As Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators wrangle over budget, spending cap-and-trade fees is major conflict.

Medi-Cal, the state’s medical care program for the poor, now covers 30 percent of Californians.

​The perpetual conflict between business and liberals over legislation spills over into Democrat vs. Democrat battles for seats.​

Two pending measures billed as reforms would solidify Democrats’ power

A holdout by creditor means that Stockton’s bankruptcy may hinge on pension issue.

Gov. Jerry Brown faced the politics of poverty and now faces the politics of prosperity

This is the drill in the state Senate this year, a least so far: A scandal of some type erupts and Senate leaders respond with some supposedly corrective changes in rules governing the political game. So far, three senators have run afoul of criminal laws this year and have been suspended while their cases meander through state or federal courts.

Next month marks the 36th anniversary of Proposition 13, California’s iconic property tax limit, and time has not healed its political wounds. Conservatives still love it, liberals still hate it and it’s perpetual fodder for academic, journalistic and political cogitating.

Three Republican candidates for statewide office may not win, but light way to GOP revival

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators are ready to put “rainy-day fund” measure on ballot, but it’s not best option.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg must act decisively to clean up scandal-ridden state Senate.

As the Legislature recessed last month for an 11-day spring break, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg described the first months of the session as “a little rough.” It was his oblique reference to the suspension of three fellow Democratic senators who were facing criminal charges. But if Steinberg hoped that the Capitol’s extracurricular turmoil was over, he was dead wrong.

As California’s population surged from migration and a postwar baby boom in the 1950s, education and political leaders wrote a Master Plan for Higher Education that envisioned a seamless array of low-cost, high-quality coursework.

As he ends his third term as governor and seeks a fourth, Jerry Brown has pursued the agenda laid down by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California’s ambivalent dependence on oil created nonsensical politics

Two voter-passed measures from the 1990s, reflecting culture wars of the era, could be undone by the Legislature.

California’s high school graduation rate rose to over 80 percent last year, but an achievement gap remains.

Free money? There is, of course, no such thing, but politicians consider money borrowed via bonds, federal aid and money from fees “free” because they can spend funds as they wish without directly tapping constituents’ wallets. So it means free of voter backlash.

Writing California ballot measures has become a game of hide-the-pea, in which real motives are obscured.

While the state budget is runnng multibillion-dollar surpluses, California’s cities face tough fiscal times.

A looming tax break for SpaceX reveals favoritism in corporate tax breaks.

The State Bar’s effort to expand its enforcement powers was rebuffed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, but it’s trying again.

As a young man 40-plus years ago, Gilbert Hyatt invented – and eventually patented after a two-decade-long struggle – a microprocessor chip that earned him many, many millions of dollars in payments from companies that transformed the technology into digital devices that have become indispensable to, or at least ubiquitous in, modern life.

In seeking to create a “rain day fund” to soak up some revenues, Capitol politicians admit to failures of the past.

The 2014 legislative session began with high liberal hopes, but turned sour with scandal and conflict.

As the weather warms and legislative deadlines approach, the state Capitol comes alive with rallies and demonstrations of all ideological stripes.

New legislation gives the Fair Political Practices Commission some new powers, but Brown dallies on naming a new chairperson.

The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, struck down a portion of the federal Voting Rights Act last year, saying its 1960s-era provisions were no longer applicable to 21st-century conditions.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority plans to begin construction this year on a bullet train system that is supposed to eventually stretch 500 miles from Sacramento to San Diego.

The death of disgraced savings and loan tycoon Charles Keating a reminder of how California started debacle.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg in full crisis response, but is it real reform or just image control?

When the initial shock of last week’s corruption and gunrunning charges against state Sen. Leland Yee wore off a bit, politicians and pundits began talking and writing about the larger meaning, if any – especially since Yee is the third Democratic senator this year to face criminal charges.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s chances of enacting a comprehensive public pension reform ballot measure were scant even before Attorney General Kamala Harris gave it an unfriendly official summary.

Capitol politicians say they’ve balanced the state budget, but they ignore billions of dollars in mounting debt.

The sensational indictment of state Sen. Leland Yee and others should bury California’s pretensions about being free of organized crime.

Treatment of an Assembly water bond bill in a Senate committee indicates that writing a measure for the 2014 ballot will be a tough slog.

It’s been 39 years since Jerry Brown signed a bill setting a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, but the fight has resumed.

Nearly three months after it began, the election-year legislative session starts work on bills.

The state is undertaking two major overhauls of its troubled public school system, but testing results still iffy.

Gov. Jerry Brown, home care unions are sparring over whether 350,000 workers should get overtime pay.

Senate Bill 27 would have closed a campaign finance reporting loophole, but it died and who did it is a mystery.

Latinos and Asians together constitute more than half of California’s population but may be headed for conflicts.

The state Senate’s education committee held an “informational hearing” recently on the recruitment and retention of quality teachers – no small matter in a public school system with such evident achievement shortcomings.

Caliufornia’s economic recovery has been uneven, exacerbating its evolution into a two-tier society.

The Senate’s Democratic supermajority voted to partially reauthorize affirmative action, but it’s drawing sharp opposition from Asian groups.

Another issue has been raised in California’s perennial debate over water – whether pumping groundwater should be regulated

When Jerry Brown signed legislation giving California’s public employees collective bargaining rights during his first governorship, he – wittingly or otherwise – began a major political shift.

When the FBI conducted a years-long undercover investigation of influence-peddling in the state Capitol during the 1980s, agents posed as businessmen seeking special state treatment for a fictional shrimp-processing plant.

The state’s finances are improving, ramping up pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democrats to restore cuts in “safety net” services

Neel Kashkari’s campaign for governor represents a much-needed image makeover for California Republicans

Dan Walters, political columnist

Dan Walters

Dan Walters has been a journalist for more than a half-century, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. At one point in his career, at age 22, he was the nation's youngest daily newspaper editor.

He joined The Sacramento Union's Capitol bureau in 1975, just as Jerry Brown began his first governorship, and later became the Union's Capitol bureau chief. In 1981, Walters began writing the state's only daily newspaper column devoted to California political, economic and social events and, in 1984, he and the column moved to The Sacramento Bee. He has written more than 7,500 columns about California and its politics and his column now appears in dozens of California newspapers.

Email: dwalters@sacbee.com
Phone: 916-321-1195
Twitter: @WaltersBee

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