Dan Morain

While the Senate had its Day of Reflection to contemplate ethical obligations, the Assembly turned its attention to the task at hand, whether to legalize Internet poker in California.

Californians helped birth Elon Musk Inc., so why is he thinking about building his battery factory in states other than California?

Sometimes, we in the news business get a chance to make a significant difference. I saw it happen at The Bee during the past year. Readers of these pages know the story. But it’s worth retelling.

Mike Ramos delivered a hard-nosed law-and-order stemwinder, exactly the sort of speech his audience had come to hear.

A few blocks from the Supreme Court, the Federal Election Commission, the entity most directly responsible for compelling disclosure, was mired in gridlock. California’s own Ann Ravel had the temerity to describe the dysfunction at the FEC like she saw it, in a very public way.

Once again, Gordon Smith bought a small ad in this paper’s paid obituaries section showing the high school graduation photo of a smiling, clear-eyed kid named Rocky, his hair neatly trimmed and parted.

Capitol insiders are looking to tap into money generated by the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Gavin Newsom and Ron Nehring care about the issue of legalizing marijuana, and they should engage in that debate.

Rep. Tom McClintock, a career politician who is a master of anti-government rhetoric, occupies one of the safest Republican congressional districts in America.

Years before the feds roiled the Capitol by indicting the Calderon brothers on charges of accepting bribes, Bill Reynolds was onto the scheme.

In the patient-dump case of a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital, a federal judge’s ruling is wrong on so many levels.

Lobbyist Kevin Sloat, the latest Capitol insider to be outed by his own hubris, apparently thought he needed an edge, whether he did or not.

For the first time in years, tobacco companies gave roughly equal amounts to Democrats and Republicans.

In 1920, Sacramento’s public works director said the city should install water meters.

A discarded insider talks about killing bills to ban toxic flame retardants.

Nearly all the power players showed up at the Citizen Hotel a few months ago, seizing the opportunity to give legislative candidates an early indoctrination into the ways of the Capitol.

Voters should make disclosure of questionnaires a litmus test in 2014.

Money may be a false god, but it’s the currency of the political realm.

Money is not the issue with mental health care in California. The law is.

The secretary of state race will be one of the more intriguing campaigns in the 2014 election season.

William Spencer is able to tell the shameful story of Nevada’s practice of using Greyhound buses to rid itself of 1,500 mentally ill patients.

Texas billionaire John Arnold is hardly a right-winger. The attacks against him are cheap.

John Froines’ job was to provide an honest scientific assessment and let policymakers worry about the cost.

If anything, the tie between politicians and money is stronger now than before term limits.

State Sen. Ron Calderon knows his political career is over and hopes to drag a few others down with him.

There is an underbelly to the Legislature, and it’s not pretty. And it goes beyond Sen. Ron Calderon.

Calderon has been using money to live large since he arrived in Sacramento

Gavin Newsom should take the time to learn from Washington and Colorado’s mistakes. There will be many.

Tony Russo and Jeff Miller went to the network controlled by David and Charles Koch; that’s where the money is.

While many mentally ill people slip through gaps in the safety net, others are shoved.

The latest demographic data help explain why some Republicans in Congress so readily attack Obamacare and why Democrats adamantly support it.

It’s clear why national parties say Ami Bera and Jeff Denham are vulnerable. They are. They represent classic swing districts.

A labor leader’s job is to raise workers’ wages. The question: Has Robbie Hunter overreached?

Pundits know the Republican Party will suffer nationally if the shutdown goes on for long. But Reps. Cook, McClintock and LaMalfa know the nature of their districts.

Chemical companies make money off chemicals. Efforts by California and other states threaten that business, which is why industry covets pre-emption.

No doubt, Senate Bill 598 is about patients. It’s also about those patients’ money.

The concept seems so simple. People deemed to be a danger to themselves or others shouldn’t have guns.

Scott Budnick is a big-time Hollywood producer who believes redemption is possible for inmates such as Miguel Quezada, even though he and others committed terrible crimes when they were teenagers.

Peter B. Lewis and Rafael Garcia are two figures in California’s marijuana debate. One, a car insurance magnate, wants to loosen pot laws. The other, stoned, killed a CHP officer while driving.

Some legislators and veteran lobbyists and staffers conclude the Sierra Club is a caricature of itself and has lost relevancy inside the Capitol.

In recent months, Nevada authorities have been criticized for busing 1,500 mentally ill patients to other states. In this instance, however, California dumped a patient on Nevada.

Gov. Jerry Brown made clear one reality last week: Inmates are a commodity and prisons are a business.

Backers of a referendum to halt an Indian casino from opening on Highway 99 north of Fresno are earnest people whose simple goal is to protect their quaint lifestyle, or so their campaign’s name would suggest. It’s called Keep Vegas-style Casinos Out of Neighborhoods. It appears to be the sort of underdog undertaking that would warm Hiram Johnson’s heart, except it’s not

During his time in the Legislature, Tom McClintock occasionally would cite the First Rule of Holes, when he called on Democrats to stop spending more money on whatever their priority happened to be.

Rep. Jeff Denham has tried gamely to block California's high-speed rail project. Now, it seems, he may have tripped over himself.

Molly Simones, appalled at what she had seen, picked up the phone and knocked over a domino. Six months later, the dominos keep falling.

Philip Cozens has spent three decades representing murderers, gang leaders and other outlaws.

In a state that prides itself on its environmentalist sensibilities, emboldened marijuana growers have ripped out ponderosa pines and bulldozed deep terraces into steep slopes above Lake Oroville, all so their crops can receive full sun.

Kathy Gaither, the person in charge of daily operations at the California Department of State Hospitals, went on an unexplained administrative leave earlier this month, a week after the state Senate confirmed her appointment.

Business went on as usual last week for JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest financial holding company.

Dan Morain, editorial page editor

Dan Morain

Dan Morain, editorial page editor, has been a columnist at The Sacramento Bee since 2010. As a news reporter, he covered the California Supreme Court when Rose Bird was chief justice, the Legislature when Willie Brown was speaker and the Governor's Office during Gray Davis' tenure. He spent 27 years at the Los Angeles Times, where his final assignment was to be part of the team that covered the 2008 presidential campaign. He and his wife, Claudia Morain, have three children, each of whom attended public schools and California's public universities.

Email: dmorain@sacbee.com
Phone: 916-321-1907
Twitter: @DanielMorain

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