CALMatters | Almanac 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:


My turn: What Oakland can teach California about gun violence prevention

Oakland, long synonymous with gun violence, is suddenly emerging as a national leader in the field of violence prevention. Since 2012, shootings are down more than 50 percent and are on pace to reach their lowest levels in decades. California leaders have much to learn from how people in Oakland came together to rewrite the violence reduction playbook.

Tue, Dec 11, 2018 3:18 pm
Water, Obamacare and a GOP shellacking

Good morning, California. “The proximate cause of 22 years of election losses are changing demographics and our inability to connect with non-white voters. … A president with an approval rating in the low 30s in your state can’t be all that helpful to you.”—Outgoing California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte to NBC News. At the 2016 […]

Mon, Dec 10, 2018 4:30 am
Time ripens for much-needed school data system

California lacks a comprehensive data system to track how well its K-12 students are learning, but that may change with Gavin Newsom's succession to the governorship.

Mon, Dec 10, 2018 12:01 am
My turn: The last time two Democrats exchanged power

It has been 132 years since a Democrat governor of California last turned over the keys to the Capitol’s corner office to another Democrat. Social and technological changes of the past 132 years have been vast. But some political rhetoric is uncomfortably similar.

Sun, Dec 9, 2018 9:00 am
Rethinking California’s electric utilities

With the state's big, investor-owned electric utilities on the hot seat for wildfire damages, maybe it's time to consider making them into fully public entities.

Sun, Dec 9, 2018 12:01 am
My turn: Newsom must prepare for the worst. Here’s a roadmap

The historical record no longer brackets what we can expect in intensity or duration from drought, flood, or wildfire. So we cannot move quickly enough to cut emissions from our millions of tailpipes in California, and we must change state governance, funding, and planning as necessary—no matter how difficult—to get ready for the worst.

Thu, Dec 6, 2018 11:42 am
New water deal isn’t a political certainty

Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy have a deal on water in the San Joaquin Valley but its future is not certain.

Thu, Dec 6, 2018 12:01 am
Jerry Brown’s last stand on pension reform

The California Supreme Court is weighing a key legal precedent that could restore the generous pension formulas Jerry Brown worked so hard to tighten.

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 2:37 pm
My turn: We must build strong children

A child’s earliest months and years are critical to her or his life trajectory. We know that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age 5. That’s why it’s so important to invest early in our children. First 5 L.A. and First 5 organizations across the state are eager to support our governor-elect in his efforts to build strong children. Like Gavin Newsom, we know we can and should do more to build strong children today.

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 9:00 am
Newsom gets climate advice, Atkins offers ‘Trump insurance’

Gavin Newsom gets expert environmental advice, the feds estimate California wildfires' carbon footprint, Toni Atkins introduces some 'Trump insurance, wrecking levees to avert floods, a possible Newsom advisor, and a California air filter trend.

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 4:30 am
Legislature, Newsom have an ambitious agenda

The California Legislature reconvenes with stronger Democratic majorities that its leaders and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom hope to use for an expansionist agenda, leading off with a comprehensive array of early childhood education services.

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 12:01 am
My turn: We shouldn’t have to pay for gas company’s lobbying

Southern California Gas Co.’s business model depends on selling natural gas. So while many California utilities have begun to plan for the state’s clean energy future, SoCalGas uses ratepayer money to help pay for its lobbying to undermine that future.

Tue, Dec 4, 2018 8:00 am
California’s next Legislature takes shape

California's 2019 legislative session commences, lobbyists crowd a lobby after a swearing in, a sign of the stakes, McKesson leaves, and a Hall of Famer.

Tue, Dec 4, 2018 4:30 am
My turn: California must keep its promise to our public servants

The California Public Employees' Retirement System is building for the future and staying true to its mission of providing retirement security to public sector workers while respecting the taxpayers who benefit from their dedicated service. My hope is that everyone’s grandparents who depend on us will be able to retire in dignity.

Mon, Dec 3, 2018 8:00 am
A new Legislature, a new session

A new Leglslature arrives, Jerry Brown and Tom Steyer both move on water, California opioid deaths, Pasadena's Al Lowe passes, and wildfire recovery.

Mon, Dec 3, 2018 4:30 am
Newsom will inherit troubled bullet train project

When Jerry Brown departs the governorship, he will leave behind a barely-started, financially and managerially challenged bullet train project. Getting on track or abandoning it will fall to successor Gavin Newsom.

Mon, Dec 3, 2018 12:01 am
Democrats won big in CA but face big challenges nationally

Ellen O. Tauscher: Democrats flipped seven congressional seats by organizing and talking directly to voters about issues that mattered most to them. Tom Epstein: Democrats cannot abandon the rest of the country. To win, they must directly engage with rural voters and focus on issues that matter to them.

Sun, Dec 2, 2018 10:06 am
Where do middle-of-the-road voters go now?

California's two major parties are becoming more polarized, leaving middle-of-the-road Californians without representation. Two new organizations, however, are trying to change that.

Sun, Dec 2, 2018 12:01 am
Bauman’s exit, PG&E’s finances and fires give way to mudslides

How to think about Eric Bauman's resignation, wildfires give way to mudslides and floods across California, what happens if PG&E goes bankrupt, how blue this state is, Paul Ryan vs. Alex Padilla on California elections and the CALmatters quiz.

Fri, Nov 30, 2018 4:30 am
What happens if PG&E goes bankrupt?

What could happen if PG&E, which provides natural gas and electricity to 16 million people in northern and central California, goes bankrupt in the aftermath of the deadliest blaze in state history.

Thu, Nov 29, 2018 3:26 pm
California’s top bracket, and bottom rung

Patagonia founder donates Trump tax cut, private equity firms fight a CA tax hike, how California Republicans voted, Eric Bauer details and TJ Cox's win.

Thu, Nov 29, 2018 4:30 am
Legislators spared from living in their districts

The Legislature has now made it quasi- legal for state legislators to live outside their districts and one who had been prosecuted has been pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown

Thu, Nov 29, 2018 12:01 am
My turn: What Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom can be

Earthquakes, floods, mega-fires, a recession and other unforeseen events can disrupt the best-laid plans of any California governor. Potential disasters aside, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom should hit the ground running. Here are five policy initiatives for him to consider:

Wed, Nov 28, 2018 2:37 pm
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