Guardian Editorial

Garamendi for Congress

Garamendi has an unmatched history of intensive work on the most pernicious problems that Congress is now wrestling with.
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EDITORIAL The Sept. 1 special election to replace Ellen Tauscher (who has taken a post with the Obama administration) in the East Bay's Congressional District 10 includes a large field with several great candidates. Read more »

The big prison duck

California incarcerates 170,000 people in facilities designed for less than half that number.
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EDITORIAL A panel of federal judges has ordered the release of 44,000 California prisoners, sending politicians of both parties scrambling for cover and throwing a crucial issue into the heart of the Democratic campaign for governor.

And so far, both major candidates are ducking, badly.

The state prison system is a mess; any sane person knows that. California incarcerates 170,000 people in facilities designed for less than half that number. Sick inmates don't get to see doctors; mentally ill or drug-addicted inmates often get no treatment at all. Read more »

Fixing PG&E's blackout problem

State law requires PG&E to pay claims for economic damage caused by system failures
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EDITORIAL The electricity that San Franciscans buy from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. isn't just expensive — it's unreliable. That's what figures from the California Public Utilities Commission show (see "The blackout factor, page 8). Read more »

What went wrong

The Republicans had all the power: they could block any budget deal, they refused to raise any taxes, and they don't really care if the state goes bankrupt
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EDITORIAL David Dayen, a political blogger at Calitics, had the best line on the California budget crisis.

"Whoever cares the least about the outcome wins," he wrote July 20. "If you don't care whether children get health care, whether the elderly, blind and disabled die in their homes, whether prisoners rot in modified Public Storage units, whether students get educated ... Read more »

It's the insurance companies, stupid

There's too much at stake here to accept an industry-backed plan masquerading as reform
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EDITORIAL It's hard to imagine a better time for real, lasting health care reform. A popular president with a reform mandate has made it a top priority. The Democrats control both houses of Congress, with enough votes in the Senate to block a filibuster. Medical costs are soaring, driving individuals and businesses into bankruptcy. Read more »

The Ethics Commission fiasco

This city desperately needs aggressive enforcement of the political reform law
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EDITORIAL The San Francisco Ethics Commission is a serious mess, and if Director John St. Croix can't turn things around — quickly — he needs to resign and make room for someone who can.

Ethics has badly damaged its reputation in recent years by hounding small-time violators from grassroots campaigns and ignoring the major players who cheat and game the system as a matter of practice. Read more »

What's wrong with San Francisco?

The only new revenue in the budget comes from fee increases on Muni, public parks, after-school programs, and the like
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EDITORIAL In the end, Mayor Gavin Newsom got his way. The San Francisco supervisors made some significant changes to the budget and saved some $40 million worth of programs that the mayor wanted to cut or privatize, but the Newsom for governor ads will still be able to proclaim that the mayor solved his city's budget problem without raising taxes or cutting police and firefighters.

Instead, this fall some 1,500 city employees are slated to be laid off, 400 of them in the Department of Public Health. Many recreation directors will get pink slips. Read more »

Harris, Newsom duck on immigration

Harris and Newsom ought to be defending the Sanctuary Laws, not running away from them
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EDITORIAL So let's get this straight.

Kamala Harris, the San Francisco district attorney, has set up a laudable program called Back on Track that offers counseling and job training for first-time drug offenders who otherwise would be clogging up the local jail.

A handful of the people who went into the program were undocumented immigrants. Read more »

Tear up the budget

Some of the new taxes in Mayor Newsom's no-new-taxes budget
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EDITORIAL Here are a few of the new taxes in Mayor Newsom's no-new-taxes budget.

The cost of sending your kid to a city day camp will jump 35 percent. The cost of after-school latchkey programs will go up 112 percent. It will cost a dollar more to swim in a public pool. Annual swim passes for seniors and people with economic needs will rise by $25. And that's on top of the Muni fare hike. Read more »

Stop PG&E's alarming ballot measure

Supporters of CCAs and public power need to rally, now, to start planning to defeat this thing
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EDITORIAL One of the greatest threats to public power in a generation is quietly working its way toward the California ballot.

As Rebecca Bowe reports on page 12, a proposed initiative that would require two-thirds of the voters to approve any sort of public electricity measure, including community choice aggregation (CCA), has been submitted to the state attorney general's office. Read more »