglas Curley

Gaining Control of Pensions

Public pensions are draining public coffers

When it comes to the California public pension system, one thing is crystal clear: it absolutely must and will change. The question is when and how. Practically every expert who has analyzed the state’s pension figures uses the word “unsustainable” to describe the system.

Jan 1, 2012 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

Compensation Boomerang

An overcorrected workers' comp system seeks balance

In 2003, California’s workers’ compensation rates led the nation, setting off a debate about the cost of doing business here. Enter former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his sweeping 2004 reforms to the system — everything from disability payments to medical care guidelines to return-to-work benefits got an overhaul.

Jan 1, 2012 Samantha Bronson

Up in Smoke

The fate of the marijuana industry

In the past few months, Sacramento County’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry has been slashed by two-thirds. Federal and local officials are slapping landlords with fines and criminal charges if they lease or rent to such establishments. In August, Sacramento County was home to 99 medical marijuana dispensaries. By November, more than 63 had closed.

Dec 1, 2011 Carol Crenshaw

Judgment Day

The fate of federal healthcare

From the moment President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010, observers predicted the law’s fate would ultimately be determined by the Supreme Court. Now, almost two years later, the court is indeed preparing final arbitration of the most sweeping and controversial health law in a generation.

Dec 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Past & Present Danger

A historied economist imparts warning

Peter Lindert is one of the preeminent voices in the “deep history” field of economics, which looks at the world economy over the scope of all human history. We recently talked with the UC Davis professor about the U.S. and global economies and the penchant for both to experience exhilarating highs and devastating lows.

Dec 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen