CALMatters | Palo Alto Online |

CALmatters is a Sacramento-based nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. It works with more than 130 media partners throughout the state that have long, deep relationships with their local audiences, including Embarcadero Media (publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Pleasanton Weekly and The Almanac in Menlo Park and their websites.)

Here are the most recent stories reported by CALmatters' team of journalists:


California Dream mayors’ forum on homelessness and housing

Political reporter Laurel Rosenhall will moderate a conversation on housing and homelessness at noon on Nov. 15 with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 2:39 pm
My turn: Confessions of a volunteer in Congressional District 10

You learn a little bit about people when you politick them at their door. Mostly, you learn that they’re busy. They know the tax bill was wrong. They just don’t have time to yak about it. They have Little League games to get to.

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 12:18 pm
Wildfire legislation, Newsom’s trifecta and a Supreme Court pick

Good morning, California. “Now is not the time to point fingers. There are a lot of reasons why these catastrophic fires are happening. … This is not a state issue, this is not a federal issue, this is an American issue.”— Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, as quoted in The Sacramento Bee, after inspecting what’s left […]

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 4:30 am
Election boosts advocates of higher taxes

This month's election was good news for those who believe that Californians should pay more taxes. One indication is that about three-quarters of local tax and bond issues were approved by voters.

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 12:01 am
Poll: California should guarantee minimum funding level for UC, CSU

Sixty-three percent of adult Californians, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, say the state should establish a minimum spending level for the two systems, according to the Public Policy Institute of California survey on attitudes about higher education released Wednesday.

Wed, Nov 14, 2018 9:00 pm
A landslide, supermajorities and now a fat budget surplus: It’s good to be Gavin right now

The good news just keeps coming for California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. Not only did he win a resounding 60 percent-plus landslide, but he will be greeted by a two-thirds supermajority of fellow Democrats in both houses—more than sufficient to approve a tax increase. Not that he’ll need it any time soon. That’s because he’ll also […]

Wed, Nov 14, 2018 4:04 pm
My turn: GOP is dead in California. A new way must rise

The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time. The Grand Old Party is dead – partly because it has failed to separate itself from today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics.

Tue, Nov 13, 2018 12:51 pm
Capitol Dems get a blue hued supermajority

California Legislature politics, Democrats and moderate Democrats, open seats, Senate, Assembly, alcoholism and suicide among California lawyers, Other Bar

Tue, Nov 13, 2018 4:30 am
My turn: We’d be better off with T-Mobile-Sprint merger

California Public Utility Commission members have many factors to consider whenever they evaluate a merger. But in my view, it comes down to a single question: Will California consumers benefit from this? For the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, the answer is yes.

Mon, Nov 12, 2018 8:30 am
Mega-fire, guns, elections and honoring veterans

Veterans Day, California wildfires, Trump tweets, revelations on background checks in a new UC Davis gun study, most school bonds pass, most California housing measures fail, World War I marks its 100th anniversary and commentary on conservation.

Mon, Nov 12, 2018 4:30 am
Newsom will find stack of Brown’s leftovers

While Gavin Newsom won't face a budget crisis when he is inaugurated in January, he will find a stack of leftover issues on his desk from outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown.

Mon, Nov 12, 2018 12:01 am
My turn: Voters made clear that climate change matters

Pundits and political consultants once thought climate change was a distant concern and not an issue that would energize voters. But as fires rage from Chico to Malibu, people can plainly see, feel, and smell the impact of climate change. And they made their feelings clear at the ballot box.

Sun, Nov 11, 2018 9:00 am
Newsom won’t have budget crisis, but can it last?

Gavin Newsom will be only the second governor in the last half-century to begin his first term without a major budget crisis to be solved. But keeping the state in the black may be difficult, particularly as he pursues an expansionist agenda.

Sun, Nov 11, 2018 12:01 am
Dem domination: California Legislature is turning many shades of blue

The California Legislature, controlled by Democrats for decades, is likely to become even bluer when the new class is sworn in next month. That means the prevailing tension in the statehouse probably won’t be between Republicans and Democrats—but between different shades of liberalism. And it could make for some counterintuitive outcomes, once the results are tallied, including a Legislature that skews more toward business on some fights.

