Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

Let There Be Soft Afternoon Light | 08-10-2018

There can be any number of reasons to object to a new high-rise apartment building going up in your community. Berkeley, California residents, for instance, are not thrilled about a developer’s proposal to build a five-story building that would...

For The Love of Puppies | 08-10-2018

Candidates often spar over which one loves certain things more than the other. The object of that affection in recent years has often been guns, but as the Chicago Tribune reports the Illinois governor’s race might hinge on something far more interesting...

But Do You ‘Like’ Like Him? | 08-10-2018

If this political year hasn’t already been weird enough for you, try this on for size: a Virginia Congressional candidate is denying his interest in legendary forest creature Bigfoot is sexual in nature. Yes, as Vox reports , candidate Denver Riggleman...

Something Here is All Wet | 08-10-2018

California’s raging fire season is totally because we don’t have enough water out here to fight fires because we wasted it by sending it out to the Pacific Ocean. At least that’s what a certain tweet-mad president opined on the social...

Sparkling City of the Roaches | 08-03-2018

Feel like your elected officials are not paying any attention to issues you care about? You can always take the tack that Corpus Christi resident Patricia Polastri took last month when she wanted to make a point to the “Sparkling City by the Sea”...

You Can’t Fix Stupid: | 08-03-2018

The English actor Sasha Baron Cohen has made a career out of mocking people who take themselves pretty seriously. His new show on the Showtime cable channel has drawn lots of attention of late for catching a plethora of political folks behaving in ways...

A Change Will Do You Good | 08-03-2018

For years Claire Conlon was one of the most affable, competent and respected Capitol staffers in Sacramento. But as anyone who works in a statehouse can tell you, the job can and often will grind you to dust. So a year ago Claire pulled up stakes and...

Rocky Mountain Putin | 08-03-2018

Visitors to the Colorado statehouse in Denver will find a wall adorned with portraits of America’s presidents. Washington. Lincoln. Roosevelt. Kennedy. Bush. Putin. Wait, what? Putin you say? The former KGB agent and notorious Russian dictator?...

Unsafe At Any Speed | 07-20-2018

There’s several kinds of stupid in this world. Driving darned near 100 miles per hour in a 55 zone, for instance. And then there’s the kind of dumb where said speed demon brags about it to the cop who pulls him over, and even claims to take...

All Aboard the Crazy Train | 07-20-2018

Since state primary elections tend to be dominated by each party’s most fervent followers, candidates tailor their pre-primary positions more to those extremes than they would in a general election. And to be real, some of those extremes can be...

Gov. Margaritaville | 07-20-2018

If you were looking for Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo last Monday, you needed to ditch the shoes first. That’s because, as CBS News reports , she opted to hold her usual Monday office hours at the beach. It was just the first of what Raimondo...

Noodle Needle | 07-20-2018

Things have sure gone downhill for the relationship between former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Donald Trump. Once at least willing to be nice to one another in public, these days it would be better to not invite them to the...

True Lies | 07-13-2018

To hear certain folks talk (cough, cough, everyone on Fox News), high earners can’t get out of California fast enough. They’re packing up and sprinting for the border – any border – as fast as their private fitness instructor-toned...

For Some Reason I’m Hungry | 07-13-2018

It’s bad enough when someone else gets your name all wrong, but the needle goes to 11 when you screw it up yourself. Case in point comes from Connecticut, where the Connecticut Post reports that a banner on the website for U.S. Senate candidate...

Now We’re Talking | 07-13-2018

As noted elsewhere in the issue, Maine Gov. Paul LePage managed for the seventh time last week to block the will of a majority of lawmakers and voters to expand Medicaid health coverage to an additional 70,000 poor Mainers. The matter is now in the courts...

This Will Make Holidays Awkward | 07-06-2018

Things may be about to get awkward around the Quiroa home in Providence, Rhode Island. As the Associated Press reports , David Quiroa Sr. is running for a seat in the Ocean State Legislature. As is David Quiroa, Jr. Ah, like father, like son! Well, sort...

Unclear on the Concept | 07-06-2018

Warren, Michigan Mayor Jim Fouts likes to say he is available to the constituents of his Detroit suburb around the clock. Well, maybe not so much. As the AP reports , Fouts recently came under some heat for blowing off a constituent who tried to talk...

