The University of California Board of Regents today approved the hiring of Columbia University Faculty Dean Nicholas Dirks as the new chancellor of UC Berkeley, a widely lauded selection, but one whose $50,000 pay increase over his predecessor was opposed and criticized by Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.Read more »
Dick Meister is a San Francisco writer. You can contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns
Imagine leading a snarling hound – or a pack of them – to chase a badly frightened bear or bobcat up a tree for you to shoot to death. There are lots of hunters – "sportsmen," as they're called – who think that to be great fun.
Boy, are they mad at Gov. Jerry Brown for recently signing a bill that will outlaw the practice in California beginning next year. As the bill's author, State Senator Ted Lieu, noted, "There is nothing sporting in shooting an exhausted bear clinging to a tree limb, or a cornered bobcat."
California legislators thankfully are not the only ones who agree with that. The barbaric practice of using dogs to hunt bears has been banned in two-thirds of the other states. But why not ban it everywhere, along with all other hunters' cruelties? Read more »
The Occupy movement — despite police abuse, official hostility and dismissive media — is changing the mainstream of discussion in American politics. For the first time in years, it's actually possible to talk about raising taxes on the very wealthy. All the polls show strong, and growing, public sentiment in favor of economic equality. It's a great opportunity to reform California's tax system — but Gov. Jerry Brown seems unwilling to take advantage of what could be the most important moment in his political career.
At least five groups are preparing tax-reform measures for the November, 2012 ballot. One of them — the so-called Think Long proposal supported by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen and Google executive Eric Schmidt — is largely regressive. Much of the $10 billion it would raise would come from sales taxes on services, which amounts to a whopping new tax on the middle class. Another, known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act (also backed by a billionaire, hedge fund manager Tom Steyer) would force corporations to pay taxes based on sales in the state, which in and of itself isn't a terrible idea. But that's the beginning and end of the measure, and half of the $1 billion it would raise would be earmarked for (private sector) clean energy projects. Read more »