This month, California voters finally have something to celebrate — a redistricting plan that moves us a small step forward on the long journey to change the state’s dysfunctional political system.
It’s been about 20 months since lawmakers and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger breathlessly announced a historic agreement called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009, an ambitious plan to overhaul the state’s antiquated water system. Much has changed since then, but much more is still on the way.
The scenes of twisted metal, splintered wood, crumbling brick and flooded streets are still vivid to Kit Miyamoto, a Sacramento-based engineer who follows earthquake destruction around the world. But he’s not just seeing these images in Haiti, Chile or Japan.
Former California State Treasurer Phil Angelides was tapped in 2009 to chair the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a 10-member commission that Congress tasked with determining the causes of the Great Recession.
State trade groups generate nearly $90 billion in annual spending nationwide through education and training programs, meeting products and services, and local, state and federal taxes, according to the California Society of Association Executives. Roughly 15 percent of that is spent right here in California, and much of it winds up in the till of the hospitality industry.
Despite months of negotiations between legislators and the governor, a reasonable state budget seems an almost unreachable goal.
The state law requiring the use of electronic documents as evidence in civil lawsuits, also known as e-discovery, turns two next month, and local attorneys say its application is still in the developmental stages.
We’ve had several months of the new administration of Gov. Jerry Brown. There are remarkable similarities — and a few notable differences — between the Gov. Brown of 2011 and the governor Californians first saw 36 years ago.
Since the founding of our state, courthouses have been the focal point of many communities. They are at once tangible symbols of the rule of law, monuments to our democratic ideals and the primary point of contact between the citizens and the judicial system. And, they are all but falling apart.
Bob Deis has been Stockton city manager for less than a year. Since coming on board last June, Deis has faced numerous challenges, most notably finding a solution to the city’s enormous budget shortfall and looming pension obligations. We sat down with him recently to discuss some of those issues and his plans to revitalize Stockton’s business climate.
Commercial developers hit hard by the drop in property prices are looking at development impact fees to soften the blow to their bottom lines.
At the end of 2010, I asked several dozen of our region’s business and thought leaders what advice they would like to give our new governor. Last month, in an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, I summarized their thoughts on how the new administration should change important areas of state governance. This month, the same group of local leaders offer ideas on how to recover from our current fiscal disaster.
Many outsiders watching the Capital Region legal scene may feel like they need a scorecard to keep track of attorneys. But, save for a few notable shifts and a historic closure, local lawyers are following suit of other businesses in a recession: hunkering down and staying put.
Economically, 2011 may go down as a year with a split personality. Sacramento is looking at a much different year than most of the country. Small businesses face a more divergent climate than large companies. Even among small businesses, many have more confidence in their own prospects than in the economy as a whole.
The most important political event for the Central Valley in 2011 will be the April release of new California population figures by the U.S. Census Bureau. For the first time in our history, the state is growing no faster than the nation.
Cities nationwide have welcomed hoards of elected officials who will have little time to celebrate their appointments before confronting daunting financial challenges. Among Capital Region cities, public safety budgets and all they encompass — cuts, swollen pensions, potential new fees, layoffs and department closures — have become the most contentious load to bear.
California’s $25 billion — and growing — budget deficit tends to grab headlines, but most of the real pain is felt at the local level where cities and counties struggle to deliver services to residents.
If you’ve ever had to plan an office move, or even live through one, consider the challenge of doing 10 to 20 at the same time. That’s the task facing architects, construction companies and interior designers when governments consolidate far-flung operations under a single roof.
For decades, devising a clear solution for California’s suburban sprawl and ensuing car culture has been the Holy Grail for smart-growth advocates. One trip on any of the Golden State’s perpetually clogged roadways during peak hours shows how ineffective most of those efforts have been.
No political leader can work magic, though virtually all who campaign for public office talk as if he or she can. Our current governor came in as an outsider promising change but had limited success, at least partly because he never learned to work effectively with the Legislature.