Where There’s Smoke There’s Heckling | 07-06-2018

Think our current political climate is toxic? Well, it is. But the stain of incivility is hardly unique to us Yankees. Case in point comes from Japan, where lawmaker Yoichi Anami yelled “enough already!” at Kazuo Hasegawa, a 47-year-old non...

Campaigning While Black | 07-06-2018

Add canvassing your constituents to the things an African American person might do that causes someone to freak out and call the police. As the Portland Oregonian reports , Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum was recently canvassing her district – knocking...

The Price You And Only You Pay | 06-29-2018

It was very bad that now-former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens left office in disgrace over a litany of deplorable behavior and alleged corruption. It was worse that he tried to stick the state with his legal fees on the way out the door. But as the Kansas...

Careful What You Wish For | 06-29-2018

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is more than a hallowed jurist. He is also the author of a book decrying political corruption in the Mountain State. Alas, as the Charleston Gazette reports , Loughry himself now stands accused of playing...

Dropping Some Knowledge On Ya’ | 06-29-2018

As a public official, Kansas Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful Kris Kobach is not so competent; as a lawyer he’s even worse. Before you start frothing at the mouth, it wasn’t me that said it. As the Wichita Eagle reports , that...

Nobody at the Wheel | 06-29-2018

In spite of some tragic failures, the slow movement toward autonomous cars is rolling forward. The latest proof comes from Massachusetts, where State House News Service reports that Gov. Charlie Baker (R) recently signed off on an agreement to allow testing...

Machine Gun Kris | 06-15-2018

For a guy who was never in the military, Kansas Secretary of State and current gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach sure likes to act like a human GI Joe. Although the tough-talking Kobach usually saves his most vitriolic nonsense for making never-proven...

Straight Up Pimpin’ | 06-15-2018

It was bound to happen. Last week GOP voters in Nevada’s Nye County nominated self-proclaimed and unapologetic pimp Dennis Hof to represent them in the Silver State Assembly. Hof is known to most folks as the owner of a string of brothels in Nye...

America First | 06-15-2018

Much has been made of French President Emmanuel Macron being married to a woman who at one time was his high school teacher. But in a bit of gamesmanship that could only matter to President Donald Trump, Macron was not the first world leader to marry...

Or Maybe You Could Just Move | 06-15-2018

People not fortunate enough to live here in California often think we’re a freak show. Or an economic disaster. Or trying to steal their water. As a lifer born and bred, I can honestly say the freak show thing can be true, the economic shade is...

Quite the Pickle | 06-08-2018

When Anita and Jim McHaney retired in 2006, they figured they’d spend their golden years growing and selling produce from their Texas farm. This included beets and other vegetables they pickled and sold alongside the kale and collard greens popular...

Come On Elon Light My Fire | 06-08-2018

Because we live in the strangest of times, personal flame throwers really are now a thing. That’s because, as CalMatters reports , Golden State lawmakers quietly snuffed out a bill that would have prevented Elon Musk – he of Tesla and SpaceX...

That’s Great Oh That’s Awful | 06-08-2018

You have to give Bell County High School valedictorian Ben Bowling straight A’s for both guts and cleverness. As the New York Times reports , the newly-minted Pineville, Kentucky student used his recent graduation address to share the following...

This Is What You Call Irony | 06-08-2018

Since-departed Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed so-called “revenge porn” legislation last week, which makes it a crime to post naked or sexually explicit pics or video of someone without their consent. Great! That essentially makes the Show...

Olfactory Relief | 06-01-2018

As recently noted in this space, the tiny Alabama town of Walker has had it rough of late. Due to a lack of regulations city leaders didn’t know they needed, Parrish became a parking spot for a train carrying 200 containers of human waste sludge...

He Knows the Score | 06-01-2018

For decades, the Land Park Golf Course in Sacramento has been a place where many a politico has been able to escape to on a warm afternoon for a quick nine holes. Count current Sacramento Mayor and former California Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg among...