Fri, Nov 9, 2018 4:17 pm
Raging fires and mass shootings greet Governor-elect Newsom

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom may have hoped to ease into his new job as chief executive of the State of California, but with ballots still being counted, he was forced today to respond to a new mass shooting and a state once again on fire.

Thu, Nov 8, 2018 5:07 pm
UC urges students to file DACA renewals as appeals court rules against Trump

California notched another legal victory Thursday in its bid to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, as a federal appeals court agreed with the state’s attorney general and the University of California that the Trump administration cannot dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The U.S. Court of Appeals […]

Thu, Nov 8, 2018 3:42 pm
My turn: Women make big political gains. Obstacles remain

Advocates for political equality should be pleased with the election results and the surge in female candidacies. But institutional roadblocks could impede their progress in California over the near term. Further, how can this state think of itself as a progressive trendsetter when it's one of only 20 states that has never elected a female governor? And it could be several years before a woman even gets a realistic chance.

Thu, Nov 8, 2018 3:12 pm
Big campaign spending for status quo outcome

More than $1 billion was spent on California political campaigns this year, but the outcome of this month's election was pretty much preserving the status quo.

Thu, Nov 8, 2018 12:01 am
So is California’s new schools chief Tuck or Thurmond? Why we don’t know yet

The race between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond for state superintendent of public instruction has been a multi-million-dollar nailbiter. Election Day has come and gone, however, and the winner is days or maybe even weeks from being declared. Ditto for several congressional races and legislative seats that remained too close to call Wednesday. The reason: […]

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 5:15 pm
New lieutenant governor Kounalakis makes statewide election history

Former ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis will become California’s first woman elected lieutenant governor, charging to victory over state Sen. Ed Hernandez in a race that pitted her campaign cash and diplomatic resume against his labor connections and legislative experience. The highest ranking among a record-setting three women to be elected Tuesday to California constitutional […]

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 4:59 pm
The 2018 election is over, let the governing begin

Good morning, California. Welcome to Campaign 2020. The election is 726 days from now, and counting. Gov-elect Gavin NewsomNewsom with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on election night in L.A.California turned a deeper blue Tuesday, electing Gavin Newsom as its governor and sending at least one more Democrat to Congress. For full results, click here […]

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 4:30 am
“A Failing Franchise:” Is the California GOP doomed?

Sporting starred and striped jackets and “Make America Great Again” hats, the California Republicans who gathered on election night in the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego were in a remarkably chipper mood. They cheered when the results came in from Florida, showing the GOP candidate won the narrow race for governor. They lustily […]

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 1:20 am
Jerry Brown a tax reformer? Who knew?

Outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown has been honored by the Tax Foundation for opposing new tax loopholes. However, his record on tax reform otherwise has been scant.

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 12:01 am
How Gov-Elect Newsom aims to take on California’s 7 biggest issues

Gavin Newsom first ran for governor in 2010, an effort he abandoned and then relaunched in 2015 with the long, long campaign that crescendoed tonight. Now that California voters have given the 51-year-old Democrat the job he has sought for eight years, he is about to discover that winning was the easy part. Governing is […]

Wed, Nov 7, 2018 12:01 am
Gavin Newsom is elected governor, Feinstein wins 5th term

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected  to cruise to victory on Tuesday as governor over Republican John Cox as polls closed in California, while U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein appeared likely to win a fifth term, despite a feisty challenge by Democratic state Sen. Kevin de León.

Tue, Nov 6, 2018 8:34 pm
My turn: Child crime is vanishing. Does anyone know why?

The average pre-teen today is 96 percent less likely to be arrested than his or her counterpart in past decades. Arrests of girls and boys of all ethnicity and race for violence, property, drug, vandalism, felony and misdemeanor offenses are down by huge proportions. We need informed, innovative leadership to perpetuate these gains.

Tue, Nov 6, 2018 4:08 pm
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