Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

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...

Count Me Out | 04-13-2018

In normal times, when the vice president comes to town the governor is sure to be there for a good old fashioned grip-and-grin for the news photographers. And if he is from your own party? Done deal, right? Wrong! Or so it was last week for Massachusetts...

One Way to Make an Impression | 04-13-2018

Standing out in a crowded primary field can be a major challenge. But as the Hartford Courant reports , getting attention is not Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Lee Whitnum’s problem. Whitnum showed up at a Democratic candidate debate in Brookfield...

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? | 04-13-2018

Alcohol vending machines might sound like the fever dream of a hungover frat boy, but rest assured this is no hazy day-after fantasy. As the Connecticut Post reports , the House there has approved a bill that would allow bars to install self-dispensing...

In Praise of...Us | 04-05-2018

There are few things politicos like more than naming new buildings or bridges or other public works after a retired colleague who gave a healthy chunk of their working life to public service. But on occasion said pols get a little antsy and toss one of...

Deputy Dog | 04-05-2018

Since the passing of former First Dog and national celebrity Sutter Brown in 2016, current First Dog Colusa has been a tad lonely. But no more! California Gov. Jerry Brown reported last week that Colusa has a new buddy, a poodle and Border collie mix...

Not Kidding Around | 04-05-2018

Like it or not, fellow Baby Boomers, the young ‘uns are coming. As we noted here in February, a half dozen 16- and 17-year-olds are running for governor in Kansas . But heck, compared to 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, they’re already past their...

Seems Worth the Risk | 04-05-2018

One of the first things I learned as a young scribe was that cops and reporters never say no to coffee. Given that my brother was a cop for 30 years and I’ve been kicking around this gig for almost as long, I know this to be as true today as it...

A True Loss | 03-30-2018

The point of this column is to poke fun at the odd, pretentious or absurd things that happen in politics. But this week we will be straight for just a moment to honor the untimely passing of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s esteemed chief of staff...

Free, Free, Set Them Free | 03-30-2018

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If not, it never was. Or so said author Richard Bach, anyway. Now it appears Utah is ready to give his words some legal muscle. As NBC affiliate KHQ-TV reports , Gov. Gary Herbert...

Bros and Bears | 03-30-2018

As a native of South Lake Tahoe, California I know firsthand that it is one of the loveliest places in the world. But as the Sacramento Bee reports , the community is feeling under siege these days from an influx of two entirely different kinds of visitors...

What’s Luck Got To Do With It? | 03-30-2018

Well, when it comes to winning the state lottery...everything. Which is why Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, thought the marketing slogan “Luck yeah!” was a real winner. Alas, as reported by the New Hampshire...

Brother from Another Mother | 03-16-2018

Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof is no stranger to politics, dubious celebrity status or controversy. So then it should come as no surprise that, as the Los Angeles Times reports , Hof is making a run at the Silver State Assembly. Nor should it shock anyone...