A Bit of History | 06-01-2018

There’s an oh-so-very chic urban salvage yard in Oakland that the wife and I are fond of browsing through on occasion. One recent trip turned up something I had never seen before: a cabinet with hundreds of slots labeled with the name of every imaginable...

We Needed A Law For This? | 05-18-2018

License, registration, sexual favors. Wait, what? Yep, believe it or not, until a few weeks ago there was nothing in Kansas law to prevent police from engaging in sexual activities with someone they pull over on the road or detain in a criminal investigation...

Everybody Hates Mary | 05-18-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown likes to say the key to governing is like steering a canoe: to move ahead you have to paddle a little to the right, then a little to the left. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin must be listening. As the Associated Press reports , Fallin...

Naked and Afraid | 05-18-2018

Former Alaska lawmaker Johnny Ellis saw his share of wacky things during his 29 years in the legislature. But nothing quite like what he experienced last week on a flight back to Anchorage from Seattle, when, as the Anchorage Daily News reports , a fellow...

Brawling on the Bayou | 05-18-2018

It’s bad enough the two major parties seem out to kill each other, but now we have intra-party fisticuffs, too? Yes, Jimmy Joe Bob, we do. As the Advocate of Baton Rouge reports , two Republican lawmakers got into a late night disagreement at a...

READ THIS ANY WAY YOU WANT | 05-11-2018

It’s now the thick of primary season, aka prime endorsement gathering time. Which is kind of like mating season in the animal world, just with even crazier behavior. Case in point this week comes from the California Lieutenant Governor’s race...

The Iron Duke | 05-11-2018

The California Capitol community lost a classic old school Republican last week, as former Gov. George Deukmejian passed away at age 89. Most rightly recall him as being representative of what Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney called “the...

Always Time to Brush | 05-11-2018

California lost another old school GOP stalwart last week, as longtime Assemblymember and Senator Sam Aanestad died at 71 after a lengthy illness. An oral surgeon by trade, much of his time in office was focused on health care issues. This was on prominent...

And Joy Spread Throughout the Land | 05-11-2018

When considering the great problems and injustices facing our world, the lack of availability of a good Mimosa before noon on Sunday is right up there. Or at least it has been for the good people of Georgia, where brunch patrons have just had to make...

Not So Sweet Home | 05-04-2018

If you’re anywhere near the tiny Alabama town of Parrish, you might want to bring something to cover your nose. As the Associated Press reports , Parrish has become a dumping ground for a string of train cars filled with human waste sludge from...

A Christie-Sized Bill | 05-04-2018

Somehow it only seems fitting that an outsized presence like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would also want the most absurdly expensive gubernatorial portrait in Garden State history. Yes, as NorthJersey.com reports , Christie’s official...

I Know What I Know, Which Isn’t Much | 05-04-2018

There is a saying that goes, “beauty is only skin deep but ugly is to the bone.” You could say something similar about stupid, and point to Washington D.C. Councilman Trayon White Sr. as an example. White is the intellectual giant who recently...

We’ve Heard Dumber, But Not Sure When | 04-20-2018

In our polarized and often fact-challenged world, few political utterances surprise us any longer. And then there was this : Kentucky Gov. Mat Bevin railing against teachers protesting a shady pension overhaul he signed into law a few weeks ago by claiming...

Fakest News of All | 04-20-2018

Fake news on the Internet or social media is one thing, but tacked directly to your door? As the Vancouver Columbian reports , that’s exactly what happened recently in Vancouver, Washington, where some residents woke up to find a letter tacked to...

Squawk Box | 04-20-2018

If you happen to live in the tiny Wisconsin town of Winneconne, you are probably used to sedate, uneventful elections. Alas, that might not be the case this November. As the AP reports , an as-yet-unnamed resident has asked for permission to bring three...

The War Without End | 04-20-2018

The history books say America’s Civil War ended in 1865. But for some folks on the losing side of that conflict, the end of the shooting war only begat the start of our nation’s internal Cold War. Those hostilities have played out in any number...

Total Recall | 04-13-2018

As noted in this space before, there is a reckoning afoot for politicos spewing hateful nonsense on social media. The latest comes from Maine, where a local mayor is facing recall after cracking on a school shooting survivor. As the Bangor Daily News...